If you see David Beckham after a match, sans shirt, you might wonder what ab-shredding exercises the international superstar performs to maintain his six-pack. Crunches? Sit-Ups? More Crunches?
Whatever it is, you’re doing it, because he looks sharp, and that must be why he plays so brilliantly on the pitch, right?
No, but yes.
Beckham is a lean, mean, free-kicking machine. He’s also an exceptional crosser who effortlessly sends the ball sailing from the side of the field to the front of the net. His chiseled upper-half isn’t just for show. It’s the power source for those remarkable free kicks and crosses. The sexy six-pack is a bonus.
Gimmicky machines and workout programs that claim to give you that elusive “ripped” look? They isolate the core, which does little to improve your athletic performance.
The core is the foundation of all strength. “A strong core enables you to not only be a stronger athlete, but more efficient in movement,” says John Ireland, former fitness coach of the L.A. Galaxy, now with the Colorado Rapids. “In soccer, you never isolate the core muscle groups. You’ve got multiple muscles moving at one time.”
Which is how Beckham trains his core. You won’t find any machines in his workout. Becks performs multidimensional exercises that challenge his core while he controls a soccer ball through various movements.
Beckham functionalizes traditional exercises like the Leg Press and Leg Extension by performing the movements lying on his back and squeezing a soccer ball between his feet. “It’s more body motion and movement training as opposed to sitting on a machine and isolating a muscle group,” Ireland says. “Total body training is the way to go.”
Your core muscles are engaged continuously throughout the movement. They have to be in order to stabilize your body so you can perform the drills. By incorporating the ball, you’re also working your thighs, groin and upper legs.
To train your core like Beckham, start by performing Russian Twists for a rotational component, and follow with the Leg Press and Leg Extension With Soccer Ball. With the ball locked between his feet, Beckham advances to Leg Circles and V-Ups.
View the full library of videos featuring Beckham’s core training at STACK.com.