Athletes generally don't work their core from a standing position. Yet most sports are played standing up, so why not strengthen your core while standing? A strong core is a must for every athlete, especially those who play a contact sport.
Many people think the core only refers to the abs. But it also includes the low back and obliques—not just the front but the entire mid-section.
Here are some picks for the best standing core strengtheners. We incorporate these exercises in the core workouts we do at Ultimate Advantage three times a week.
Heavy Resisted Squats
Hooking bands over a bar and loading it with weight forces you to keep your core tight and flexed during each rep. Otherwise, you will fold forward as soon as it gets heavy.
These force you to be strong while supporting a heavy load. The entire time you're holding the load, you are working your core. Walking or trying to run with the load engages your core even more.
Done on a pulldown machine, these work the abs very well. They are a favorite in Ultimate Advantage. Most of my athletes use them.
Good Mornings are a great strength builder for the back and front. There are many variations. To hit the core hard, take a wide stance and slightly bend your knees during the movement.
Weighted Side Bends
Take a barbell in a squat position and slide it all the way to one side of your shoulder girdle. It should be over far enough so that you have one hand on the end of the bar and the other about a foot in from the collar. Bend over to the side and touch the long end of the barbell to the floor, then return to the starting position. This is a good one for your obliques and low back.
Tip: When working your core, progressively go up in weight and/or reps just like you do when training your other muscle groups. The harder you push, the more strength you get.