Whenever I tell a client that it’s time to do planks, I usually get a groan. Which is a bummer for them because I have my clients do a lot of planks! But, sometimes, just like my clients, you may want some great core exercises that aren’t planks.
There are a lot of core exercises out there! What makes these exercises different is that in addition to working your abdominal muscles, they will also recruit muscles in your back, hips flexors, glutes, and shoulders, making them all over great core exercises for athletes.
5 Great Core Exercises for Athletes
Bird Dog with a Tuck
Muscles Recruited: Rectus Abdominus, Obliques, Transverse Abdominus, Erector Spinae (back), Glutes, Shoulders.
To Perform: Start on all fours, making sure your wrists are under your shoulders and knees are under your hips. Engage your core by pulling in your belly button and bracing it (as if expecting a punch). Extend your right arm and left leg so that they are parallel to the ground. Hold for a second the bring your right elbow to your left knee underneath you. Hold for a second then repeat. Complete 15 repetitions, the do the set with your left arm and right leg.
Muscles Recruited: Rectus Abdominus, Obliques, Hip Flexors
To Perform: Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you and your spine neutral. Engage your core as above. Lean back slightly without rounding your back. Lift both legs up to about a 45-degree angle (like a “V.”) Reach your arms toward your feet. Hold for several seconds. Lower back to start. Just before your legs touch the ground, pause and hold for several seconds. Complete 3-5 repetitions.
This is a challenging exercise. It is important to keep your spine neutral throughout the movement. At first, you may need to bend your knees and pull them into your chest. You can also keep your hands on the ground behind you. Use these variations if your back is uncomfortable or if you can’t perform the movement with good form.
Lunge with a Twist
Muscles Recruited: Obliques, Hip Flexors, Hamstrings, Glutes, Quadriceps
To Perform: From a standing position, engage your core, step forward with your left leg into a lunge position. Extend both arms in front. Twist to the left. Return to center, then step back to standing. Repeat with the right leg. Do 10-15 Repetitions on each side. Optional: Hold a weight or medicine ball in your hands.
One Leg Deadlift
Muscles Recruited: Transverse Abdominus, Erector Spinae, Glutes, Hamstrings. Also, improves balance.
To Perform: Stand with your weight on your right foot. Allow the standing knee to bend slightly. Engage your core, then bend at the hips allowing your left leg to extend behind you. Keep your spine neutral. Squeeze your glutes as your return to a standing position. Complete 10-15 repetitions, then repeat on the other side. Optional: Hold a weight or kettlebell in one or two hands. This exercise takes good balance. Hold on lightly to something stable if necessary, making sure to maintain your form.
Muscles Recruited: Transverse Abdominus, Obliques, Hips, Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps
To Perform: Attach a band to something stable. Take one handle in both hands and stand sideways to the attachment point. Stand far enough from the attachment point so that you feel the pull of the elastic. Hold the band in front of your abdominals and engage your core. Squat down without twisting. You will feel the pull of the band, but you should resist it. Complete 10-15 repetitions on one side, then turn and repeat on the other.
Okay, I’m opening this up. Planks: Love them or hate them? What is your favorite great core exercise (that is not a plank)?
My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!
Meatless Monday with Sarah and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie and Rachel
Inspire Me Monday with Janice
Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie, Michelle, Jen, and Nicole
The Plant-Based Potluck Party with Deborah
The Running Coaches’ Corner with Rachel, Suz, Lora Marie, and Me!
Giveaway Roundup and Try Out Thursdays with Smitha
The Blogger’s Pit Stop with Kathleen, Janice, Julie, and Menaka
Friday 5 2.0 with Rachel and Lacey and Meranda
Sunday Fitness and Food with Angela and Ilka