T Nation

Core Workouts


Any one got any good core workouts? More practical things obviously as opposed to aesthetic. I suppose stuff like planks (and variations like changing to push up position or pointing one hand to the sky) is what I'm after, not just variations on crunches.

Have been away for six months and I'm trying to get that conditioning back. Looking for a bit of variation on what I was doing before, and stuff I may not have thought of.


Plank progressions (front, side, and reverse) can be great provided you actually do them correctly (which many people do not) to really strengthen the core.

I am also a big fan of:
Hollow Body Hold progressions
Hanging leg raise progressions (straight and circular)
Superman progressions
Windshield wiper progressions
Lateral spinal flexion work (be that side crunches, side bends, etc...)

Also if you are looking for combat specific stuff then doing core conditioning stuff with medicine balls or taking punches/kicks can really teach you how to use your core muscles to minimize damage.


Only thing I'd add to sento's list is sandbag get ups. For me, the ultimate total core/chassis builder.


pretty good lists

I have found these work the best for me

Hanging leg raise - feet to bar
barbell rollouts or TRX fall outs
and get ups.

I don't vary too much from them

Im in PT right now and the have me doing a allot of V- ups
they are big on a when you breath and contract with these
forgot how good they can be.

some things that stress the abs/core more then you may think

OH squat- while not really a direct ab/core movement I get allot out of them
same for farmers or trap bar walking
kroc style db rows


Only thing I'd add to sento's list is sandbag get ups. For me, the ultimate total core/chassis builder.


Cheers guys


Is there a particular reason to choose these over getups w/ a dumbbell? How heavy do you go on these? Without getting an expensive tactical sandbag, my only option is basically buying a 50lb bag at the hardware store and starting with that


Yes, they are better suited for my personal goals - military/fighting/being bulletproof through the middle. I like getups with a DB etc, but they are a bit limited by shoulder stability, and technique - or at least I find them to be personally. SB getups, in my opinion, have a far shorter learning curve, and place more of the stress through the legs, hips, obliques/trunk generally, as well as a lot of the back muscles. It is possible to do them with heavier weights, and it effectively simulates the action of getting out and up from underneath a weight/person that is trying to pin you down. I don't foresee a situation where I will need to be able to do this with one arm neatly raised above my head. I can see man circumstances where the brute force of getting out and up would be invaluable.

I would suggest that there is a third option. I visited a military surplus store online, and bought an old canvas army bergen (for example: http://www.surplusandoutdoors.com/shop/camping-equipment/rucksacks-bags/british-army-issue-olive-kit-716112.html). This is more expensive than it was when I bought it, but it is still about price of a couple of drinks on a Friday night. Mine, when filled with gravel, will weigh as much as 172lbs. For c.$15, it is hard to imagine a better piece of equipment. Tactical training bags are for sissies, with all their pretty handles. By a big old sack, fill it up a bit, and start getting rough. I have more than one of these now, as shoveling gravel into them between sets gets old pretty quickly.

I tend to do a single straight set shooting for 20 reps, at the end of my workout prior to conditioning work, and increase the weight when I can hit it. I've been working with 90lbs, and should be going up to 100lbs as of next week. Depending how strong you are on your other lifts, and where your conditioning is at, I would have said 60-80lbs is a good starting weight. Good technique is whatever lets you get out and up with the weight without hurting yourself of face-planting the floor. It's a real man-maker exercise in my opinion.


Two exercises that are great for core is ab whell rollouts, start on your knees and work your way up to standing and dragon flags, bruce lees exercise, very hard!
Both of them give functional strenght.