Great Core Exercises You're Not Doing #1

Core training is very popular in the field of fitness and strength & conditioning. Along with popularity, comes a lot of misinformation. Core training is more than just doing 1000 sit-ups or crunches hoping your 6-pack will show up the morning after. When core training is done properly, it can be a great way to alleviate lower back pain, reduce chances of injury during sports or daily living activities, as well as give you a strong and resilient mid-section.

I’m sure you’re familiar with planks and hanging leg raises… so what other core exercises are there? I’ll show you a few!

Front Rack Holds

Front rack holds, aka standing planks (that’s what I call them anyways…). Tired of doing regular planks? Try these out.

Tips to consider when performing this exercise:

  • Use a cross-arm or Olympic-lifting grip
  • Keep arms and elbows parallel to the floor
  • DO NOT flare your rib cage or chest out
  • Tighten your core, engage your glutes and grip the floor with your feet
  • Hold for time, take deep breathes intermittently

The great thing about this exercise is being able easily control the load to your liking. The down side is that beginners might find this position uncomfortable on the collar bones or upper chest. In that case, a goblet hold may be a better variation.

Suitcase deadlifts

Yup, this exercise is what it sounds like: picking up a very heavy suitcase. As opposed to a trap bar deadlift where both sides of your body are loaded, suitcase deadlifts challenge unilateral core stability. The goal of this exercise is to prevent your torso from leaning to one side as you lift the weight up. Along with challenging your oblique abdominal muscles, it’s a great way to strengthen your grip.

Tips to consider when performing this exercise:

  • Hip hinge and squat down to grab the weight
  • Control the weight on the way up and on the way down
  • Don’t allow your torso to lean excessively to any one side

Uneven farmers walk

If the farmers walk and the suitcase deadlift had a baby, this would be it. The goal of this exercise is to walk straight and to avoid excessive leaning as we are trying to improve core stabilization.

Tips to consider when performing this exercise:

  • Start off slow to develop stability, increase the walking speed after a few workouts/weeks
  • DO NOT flare your ribcage or chest out
  • Tighten your core, engage your glutes and grip the floor with your feet with each step
  • Pick a larger weight differential (between the 2 kettlebells or dumbbells) to make this exercise more challenging

Tire clean and hold

While this exercise does not exclusively work the core, the core is still very active in preventing your torso from collapsing during each rep. Unconventional, but fun.

Tips to consider when performing this exercise:

  • Pick a lighter tire if you’re a beginner trainee
  • Tighten your core, engage your glutes, push into the floor with your feet
  • Hold the position for 3-5 seconds


Assisted Razor Curls

Is this an ab-rollout variation or is it a hamstring curl variation? Well, actually it’s both! I love this exercise, especially for hamstring injury prevention. As well as challenging your core, you’re putting your hamstrings on blast and working on that eccentric strength. You’ll need a partner to help you out with this one but it’s worth it. (Idea taken from Australian Strength Coach Lachlan Wilmot, thank you!!)

Instagram: @performancecoach_wilmot

Instagram: @performancecoach_wilmot

This is one of the more difficult core exercises to perform, so here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Start the movement off with a hip hinge
  • Progress this exercise by reaching further out or hold the position for time (isometric)




Give these exercises a try. Got any questions or feedback? Visit my Facebook and Instagram page down below and leave a comment!