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  • Brittany Ellingsen, CSCS

Three of the Best Core Moves for Warm-Ups and Finishers

The core is one of the most important parts of the body you can train. When you have a strong core you have a strong base and that strong base leads to all your other lifts becoming stronger and decreasing the chances of having a gnarly back injury. So in the most simple terms: strong core=increased overall strength=increased badassery.


Unfortunately training the core isn't that completely simple. A lot of people may read the simple sentence of "strong core=increased overall strength=increased badassery" and go start busting out sit ups and crunches. A good amount of those people who are busting out sit ups and crunches may end up with a back injury or a hip injury and wonder what happened. Yes, they worked out the rectus abdominis but they didn't work their entire core and worked only in thoracic and lumbar flexion and hip flexion.


In order to train the core you have to train the ENTIRE core.



Image from: http://www.bandhayoga.com/online-courses/online-courses/shaktitest/images/Blog/b38_thoraco-lumbar_section.jpg


The three main components of the anterior core are the rectus abdominis, obliques, and the transverse abdominis. A LOT of people are really good at training the rectus abdominis but fail to realize that the rectus abdominis can become short and over tight while the transverse abdominis is left underactive and weak. A weak transverse can lead to issues including back pain, postural dysfunctions, and SI joint issues.


Most people I know can spend more time training the core. I know I should be spending more time training my core specifically. However, we can all utilize the warm-up to engage the core properly and increase movement efficiency during your workout! Decreasing those chances of back pain and other core related issues.


THREE OF MY FAVORITE CORE EXERCISES FOR WARM-UPS



The Banded Pallof Press

The pallof press in my opinion is one of the GREATEST exercises to engage and strengthen the transverse. However, it is easy to skate through this exercise without properly using your core. In your starting position have your hands touching the middle of the chest while the shoulder blades and packed down and back. Take a big breath into the stomach then breathe out as you are extending your arms straight away from you without rotating your knees, hips, or shoulders. As you are breathing out you brace your core and imagine all of your waist pulling towards your spine and hugging it tightly. Doing anywhere from 5-10 repetitions per set.


Hand To Elbow Plank


I have heard this exercise also be called up down planks. You get the same work done as a traditional plank with an extra-anti rotation component to engage all aspects of the core! Whether you start on the elbows or the hands (I don't have a preference) you control yourself up or down without rotating the hips as best as possible. Lead with one hand for 3-5 repetitions and then lead with the opposite hand for 3-5 repetitions. Just like a plank, keep the core engaged, glutes squeezed, quads flexed, and shoulders back without letting the butt rise or the back sink.


Medball Pullover Deadbugs


Using a medball for an pullover adds a weighted anti-extension component to your deadbug giving you more feedback for core engagement. Starting with your arms straight up in the air holding the medball, knees up feet off of the ground. Taking a big breath into the belly, then as you are breathing out slowly you are extending the arms back and extending one leg out while keeping your spine neutral to the ground and core pulling into the spine. Doing this anywhere from 3-5 repetitions each side.


All of these exercises can be used for warm-ups and for finishers! When using them for warm-ups perform around 2-3 sets. For utilizing these exercises as a finisher bump the set count up to anywhere from 3-5 sets.


Never forget how necessary warm-ups are and how beneficial core exercises can be as part of a warm-up!

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