IMG_6953Having a strong core is extremely important not only for training but for everyday life. Keeping your core strong helps prevent lower back injuries and creates a strong base for all forms of exercise. Here are some of our favourite core exercises.

Hanging leg raises

HOW TO DO IT: Hang from a pull-up bar with an overhand grip, hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your body up straight ground careful not to lean back as you pull your knees toward your chest by bending your hips. Keep this movement under control (don’t create momentum by swinging your legs). Slowly lower legs and repeat.

To make it more difficult, keep your legs straight as you raise them and work toward raising your straight legs all the way up to the bar into pike position.

Suggested reps: 10-15

Medicine ball throws

HOW TO DO IT: Stand a few feet from a solid brick or concrete wall, facing away from it. Hold the ball with both hands and explosively rotate your torso to throw the ball into the wall. Throw it as hard as you can into the wall and either catch it or let it bound. Return back to center and rotate to the other side and repeat.

Suggested reps: 10-12 each side

Swiss-Ball Jack knife with Pike

The jack knife with a pike was found to be the best core exercise for targeting the lower abs. Feel free to leave out the pike to make this exercise a little bit easier.

HOW TO DO IT: Start in push-up position, but with your shins and feet on a Swiss ball. Your body should form a straight line from ankles to head. Without bending your knees, roll the Swiss ball toward your body by raising your hips as high as you can. Pause, and then return the ball to the starting position. Then without rounding your lower back, contract your abs and use your feet to pull the ball toward your chest by bending your knees. Pause before returning to the starting position. Maintaining a straight body line, then repeat. For best results concentrate on controlling the ball with your core, not your arms or legs.

Suggested reps: 10-15

Stir the Pot

HOW TO DO IT: Prop yourself on a Swiss ball in plank position with your elbows on the ball, feet on the floor and body forming a straight line from head to feet. Maintain this rigid body line as you move your elbows beneath your shoulders to rotate the ball in a small counter clockwise circle beneath your chest. Your hands will look as if they’re stirring a pot (hence the name of this move). Repeat the same number of circles in a counter clockwise rotation.

Suggested reps: 12-15