3 Steps For A Strong, Lean Core
We’ve all heard that abs are made in the kitchen.
And while diet is KEY if we want a lean, strong core, there are 3 key steps we need to include in our core training workouts if we want the best results possible.
These 3 Steps For A Strong, Lean Core are:
- Use HIIT
Most people turn to planks when they want to get a stronger, leaner core. Which is AWESOME!
But planks only work IF you are following these three steps.
How often have you tried to hold a plank for LONGER only to feel your low back taking over? Or what about with other ab moves? Only feeling that lower back?
It’s because you have to follow this process to first get the right muscles working, then use the right muscles during compound moves WHILE also doing high intensity intervals to burn more calories in less time!
STEP #1: ACTIVATE!
Step number one, and the exercises you’ve got to include in all of your core training workouts even simply in your warm up, are activation exercises.
These are the BASICS. The moves that isolate specific muscles to help get the right muscles engaged and working during movements so your low back doesn’t take over and you don’t only feel your hip flexors working.
Two of my MUST DO activation exercises for the core are the Pelvic Tilt Progression (shown to the right) and the Glute Bridge.
These moves get the hard to activate muscles of our core working AKA our glutes, intrinsic core stabilizers and pelvic floor. Activating these muscles means that we’ll get MORE our of all of the core training we do.
Instead of our low back taking over during sit ups or planks, our abs will work as they should! Instead of our low back taking over during deadlifts or even squats, our glutes will work like they should!
These isolation exercises help get the muscles working correctly so that we engage and use them as we should during compound moves!
So before you do your workout, include the Pelvic Tilt and Glute Bridge in your warm up!
STEP #2: INTEGRATE
This is the step most of us skip right to. We go right to the planks or hanging ab exercises or any other compound core moves.
And then we focus often on just holding planks longer! But longer doesn’t matter, especially if the right muscles aren’t working!
You need to create “shakeage,” aka engage so hard things start shaking, and focus on getting the most out of each movement NOT just holding longer.
Which is why it is key you first activate BEFORE you integrate and try to engage your core during compound moves!
But compound moves are KEY if you want the best results.
And that means more than doing just the basic plank hold for minutes at a time.
It means using plank variations, glute bridge variations, single leg deadlifts, pull ups and push ups even (yes…pull ups and push ups may be two of the BEST compound core moves out there!) to get all of the big muscles of your core working at once.
Not only does this help you build a FUNCTIONALLY STRONGER CORE, but it also helps you burn more calories in less time to help you lose more fat as you build muscle!
If you spend time only on activation exercises and isolation moves, you aren’t going to burn many calories during your workouts or really build strength in those large, powerful muscles like your back and butt and legs.
You NEED compound moves to work the big muscles that will get you faster results.
So once you activate, you’ve got to use compound moves that work the large muscles of your core in as many directions as possible! And the best way to do this and get the most bang for your buck in the least amount of time is with HIIT!
STEP #3: USE HIIT
Getting a strong, lean core means more than doing just planks.
I love planks and focused core work, but you’ve got to include it in a way where you are working all of the large muscles of your body AND getting your blood pumping.
If you want the lean look, you’ve got to burn fat and build muscle!
That means your core training has to include high intensity intervals of work that push you to do more in less time.
Using interval training and compound moves, you can burn more calories during your workout AND spend less time in the gym.
Plus, HIIT has been shown to burn more calories even at rest aka the AFTERBURN because it raises your metabolic rate. Our body burns more calories to return everything back to its resting state. AKA you can help yourself get better results without having to do MORE.
And by using compound moves in our HIIT workouts we can build more muscle, which also helps us burn more calories at rest and LOOK LEANER when we lose fat.
So if you’re ready for a strong, lean core, you’ve got to make sure your workouts include these 3 Steps For A Strong Lean Core!