There are so many ways to activate our core muscles. Honestly, you are wasting time if you are completing exercises on a bench. Your body wasn’t made to move with a relaxed core on a bench. As I learn more about my own body and exercise, I accidentally fell into a routine that is working wonders for me. We often think about big exercises when we consider training our core. The squat; the dead lift; the power clean. These are essential high load exercises to include in a training program.
Such high load exercises change our muscles and lead us to strength gains. As stated in “Optimizing Performance by Improving Core Stability and Core Strength” by Hibbs et al, although it is important to engage our global core muscles for strength we, also, need to engage the local core muscles for stability. If I’m understanding this correctly, low load core exercises are essential to improve stability and control of muscle co-ordination which improves efficiency of movements. In essence, completing low load exercises is as important as high load exercises to increase strength.
Insert kettle bell exercises into a core exercise program. One exercise I’ve attached to as of late is the kettle bell snatch. It involves engaging the hips for explosion, above the head for balance and resistance by stopping one’s arm above the head before winding back behind the shoulder. To perform a snatch hold the kettle bell in one hand between your legs. Bend over at the torso while bending the knees slightly. Push up and extend your hips while raising your arm extended straight all the way above your head. Finish by standing with resistance that stops your arm at perpendicular to the floor. Find a better demonstration over at kettlebellsworkouts.com
Most important, don’t worry about how much weight you are lifting. Technique and movement are more important with low load exercises than weight. Alternate high load core workouts with low load core workouts and see your strength begin to increase. It is a mistake to overload your muscles every workout. Strong muscles do not perform well when they are inefficient in their movements. Don’t neglect low load training with exercises like the kettle bell snatch.