Core Development


Now that I’ve already shared with you the importance of the core for strength and balance, (See Core and Balance), here are some exercises that help you build a strong core. The first exercises are easier; the last exercises are harder, for those of you will already developed cores seeking to enhance that development.

Side Plank

Side plank

An illustration of the “side plank, elbow” from Workout Box’s website.

In the side plank you position yourself on your elbow and maintain a 45 degree angle with the floor while in a sideways position. Hold this position for 30 – 60 seconds on first one side then the other. Repeat 3x on each side. For a visual illustration of the side plank, elbow and the regular plank, visit Workout Box’s core exercises page.


Regular Plank

Plank illustration

This plank is harder to hold than the side plank, elbow.

Next up is the regular plank. This is also a position in yoga. You are in the same position as if you are about to do a push-up: hands flat on the ground shoulder width apart with feet straight out. Refer to the photo for an illustration. Hold for 30-60 seconds. This plank is harder to do than the side plank, elbow and therefore requires a more developed core…or helps to develop that core more.



 Superman and Leg Raise Alternate

The Superman exercise

This is one part of the series. Called Superman because it looks like you’re flying like Superman!

This exercise strengthens your core in parts. The Superman does your lower back and the arms up leg raise does your abs. You start in the superman position and hold for 20-30 seconds, then roll over and hold its opposite, the leg raise / arm raise for 20-30 seconds. You then repeat two to three times, depending on your stamina and conditioning. Rest, then do the whole sequence again twice. Refer to the photo for an illustration and to Spark People’s Core Exercises article for a step-by-step synopsis.



Side Plank, Outstretched Arm

Side plank

This is (obviously) harder than the elbow plank.

When you master the side plank on your elbow, change to a fully outstretched arm. Instead of leaning on your elbow, you now lean on your hand. Keep everything else the same.  When you can hold you leg up, as in the 2nd photo, in the outstretched arm position, your core is pretty developed. Refer to Spark People’s Side Plank for step-by-step instructions.







Alternating Arm and Leg Balance

Alternate arm-leg balance

This requires some skill! This is an excellent core exercise for athletes.

This exercise requires a relatively strong core. I recommend this one if you are an athlete, or aspire to be one. Others can skip it. You start in plank, then you lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously and hold it for 10-20 seconds. Next, lift your left arm and right leg simultaneously and hold that position for 10-20 seconds. Repeat for a total of 3x. Rest. Do the whole sequence twice more. Refer to the illustration for details. For a video demonstration visit Men’s Health: 3 Things You Don’t Know About Your Core.


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