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Next Level Core Training

Next Level Core Training

Young woman performing core crunch exercise - slight action blur

Excluding weight loss, core training is the most talked-about subject in the fitness universe. Google “Core Training” and you come up with over 856 million hits. There isn’t a lack of information on training the core, just gym goers lacking application.

Before we proceed, this is what you should already know about the core:

  • The core is more than just the 6-pack. Think of the core has your entire torso.
  • Sit ups and crunches done in excess will hurt your low back.
  • Crunches will not burn fat from your midsection.
  • Front and side planks are still great exercises.

Some of the most common mistakes people make during core training are:

  1. People crunching like they’re having some sort of fit (call 911).
  2. Holding their planks for too long or with poor form.
  3. Terrible exercise selection.
  4. Avoiding core training altogether.

With a little thinking outside the crunch, these mistakes can be avoided and you can start getting results while also having a little fun. Use the following routines to take your core training to the next level.

pretty young woman doing pilates exercises with a hanging band

Core interval training

Combining your strength, cardio, and core into one workout saves you time and helps you get the results you deserve without boring yourself to death on the treadmill. It’s also a great way to get your sweat on in the gym, on the road, or in the comfort on your own home.

Instructions– Perform the bodyweight exercise as quickly as you can with good form for 20 seconds. During the 10 second rest period get into your plank position and hold for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds afterwards. Alternate between the two exercises for a total of 4 rounds of each. Complete all four supersets if you dare.

1a. Bodyweight jump squat

1b. Front plank

2a. Ice-skaters

2b. Side plank

3a. Triple extensions

3b. Front plank shoulder taps

4a. Reverse lunge with kick *

4b. Side plank rotations *


*For the side planks and reverse lunges, one side = one round. You should alternate sides.

Group Of People In Gym Circuit Training

Core circuits

Adding core exercises into your resistance training circuits is a great way to add in extra core work. This can act as an active rest between exercises, allowing you to do more work in less time.

For example

1A. Split squat, forward/reverse lunge variations 8-12 reps

1B. Bilateral upper body exercise (Push up, shoulder press etc.) 8 -12 reps

1C. Half kneeling Pallof press – 30 seconds on each side.


1A. Any squat or deadlift variation 3- 6 reps

1B. Tall kneeling overhead Pallof press 12reps   

1C. Chin ups or lat pulldowns 8-12 reps

Including any leg, upper body or core exercise works well here.  Changing it up will keep you engaged and prevent you from getting too bored with your training.

Core finisher

See Also
Woman doing yoga in front of laptop

If you like to feel the burn, or you ate badly last night, adding this diabolical four-minute plank finisher at the end of your usual training will put your core to the sword.

Instructions- Hold a front plank for 20 seconds and then transfer into a side plank and hold for 10 seconds. Then go back to the front plank for 20 seconds then transfer to the other side for a side plank for 10 seconds. Do this for a total of 4 minutes.  Good times.

Core cardio

Combining low impact/high intensity cardio with core exercises will help improve your core stability/ hip mobility which will have you dominating in and out of the gym. Who thought cardio could be this much fun?  Try this and find out for yourself.

Man training with battle rope in fitness club

Battle ropes/ Side plank combo

Instructions – Do any rope variation for 30 seconds and then immediately get into side plank. Make sure to breathe down into your belly and engage your glutes. Hold this for 30 seconds. Go back to the battle ropes for other 30 second interval and do the side plank on the opposite side. Repeat this sequence for total of 10 minutes.


Strong man on crossfit zone exercising with kettlebell


Kettlebell Swings/RKC Front Plank

Instructions- Do 20 kettlebell swings and then immediately get into an RKC Front plank. Once you have hit full tension, take 10 deep inhales (and exhales) while maintaining full tension. Repeat the kettlebell-plank sequence for 5- 10 rounds.

Wrapping up

Combining your core training into your regular resistance /cardiovascular routine will save you time, keep your training interesting and will help get you strong. Stronger is always better.

About the Author:

Shane “The Balance Guy” McLean, is an A.C.E Certified Personal Trainer working deep in the heart of Dallas, Texas.  Specializing in core, mobility, and strength programs. Putting the fun back into exercise, one person at a time.

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