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Woman doing crunch on floor with black background. Neon purple arrow pointing at her abs. Words "Get Toned Abs" next to her.

Build a Strong and Sexy Core

blog Nov 04, 2023

When it comes to core training, it's not just about aesthetics. A strong core is crucial for overall functionality and stability. Let's delve into how to build a core that's both powerful and visually appealing.

Your Core is like ANY Other Muscle

Contrary to the saying, "abs are built in the kitchen," your core is a muscle group that needs specific training to become strong and defined. Just like any other muscle, it requires targeted exercises to reach its full potential.

Underrated Considerations

#1: Building those Deep Core Muscles through Breathing & Bracing

Proper breathing and bracing are often overlooked but essential for core strength. Practice deep belly breaths to engage your diaphragm and the deep core muscles. Nasal breathing further enhances core stability. 

#2: Lifting Heavy Shit

Compound movements like squats and deadlifts challenge your core by requiring stability under heavy loads. These exercises promote overall core engagement and strength, far beyond what isolation exercises like planks can achieve.

Training your Rectus Abdominus

To reveal those sought-after abs, focus on the rectus abdominus muscles. Exercises involving spinal flexion and extension, like traditional and reverse crunches, target this muscle group.

Thinking about Progressive Overload

Treat your core like any other muscle. Gradually increase load and intensity to encourage growth and strength development. This principle, known as progressive overload, applies to core training too.

Crunch Variations to Try

Explore different crunch variations for a comprehensive core workout.

Sternum to Pelvis:

  • Cable crunches
  • Weighted crunches

Pelvis to Sternum:

  • Reverse crunches (on the floor or an incline bench)
  • Hanging knee raises

Ensure proper form—focus on spinal flexion rather than hip movement. Choose movements that allow for progressive overload, aiding in continual growth.

Training the External and Internal Obliques

Besides the rectus abdominis, don't forget the external and internal obliques and the transverse abdominis (TVA). Incorporating anti-movement exercises into your routine enhances core stability and strength.

Anti-Movement Exercises 

Anti-Rotation Movements:

  • Pallof Press variations
  • Swiss Ball Stir-the-Pot
  • Birddogs
  • Renegade rows
  • Anti-Extension Movements:

Hollow body movements:

  • Planks
  • Dead Bugs
  • Towel Body Saws

Anti-Lateral Flexion Movements:

  • Farmer’s Carries
  • Suitcase Carries
  • Side Planks
  • Unilateral Movements

These exercises challenge your core to resist specific movements, fostering stability and overall functional strength.

Focusing on the Right Things

To build a strong, functional, and visually appealing core, remember to:

  • Master breathing and bracing techniques for core engagement.
  • Incorporate compound movements and lift heavy weights to challenge your core's stability.
  • Embrace a variety of exercises targeting different aspects of core strength, including spinal flexion and extension, and anti-movement exercises.

Remember, a well-rounded core routine will not only give you the aesthetics you desire but also the functional strength you need for daily activities and athletic performance.

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