This article is part of the Rehband ‘Carry Yourself’ series, a project dedicating to getting you fit for life, building upper body strength, improving mobility and reducing the risk of injury.
When it comes to upper body strength, your core is absolutely essential for balancing and controlling movement, protecting your spine, ensuring good posture, stabilising your entire body and generating force. Correct form and using the appropriate equipment is vital when it comes to upper body exercises! Elbow sleeves, wrist protection and compression arm sleeves are all highly effective items to help you be the best athlete you can be, strengthen movement patterns and support the natural movements of your body.
Add these 5 core workouts from CrossFit® Games Champion Tia-Clair Toomey into your training to tighten up your abs and upper body and build a formidable core.
1. 4 ROUND CORE WORKOUT
You can turn this one into a partner workout and go round for round, so tag your friends and see who will do it with you.
- 30 seconds Hollow Rock Hold
- 5 V-Ups
- 10 Hollow Rocks
*Rest 1 minute between each round or partner up and keep alternating.
2. 6 PACK ATTACK
- Every 90 seconds, 4 rounds:
- 6 Around the world with plate above head (15kg)
- 20 Russian Twists and then hold the Hollow Rock position for 20-30 seconds
*Goal is to maximise the amount of time spent in the hollow rock position.
3. 3 ROUND TABATA WORKOUT
Your core and abs comprise of the rectus abdominis, obliques (external abdominal, internal abdominal, and transverse) intercostals and serratus.
- The Rectus Abdominis stretches from your sternum down to your pelvic bone. Its purpose is to pull your upper torso towards your hips. An exercise that targets this area is the standard crunch.
- Your Obliques are located either side of your waist. They are essential for you to be able to tilt and twist your upper body. An Exercise that targets these are Russian Twists.
- Intercostals are located to the side of your rib cage. They function to elevate and depress the ribs. An exercise that targets them is the air bike.
- The Serratus is located between your abs and lats. Its function is to pull the scapula forward. An exercise that targets them specifically are barbell pullovers.
Core muscles are mainly comprised of fast twitch fibers. This means that they respond well to medium rep ranges and explosive movements. Try this workout to really get them firing! You can do it anywhere with no equipment needed, just a timer from your phone.
3 Rounds: (TABATA STYLE; 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off)
- 8 Fast V-Ups
- 15 Tuck Crunches
- 30 seconds Hollow Rocks
- 30 seconds Superman
Then rest 1 minute into max bridge hold. Be sure to use the rest between the crunches and hollow rocks because those 30 seconds get really hard! Remember to keep your body protected and tight throughout every exercise.
4. PLANK WORKOUT
Accumulate 6 minutes of the following in 8 minutes (you have 2 minutes rest to use as necessary)
- 2 minute Plank hold
- 2 minute Side Plank (each side, total 4 minutes)
Tia-Clair Toomey: ‘I tried to challenge myself by adding weight and doing it on the boxes but for beginners this can be performed on the ground.’
5. TABATA CORE WOD
Tabata Format 20 seconds ON: 10 seconds OFF
Maintain 10/12 AB Mat Sit-Ups on every 2nd set of Tabata, while trying to continue to accumulate 50 reps of Around the world on the opposite round of Tabata.
If you want to build a much stronger and more defined core, add these workouts into your training. Keep things varied and mix them up, as this will attack your core from many different angles and test and develop your body in many new ways.