NAC Blog


    Build a Strong Core for Performance & Movement

    Written by Sean Hall, personal trainer and co-director of Parisi Speed School at the NAC. Sean leads Core Camp starting.
    Have you ever worked out with a teammate or friend that was the strongest lifter in the gym, but has a difficult time with functional movements once the workout moved away from the barbell? Chances are that individual either has a weak core or struggles in their ability to translate strength to their limbs to generate power. Being able to strengthen this key component on our body is the missing link for a lot of individuals in improving their numbers for total body lifts and excelling in athletic movements.
    When the word core is thrown around, most individuals immediately think of their abs and nothing else. To most people, an individual with a six pack must have a strong core! However, when we think of core in terms of performance, the core includes every muscle between your ball and socket joints (shoulders to hips). If an individual spends all day doing crunches, but never strengthens the muscles in their lower back, they are going to throw their body out of balance! Neglecting that area of the body would be like doing bicep curls, and never training triceps.  That being said, it is critical to train all of the muscles around the skeleton, in this case the spine. Likewise, if a person has weak hips or does not understand how to fire their muscles in the right pattern from the core outward, they will struggle in producing power in running or jumping even if they have a 500 pound squat. Power production begins with core strength; a strong core will create power!
    For example, try side-slamming a medicine ball for a workout that uses your back, glute, ab, and oblique muscles. Once in position on one knee with the other bent and upright, grab the medicine ball with both hands on the right side of your body. Swing the medicine ball from your side, over your head, and slam the ball down on the left side of your body with great force. Repeat this move in an alternating pattern for a balanced workout (pictured below).
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    Be sure to mix in core exercises from different starting positions. Standing core exercises are critical to strengthening the body and creating power. You aren't going to throw a ball or run on your back, so it is important to strengthen the core while upright. Pallof press with a band/cable or a woodchopper with a medicine ball or weighted bar are great ways to work on having a strong functional core (see below).


    Begin by stabilizing your core and firmly planting your feet a little wider than your shoulder-width and hold the band/cable. Then, as pictured to the right, extend your arms forward while keeping your core tight. Repeat this exercise by reaching and retracting your arms with a secure core.

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    At the end of the day we all want a six pack for summer time (this will come with hard training AND proper dieting), but we also want our cores to be strong for our movements. This will allow us to be more pain free, and move better, which is what our bodies are designed to do!
    Bathing suit season is right around the corner...How are you preparing for it? After all, summer bodies are made in the winter! Join us at Core Camp for a 30 minute core-shaping session that will not only get your body in shape by the summertime, but will also have you looking and feeling the confidence to show it off! Each session includes a core-carving training and the workout in review to take home with you. $12/session
    Register for Core Camp Here!
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