Core Exercises for Athletic Performance
Core Exercises for Athletic Performance
Stop doing sit-ups, start doing these core exercises that will actually improve your athletic perfomance.
It’s the end of your training session and your about to lay on the ground to do the standard crunches. The last time I checked, lying on your back during the game means that you’re in serious trouble. Which is why, if you really want to improve your on-field performance, the core complex below is going to become one of your best friends. Unlike old-school “abs exercises,” this complex challenges the body by forcing it to stabilize through rotation, as well as crunching, motions. It also mimics the way the whole body actually works together in any athletic activity you perform and why it should be part of every athlete's workout routine.
To perform these exercises, all you need is a 10-25 lb. medicine ball, or plate, and a little bit of space. Do this complex 1-2 times per week, and perform one set of 10 reps of each exercise before or after your regularly scheduled workout. Just remember, if you really want to see the benefits of this routine, be sure to engage your core to move the medicine ball as opposed to using all shoulders.
In case you missed it above, you’ll want to perform 1 set of 10 reps for each exercise below in succession (as the video shows) without rest:
- Front Woodchop
- Diagonal Woodchop
- Lunge + Twist
- Around the World
- Squat + Press
- Staggered Side Throw
- Staggered Overhead Throw
- Rotational Swing
Below are a few pointers on how best to perform each exercise listed above:
Front Woodchop: Keep your hands on the side of the medicine ball, slightly bend your knees, and chop the medicine ball toward the floor.
Diagonal Woodchop: Bend your knees slightly as you take the medicine ball from outside the knee to the opposite shoulder by throwing your hips.
Lunge + Twist: Holding the medicine ball straight out in front of you, lunge forward then twist across the knee that is up. After that, return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. 10 reps per leg.
Around the World: Bend your knees slightly and rotate with your hips to draw a capital O clockwise from over your head to the floor. Repeat counterclockwise for 10 reps as well.
Squat + Press: Holding the medicine ball at your chest, perform a deep squat then press the medicine ball out in front of you. Return the ball to your chest, stand up, and repeat.
Staggered Side Throw: Hold a lunge position with the leg closest to the wall in front of you. Place your hands underneath the medicine ball and rotate in the opposite direction before twisting toward the wall and throwing the ball. Do all 10 reps on the same leg, and then switch directions and front leg.
Staggered Overhead Throw: Holding the same lunge position, rotate your chest around until it is square with the wall. Using that rotational momentum, overhead throw the ball into the wall. Do all 10 reps on the same leg, and then switch directions and front leg.
Rotational Swing: Standing upright with slightly bent knees, hold the medicine ball straight out in front of you. Without moving your feet, rotate around until the ball touches the wall. Once the ball touches the wall, whip the ball around the other side as quickly as possible. Be sure to perform 10 reps each way on this exercise.
This eight exercise circuit will work your core and abdominals in the full range of motion, preventing you from lying on your back when it’s game time. So what are you waiting for? Crumple up the crunches, sit on the sit-ups, and start training like an athlete’s supposed to.
In addition to the core exercises above, 1R would recommend the following supplements to help improve your core strength:
- BSN Amino X - This preworkout supplement will increase muscle endurance and protein synthesis, while giving you with the needed push to take your workouts, and results, to the next level
- Gaspari IntraPro - This post workout protein shake that's loaded with BCAAs, L-Glutamine, and Taurine, will help you recover, and build lean muscle, faster after workouts
- Cytosport L-Glutamine - Needed for immune system support, energy production, and the building and protection of the lean muscle mass when stress is increased on the body
About the Author
Nate Hemphill is an assistant strength & conditioning coach at the University of California-Davis where he oversees the training protocols for Men’s Soccer, Field Hockey, Women's Lacrosse, Golf, Tennis, and Women's Water Polo while assisting with Football. Prior to joining UC Davis in 2011, he was a graduate assistant strength & conditioning coach at Seattle University from 2009-2011. A 2005 graduate in Exercise and Movement Science from Missouri State University (MO), Nate worked with numerous sports at MSU as well as working with the St. Louis Cardinals in their Minor League affiliates (Rookie, AA). Nate is currently a certified CSCS from the NSCA. He is working to finish his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration and Leadership from Seattle University.
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