Here’s some of what I feel are the best techniques you can use in your training to develop your core!
Step 1: Breathe Properly
When you breathe diaphragmatically (deep in your stomach) you’re strengthening and engaging all the muscles of the inner core. To breathe diaphragmatically, you should be taking a big inhale through your nose and expanding your diaphragm three-dimensionally, filling up your stomach and low back with air. Your stomach should rise before your chest.
Step 2: Brace Properly
Proper bracing involves tensing your midsection to make it extremely rigid. For example, if you’re standing in front of me and I try to go and punch you in the stomach you’re going to tense up and almost “squeeze” your abs. When you’re squeezing your abs in this scenario you’re bracing. Bracing is so important because it’s involved in pretty much every exercise we do. However, some exercises require a more intense brace than others. For example: if I’m doing a 500 pound deadlift, it’s obviously going to require much more tension than a plank. This is why squatting and deadlifting are tremendous exercises to develop true core strength!
Step 3: Train Anti-Extension (core prevents your low back from going into extension)
My Favorites Exercises: Plank Variations, Rollouts, Deadbugs
Step 4: Train Anti-Rotation (resisting forces that are trying to rotate your body)
My Favorites Exercises: Chops, Lifts, Cable Push/Pull, Pallof Press
Step 5: Train Anti-Lateral Flexion (resist lateral flexion or side-bending)
My Favorite Exercises: Loaded Carries, Side Bridge Variations