What’s your favourite core exercise? Don’t tell me. The sit-up. Often when I ask ‘what’s your favourite core exercise’ (even to budding trainers) the answer I get is sit-ups. The fact is, sit-ups have absolutely no benefit for your core. The sit-up movement causes flexion of your spine, which is precisely what you don’t want the spine to do when you’re doing a core exercise.
The goal of a core exercise is for you to stay long in the spine, to lengthen the distance between your belly button and sternum. To do this you must not flex, you must maintain a perfect posture.
So, what is a good choice when it comes to core exercise? You could try the bridge. You may know it as the plank, push-up hold or the prone hold. This exercise has you fighting gravity, which tries to drive your hips and tummy down towards the ground. This exercise makes sense – it has you practising core bracing while fighting an exterior force. But, is it ideal to be teaching ourselves to use our core muscles when we’re staying still? I say no.
One of my favourite core moves is to slightly alter the bridge to make it more dynamic and functional. Here’s how:
The Core Climber
Find a low bench and assume a push-up like position with your hands on the edge of the bench. Maintain perfect spinal posture, being careful not to sag your hips or stick your bum in the air. Once you’ve got this position sorted, the exercise starts. Holding your posture, bring one knee into towards your chest. This leaves you resting only on one foot. Doing this means your body wants to twist, the muscles that stop twisting are your core muscles. Alternate legs and move them slowly and purposefully.
I strongly suggest you add the core climber to your next fitness program – your core will thank you.