For those who care about buffness

Posts tagged “core conditioning

core exercises

so i was asked recently what core exercises would be good for an aerialist w a core that is already very very trained.
most of the exercises targeted at “normal” ppl will not do anything to a seasoned aerialist. the reason being that core is so essential to the conditioning of aerialists, that they have trained their muscles beyond belief. (i am the exception, my core is actually rather weak despite my 4 pack)

first things first. what is the core and what are the muscles involved?
a simplistic definition of core is all that isn’t legs and arms. that encompasses A LOT of muscles!

but it’s kinda true.
mostly you have your abs (all of them, lower and upper, obliques…) and the spinae type muscles of the lower back.
these muscles can be tricky to activate in isolation (i.e. lower vs upper abs) but respond rather well to “global” exercises in the region.
some ppl would say muscles like lats and traps are part of the core, but to me, and for the purpose of the person who asked me about these, we will stick to the core muscles of the “waist” section (forget pelvic muscles and diaphragm too, we’re not here to do sodding yoga).

why build up your core?
many many reasons. for aerialists, core strength is the life source. without it, a flier is limp and a base is useless. most advanced moves require huge amounts of core rigidity to achieve. (planches etc)
for regular gym goers, it will prevent injuries. not very glamorous i know but it’s the essential base if you want to develop strength and bulk. often underlooked, ppl will then get injured and wonder why they cant deadlift more because their lower back gives way.
finally for the yoga freaks among us, think of the valsalva maneuver and pelvic floor exercises. or i don’t know go hug a tree. (i really dislike yoga as you can tell, but not half as much as pilates)

so go on then, what exercises?

– leg lifts are king. an amazing core hardening exercise.
correct form makes them harder. STRAIGHT legs (and point while you’re at it), straight back and go for it.

the exercise is illustrated here w very bad form i would like to apologise but it isn’t my pic:

check this video where i show off a little:

for those who cannot quite cope w the full straight legs type, you can also do knee lifts which are just that, w bent legs!
this will give your lower abs a major kick as well as your lower back.
for me since i am really not flexible in my hamstrings it also destroys my quads!
there are countless varieties of leg lift type exercises. they kinda require a chin up bar, or something to hang from. you can even use a medicine ball squeezed between your thighs to make it a bit more vicious.
some ppl would like to talk about chin ups/pull ups for core strength but to me, they target mostly the upper part of the torso/back (at the exception of the lats perhaps, which have their origin rather low down, but i don’t include lats as part of the core combo).

PLANKS! for those without a chin up bar, don’t give up just yet am not finished! there is a lot you can do w just your bodyweight!
various types of these: side plank, star side plank.
planks are remarkably efficient, yet remarkably boring sadly…

– jackknife: this will target upper and lower abs in a nice way. enjoy the burn. (also called in some places v up)

– superman: for a lower back workout. a variation of this is to alternate opposite leg/arm.

-crunches: oh yes there again simpler is better. sadly to get to feel a burn you will need to do more and more and more… and it gets boring after 60!
there again countless variations. obliques can be targeted in better isolation by doing specific crunches. (look them up on

– press ups: surprised? well you shouldn’t be. rigidity is well required to dish properly for good form. but mostly you can slightly amend them to target core areas. for example, T press ups will also work your core:


and these ones i like to call the pissing dog press ups (press up w knee lift i think is the proper name?):

– barbell rolls: just as the name suggests, they engage both “back and front” muscles of your core. beware, high risk of faceplanting!

– deadlifts: the king of all body building exercises. it will not leave any part of your body unharmed!  always do this w perfect form as much as possible to minimize risks of injury. lift slowly and increase the weight as you feel comfortable. there are some variations to this exercise, feel free to explore them and pick the ones that take your fancy!

for safer deadlifts, use a “cage” bar like this (not the greatest form on this but i was merely doing shrugs to target my traps):


well that’s it for now. am sure i will remember some more moves overnight. and i will make my own images to illustrate this post soon. exrx pwned me.

for now the foam roller is calling my back.

enjoy your workout!