Training for the core and abs: 4 exercises for a workout

Support exercises like the plank are very effective for strengthening the core.

Support exercises like the plank are very effective for strengthening the core.
Eva Katalin/Getty Images

Exercises like planks, where tension is held in one position, are called isometric movements.

Isometric movements help you build strength and practice good form, according to a trainer.

They can help beginners build body tension and offer new stimuli for experienced athletes.

Some type of muscle activation during planks or squats can help you hone your form and get the most out of your workout, according to a trainer.

Isometric exercises that hold the body in a static position (like a plank) can help you build strength and stability, regardless of your experience or skill level. So says Chris Travis, American trainer and owner of Seattle Strength and Performance.

“In my opinion, isometric exercises are just fun,” he explains in an interview. “In practice, isometric exercises work well for people with injuries or limited range of motion because they can train in a position that’s easy to get into and get stronger.”

However, isometric exercises are not only suitable for beginners or as climbers. But they can help develop better body awareness, according to Travis.

Incorporating isometric exercises into your training can help you learn proper form to get the most out of each exercise. They also offer a joint-gentle, low-impact option for building strength and muscle.

Strengthen your abs with planks

According to Travis, isometric exercises are a great way to train proper form. Learning to properly activate your core takes practice, but a good core is important. Because without it, you may be wasting time moving through your training with momentum instead of control.

“People exercise without realizing how it should feel, how much tension there should be in the body,” Travis said. On the contrary, with exercises like planks, that is, supportive exercises, you can feel the burning in your abdominal muscles if you do them correctly and, therefore, you can achieve better results in less time.

The hollow body position, in which you lie on your back and raise your legs and arms while activating your abdominal muscles, is also a good way to train your abdominal muscles. “It’s something that people think is easy, but if they keep it up for 15 or 20 seconds, they’re dead,” he said.

Isometric exercises can take your leg strength to the next level

Isometric leg exercises can add stability or give you a new boost. For example, if you hold a bottom squat for three seconds, you can significantly increase the stress on your legs without adding weight. “Try doing this for six to eight reps and you’ll break a sweat,” says Travis.

Isometric exercises can also help scale lower body exercises for people with mobility issues or injuries. One variation is wall sitting, where you lean your back against the wall and bend your knees 90 degrees, as if you were sitting in a chair. So you train, among other things, the buttocks, the back of the thighs and the calves.

Dead hangs and isometric pushups train the upper body

You can also work isometrically to strengthen your core, improve your push-ups, and improve your pull-ups, even if you can’t do anything at all. With Dead Hang, you simply hang from a pull-up bar. By engaging your core and back, you train the upper body and back muscles needed for pull-ups.

You can practice push-ups in a similar way. You start with a push-up with your arms extended and slowly lower yourself until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Then stay in this position for a few seconds. Variations of these exercises can effectively strengthen your upper body without weights or the gym.

This article was translated from English by Ben Peters. You can find the original here.

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