Your core is larger thank you may think. Many people think the tired ‘crunch’ is enough to fire up the core, but did you know your core goes from your chest all the way down to your knees, 360 degrees around? So if you’re just doing crunches, you’re neglecting such a HUGE portion of your core!
This post will walk you through 6 great core exercises to target ALL aspects of your core, along with some tips and science facts (oooo our favourite) to support WHY each exercise is a great one!
Plank is a great exercise, but is often performed incorrectly within the cheerleading industry. As a quick and powerful sport, it is important to mitigate fatigue and train each movement and muscle contraction how we would within our sport, in order to get stronger for our sport. For that reason, we recommend, instead of holding a plank for 1 minute, plank in 15 second intervals, with adequate rest in between (approximately 30-60 seconds). By performing your planks this way, the muscle fibers you strengthen will be those you use during sport, and therefore make skill acquisition faster and easier.
2. Reverse Plank
This one is new for many, the key here is to squeeze your glutes, keep your hips up, creating a straight line with your body and holding your head neutral. This exercise is great for the posterior chain (the back side of your body), which is often neglected when we talk core.
3. Side Plank Single Leg Raise (Both Sides)
We can’t forget the obliques. What is great about this exercise is that it not only works the obliques and the upper portion of the core, but the leg raise incorporates the lower part of the core through engaging to lift the leg. This side plank will also challenge the stabilizer muscles within your core. The core stabilizer muscles are also a key part of a solid stunt, particularly for bases.
4. Dead Bug & 5. Bird Dog
SLOW AND STEADY wins this race. The Dead Bug coupled with the next exercise, The Bird Dog, are a great pair as they challenge the ‘pull’ mechanisms from both the posterior and anterior chain. These two exercises are great for rehabilitation and strength and conditioning.
6. Standing Leg Raises
Another one you may not have thought of as a core exercise, but if your core starts and your chest and goes to your knees, it is your core that is contracting and relaxing to lift and lower your leg.
Keep in mind, doing exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, standing pressing and pull movements will also work the core. The core is a key element in many of the movements we do within the sport of cheerleading. It’s all about strength and power. Remember when completing core exercises to minimize fatigue in order to get the most out of your workout.
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