While there's nothing wrong with basic ab and oblique exercises, some of us are always wanting more. Here are ten unconventional (but very challenging) core movements you've gotta try.
1. Band Pallof Anti-Rotational Alphabet
- Anchor a band around waist or chest height.
- Pull the band out directly from your chest. Keep the elbows locked out as you write the alphabet, A to Z. You don't want to go too wide or tall with your letters. Make each letter fit within the size of your torso.
- Stay rooted to the ground and prevent any rotation or unnecessary movement. Keep your core tense and strong through each letter. Go through the whole thing once per side.
2. Band/Sled Pallof Lateral Walk
- Start with either a sled setup or band anchored at chest height. Keep the band locked out directly in front of your chest in Pallof position.
- Maintain this position for the entirety of the movement as you begin to laterally step away from the sled or the anchored band. Keep your posture upright as you move.
- Do 10-20 yards each side.
3. Plank and Rope Row
- Begin in a plank position holding a rope anchored to a sled.
- Maintain that position as you begin to pull the sled closer and closer to you.
- Repeat on the other side.
Don't have a rope or a sled? Try it with a band.
4. Physio Ball Alphabet
- Start with your forearms on a physio ball and your body lifted in a plank position.
- Use your forearms to write the letters of the alphabet on the ball, A to Z. Try to go through it under control and slowly.
- The bigger you make the letters, the more difficult it'll be, so try to keep them as big at the end as they were in the beginning. Go through the whole thing once.
5. Tripod Plank
- Starting in a plank position, pick one limb up off the ground, leaving three points of contact.
- Hold this position. Remain as flat as possible. After 10 to 20 seconds, switch limbs.
Too easy? Try the bipod plank:
Instead of picking one limb off of the ground, you'll pick up two... opposite limbs, obviously. If you can stay in position and raise the same-side arm and leg, make sure to take a video.
6. Rope Fallout
- Anchor a rope on a rack or from the ceiling, like gym class back in the day.
- Start with the rope in your hands and slowly begin walking your hands out towards the ground.
- Walk out as far as you can, then begin walk your hands back, returning to the top. Lower yourself 5-10 times.
- This one is scalable no matter how advanced or new you are. Too easy? Walk out farther. Too difficult? Don't walk out quite as far.
7. Ab Wheel Crawl
- Grab the ab wheel and keep it positioned under your shoulders as you get into a quadruped crawl position.
- Maintain this position as you begin pushing the wheel out, keeping your body tight and off the ground.
- Step forward without letting the wheel get away from you. Go 10-20 yards.
8. Alligator Disc Crawl
- Place a pair of glide discs under your feet and get your hands flat on the ground.
- Keep constant pressure with your feet, driving into the discs so you don't lose them.
- Pull yourself forward with your hands, maintaining control throughout your body.
- Once you reach the stopping point, begin moving backwards. Push yourself back with your hands, maintaining a controlled body position. Go 10-20 yards in each direction.