Core training should be intense. Properly bracing your core should feel like your midsection is about to explode. Learning how to brace is hard enough, but training your core with enough intensity to transfer to a max effort squat or deadlift is a next-level challenge.
Fortunately, there's an easy way to quickly teach your core to brace to prepare for epic one-rep maxes. You don't even need weights. All you need is a band.
This little trick can be done with any core exercise where your back is against the ground. Simply tie the band to something, stretch the band a few feet away, and then perform the exercise with your back braced against the band.
Here's what it looks like with the dead bug and the hollow body hold:
Hollow Body Hold
Breathe into your belly and think about expanding your mid-section three dimensionally.
How Does That Work?
The contact with the band teaches you to brace without going into lumbar extension. And the tension in the band forces you to actively squeeze and protect your spine because any leak of tension will cause the band to snap away from you.
Do these at the end of your workout for 2-4 sets until failure, or use it in your warm-up to activate your core in minimal time. If you're a real freak, you can even use two bands. Give it a shot.