Muscles of the core are a group of deep muscles providing stabilization of the spine (back). In fact, this is the center of gravity and muscle activity of the human body. They include several muscles, which need to be trained on a regular basis. In this article, we will talk about core workouts with weights, namely with dumbbells and kettlebells.
Basic Tips on Core Muscles Strengthening
To strengthen the core muscles, you need to adhere to the following recommendations:
- Check the posture position, it is especially important to do this for those who have sedentary work.
- Practice active recreation, such as bicycle recreation, swimming, and walking.
- Develop a training program and its proper schedule. It is obligatory to pay attention to the entire musculature of the cortex, not getting carried away by pumping only one muscle. Otherwise, it will be overtrained and cause an imbalance in the core, and, consequently, of the whole body. It does not mean you will look ugly, but your body may look disproportionate.
- Consult with your doctor, carefully listen to your feelings during and after training, adjust your individual program in accordance with the recommendations of the specialist and your own health.
- Combine training with massages, physiotherapy procedures, perform all medical prescriptions of a doctor (you may need [corticosteroids] to relieve back pain).
- Practice stretching, that is a special set of exercises for stretching muscles and ligaments. It will also be useful for you to contract the muscles of the abdomen and buttocks during the day. It should be noted that Arnold Schwarzenegger practiced abs contracting in his bodybuilding career.
The problem is that the training of the muscles for many athletes has turned into training only the abs muscles. However, if you look at the list of the core muscles, you will see much more muscles:
- Transversus abdominis muscles are paired muscles located under the oblique abdominal muscles. They are important components of the abdominal muscles.
- Rectus abdominis muscle, which is better known as simply “abs muscle”. This muscle is responsible for 6 packs on the belly.
- Transversospinalis muscle, which unbends and turns the spine.
- Internal and external oblique abdominal muscles (obliquus abdominis) are paired muscle groups that connect the ribs and pelvis.
- The muscle that straightens the spine (erector spinae) is a large muscle group that runs along the entire spine.
- Also this muscle group include some butt and leg muscles.
Why Do You Need to Do Core Workouts with Weights?
Core workouts with weights are very important for the whole body. You probably think that you can develop a great core with the help of crunches alone. But this is not true. According to many experts, you need to do weighted exercises in order to get really defined core. Bodyweight exercises cannot be considered a comprehensive and effective method for this.
The essence of any core workout program is simple: if you want to have a powerful torso, then you need to work out all the above listed muscles. Do your program twice a week, with a break of 3 days, for example, on Monday and Friday. The duration of the program is to be from 4 to 12 weeks, after which it is recommended to rearrange it.
Dumbbell Core Workout – Most Effective Exercise
The most important core exercise that can be done with dumbbells is a side bend. How to perform this exercise? You need to stand upright, place your legs on the width of your shoulders, take the dumbbell in your left hand so that your palm faces the body. The right hand should be fixed on the belt. Inhale, tilt to the right as low as possible. In the process of performing, keep your back straight. Hold in this position, count to 3, and then take the starting position. It is important to carry out movement only in the belt. Do not contract other muscles, do not swing, and do not make jerky movements. Taking the dumbbell in the right hand, repeat this exercise for the left side. You can also find dumbbell core workout movies on YouTube and read our article on beginner core workout for women and men.
Kettlebell Core Workout – Best Routine for You
Kettlebells very well develop speed and explosive power, pump muscles, which usually are not worked out properly, we mean the muscles of the lower back and buttocks. Training with kettlebells strengthens the muscles of the core as well, which will help you to get a good posture and increase trauma resistance.
Despite the fact that different types of plank exercises and exercises of dumbbells are not bad for developing the muscles of the core, the extra portion of movements in the form of kettlebell exercises will help to bring your force to a new level. The plan provided below will force your body to use all the necessary muscles and work them out perfectly.
The kettlebell core workout routine provided below will most of all load such muscles as the oblique, lower and upper part of the abs, lower back, lower core, and also most of the muscles of the shoulder girdle and legs. Here is what you should do.
Do exercises in groups A and B in a circle, without rest between exercises, rest 60 seconds between circles, repeat a total of 5 circles in groups.
In exercise C, rest for 30 seconds between sets, repeat a total of 5 sets in the exercise.
- A1: 2-Hand KB Shinbox Overhead Press – 5 sets x 8 repetitions on each side;
- A2: KB Dragon Flag Hold – 5 sets x 1 hold to max. time (that is, to failure).
- B1: Double KB High Pull – 5 sets x 15 repetitions
- В2: Double KB Forward / Reverse Lunge – 5 sets x 8 repetitions on each side.
- C1: sit-ups with a weight above the head (Unanchored KB Sit Up) – 5 sets of 8 repetitions on each side.
This intense program has been created by John Wolf. In fact, this is a core and back workout.
Here are some rules for training with kettlebells:
- Be sure to do a warm-up before training. Warm up the whole body, preferably with jumping rope. Stretch your muscles.
- The starting position (for any kettlebell exercise) is as follows: legs are shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Kettlebell lies on the floor between the legs. Take the kettlebell, bend, bending your knees and not bending your back. Put the chest forward, while the shoulder blades should go back.
- Take a deep breath, hold your breath and slowly exhale through your teeth.
- Contract all the muscles, even those that do not participate in the exercise. Hold tightly the handle of the kettlebell, squeeze the second hand into a fist, strain the buttocks and muscles of the core.
- Control all movements. Better take less weight, but ideally perform the exercise.
Full Core Workout Examples
You can use the following training routines for your full core workout.
- Decline Crunch. 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions (30-45 sec rest);
- Dumbbell Side Bend of 3 sets, 8 repetitions (1/2 min rest);
- Exercise Ball Crunches. 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions (1/2 min rest);;
- Flat Bench Leg Pull-In. 3 sets of 12 repetitions (1/2 min rest)
- Cable Crunch, 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions (30-45 seconds rest);
- Barbell Side Bend, 3 sets of 12 repetitions (1/2 min rest);
- Crunches, 3 sets of 12 repetitions (1/2 min rest);
- Reverse Crunches, 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions (1/2 min rest).
- Kettlebell Deadlift, 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions;
- Double KB High Pull, 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions;
- KB Dragon Flag Hold, 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions;
- Double KB Forward, 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
You might be interested in beginner core workout for women and men.
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