Kettlebell workout

Strength training: 3 kettlebell exercises to strengthen your core

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We’re always looking for ways to up our strength training and sculpt our core. These 3 trainer-backed kettlebell moves will strengthen not just your abs, but your back and glutes too. No crunches necessary.            

A strong core isn’t just about sculpting the perfect six-pack, it’s essential for everyday mundane movements – from getting out of bed to carrying your shopping from the supermarket. Core exercises help to train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen. This leads to better balance and stability, whether you’re heading out for a run or mopping the floor.

“Core stability has been a big buzz area in recent times around specific core stability in the abdominal region,” says Tobina Wilson, rehab consultant physiotherapist at Six Physio.

This has progressed to a general understanding that having good strength and flexibility in a healthy combination through the whole body is key, she explains – because everything we do ripples upward and downward to adjoining links of the posterior chain

“Balance is something that often gets underdog status but is such an important aspect of our function to train especially as we get older or after any injuries. Having a good functioning core – through the whole trunk, glutes and legs certainly contribute to better balance. As well as ensuring the body is able to be resilient to different movements, tasks and activities we do,” she says.

HOW KETTLEBELLS CAN BE USED FOR TARGETING YOUR CORE

“Kettlebells are a highly versatile tool, that can be used to train many different muscle groups, especially those in and around the core,” explains Rosie Davies, CrossFit box owner, DISTRICT.

“Core muscles surround our spine and are composed of the abdominal muscles on your front and sides, the erector muscles of the back and even the larger muscles that span multiple joints (like the lats and psoas muscles).

“It may surprise you that the glutes are also an important part of the ‘core’. Having a strong and robust core is extremely important to athletic performance, as it acts to stabilise the body and transfer energy and force through the limbs. Kettlebells do wonders to help develop and improve the core in a range of different ways.”

EFFECTIVE KETTLEBELL EXERCISES TO TRY

All you need to create an effective abs workout and sculpt your midsection is to incorporate kettlebell exercises that target all four of the major muscle groups in your midsection; the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal obliques and external obliques.

Plank with Kettlebell Pull Through
Plank with Kettlebell Pull Through
Strength training: an effective workout incorporates kettlebell exercises that target all four of the major muscle groups.

Plank with Kettlebell Pull Through

1. Start in a plank position – thinking about holding this position with proper form.

2. Pick up the kettlebell in one hand and drag it back and forth from one side of your body to the other, without moving your hips.

“By pulling the kettlebell from one side of your torso to the other whilst holding a plank, your core must work to prevent your body from rotating,” says Davies. “This makes this a great anti-rotation core exercise. Start with a light weight and progress to heavier kettlebells. Do not place the kettlebell too far away so that it compromises the form of your plank.”

Kettlebell Suitcase Carry

1. Simply hold the kettlebell by your side and walk while engaging your core.

2. Your body needs to stay upright, which will require excellent posture.

“Sounds easy but give this one a go with a heavy kettlebell,” suggests Davies. “Pick up the kettlebell with one hand and stand straight whilst activating your core with your shoulders rolled down and back, and start walking for a predetermined time or distance.”

The key is to prevent your torso from leaning to the side with the weight as you walk. “This requires you to activate the muscles in and around your obliques and your lower back,” she says. “You can go pretty heavy with these, loading up to around half your own body weight.”

Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

1. Lie face-up with the kettlebell in right hand pressed up towards the ceiling.
2. Bend right leg, placing the foot flat on the floor. Stretch out left arm and leg to the side at a 45-degree angle.
3. Rise onto left forearm, then push into the palm of the left hand to sit up.
4. Engage your core, then, in one fluid motion, raise your torso and slide left leg behind body.
5. Keeping core tight, drive into right heel to stand, feet hip-width apart.

Davies describes this exercise as probably one of the most underrated, yet most effective movements of them all. “Turkish Get Up’s work several key movements and muscles within the body that transfer to athletic performance and even everyday life,” she says. “This movement enables you to identify asymmetries between the left and right side of your body as well as improve shoulder health and core stability/strength.”

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