Complete Core Training


For results in both aesthetics as well as athletic performance, it’s important to train the core in three separate categories of movement: anti-extension, anti-rotation and anti-lateral flexion.

Anti-extension Exercises: teach us how to maintain a neutral spine position. Maintaining a neutral spine and properly bracing your core during exercise will help prevent spinal injuries due to over-arching.

Dead Bug

1)Lie on your back and bring your hips and knees to 90 degrees. 

2)Raise your arms straight up toward the ceiling, keeping your wrist in line with your shoulders. Before you start, focus on keeping your lower back pressed into the floor. 

3) Inhale and lower one arm and the opposite leg out, leaving the other arm and leg in the starting position. 

4)Lower them as far as you can without your low back coming off the floor. Exhale at the bottom. 

5)Return to the start position and repeat with the other arm and leg. Try 5 reps per side and work towards 10 per side.

Anti-Rotational Exercises: are exercises that build stability and strength to prevent spinal rotation between the pelvis and ribs.

Plank shoulder taps

1)Set up in a high plank position from your hands and toes. You want your hands to be under your shoulders. Your feet can be further apart to provide a more stable base. 

2)Brace your abs and engage your glutes so that your body is in a straight line.

3)As you lift one hand up off the ground to touch the opposite shoulder, press into the heel of your opposite hand for stability. 

4)Once you’ve tapped your opposite shoulder, bring the hand down and alternate sides.

4)Keep your hips square to the ground and do not rotate. Avoid letting your butt go up in the air or your hips sag toward the ground.

5) Try 5 shoulder taps per side to begin with and try building to 10 taps per side.

Anti-lateral Flexion Exercises: require you to resist bending sideways.

Side plank

1)Lie on your right side, legs extended feet either stacked or staggered, one in front of the other. Whichever is most comfortable for you.

2)The elbow of your right arm is directly under your shoulder. Ensure your head is directly in line with your spine. Your left arm can be aligned along the left side of your body.

3)Engage your abdominal muscles as if you’re bracing for a punch.

4)Lift your hips and knees from the mat while exhaling. Your torso is straight in line with no sagging or bending. Hold the position.

5)After several breaths, inhale and return to the starting position. 

6)Try 20 seconds per side for a starting point with a goal of building up to 60 seconds.

Full Body Workout for Women

Full Body Workout

If you have bands and dumbells/kettlebells, you can do this one at home!

Making home training a little more challenging usually means: increasing reps, doing more unilateral (single-leg or single-arm) work, and shortening your rest periods. Enjoy!

A1. DB Deficit Reverse Lunge 3X 10-12 each
A2. Bird Dog Row 3X 10-12 each
B1. Paused Sumo DB Deadlift 3X 15-20 (Pause for 2 seconds before you touch the floor)
B2. Single-Leg Hip Thrust 3X 12-15 each
C1. Z-Press 3X 8-10 each
C2. Lateral Raises 3 X 10-15
D1. Band Gluteator 3X 10-12 (band above the knees. Drive knees apart.)
D2. Standing Pallof Press 3X 30 seconds

The band I use here for the Gluteator is from BC Strength. I use the S/M Level 1 band which is the easiest of the three offered right now.

Quick Beginner Ab Workout

A quick ab workout that focuses on stability.

Did you know that your abdominal muscles are just one part of your core? Your core is actually defined by the structures that make up your lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, including the lumbar spine, the pelvic girdle, abdomen, and the hip joint.

Your core is made up of three systems: the local stabilization system, the global stabilization system, and the movement system.

Local Stabilization System

Muscles that attach directly to the vertebrae. These muscles contribute to spinal stability by increasing intra-abdominal pressure, generating tension in the thoracolumbar fascia which increases spinal stiffness for improved neuromuscular contril.

  • Transverse abdominis
  • Internal oblique
  • Lumbar multifidus
  • Pelvic floor muscles
  • Diaphragm

Global Stabilization System

Muscles attach from the pelvis to the spine. These muscles transfer loads between the upper and lower extremities, provide pelvis and spine stability, and stabilize and eccentrically control the core during functional movements.

  • Quadratus lumborum
  • Psoas major
  • External oblique
  • Portions of internal oblique
  • Rectus abdominis
  • Gluteus medius
  • Adductor complex

Movement System

Muscles that attach the spine and/or pelvis to the extremities. These muscles are mostly responsible for concentric force production and eccentric deceleration during activities.

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Hip flexors
  • Hamstring complex
  • Quadriceps

Why is it important to have a stable core?

Your core is the origin of all movement and where the center of gravity for your body is located. An unstable core during movement will not allow for optimal stabilization, force reduction, force production, or transference to occur throughout your body. An efficient core is not only vital for proper movement and balance throughout your body, but it is also important for injury prevention.

Strength vs. Stability

Do we want a strong core or do we want a stable core? Well, we want both. But often exercises that stabilize the core are underutilized and that can cause problems. If the musculature of your core movement system is strong, but the stabilization system is weak, your body will not be able to optimally use or transfer forces.

Strength exercises are not as efficient as isometric exercises at improving core stiffness. Stiffness is important for stability. When the muscles of our core contract, stiffness is created.

What is a strength exercise? A crunch, leg lifts, or side bend.

What is an isometric exercise? It is a hold. It is a static contraction of the muscle without visible movement. For example: plank, side plank.

About the Exercises in the Video


The dead bug exercise is a popular way to build core strength and stabilization. It especially targets the transverse abdominis and spinal erectors.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a full-body exercise, which means it can get your heart rate up quickly. As you perform the move, your shoulders, arms, and chest work to stabilize your upper body while your core stabilizes the rest of your body.


This exercise helps strengthen the muscles of your anterior chain (the front half of your body) while stretching the muscles of your posterior chain (the back half of your body). What does this have to do with your core? If you do not properly engage your core, you will not be able to perform the exercise effectively with proper form.

Bird Dog

The bird dog strengthens the abdominal muscles, lower back, glutes, and quads while also challenging your balance which helps strengthen your stabilization system.

Side Plank

The side plank strengthens the oblique abdominal muscles, which are very useful as core stabilization muscles. It also activates gluteus medius.

Bear Shoulder Taps

Bear with shoulder taps challenges the shoulders, chest, core, legs, arms, and back. In trying to minimize movement in your trunk, you are working to strengthen your stabilization system.

Squats for Beginners

I’m sure everyone would agree that jumping straight to a barbell back squat is not a good idea if you’re a beginner. Here’s a video progression to work yourself up to where you are comfortable with a barbell back squat:

How to Progress Your Squat for Beginners

So, how should a beginner progress their squat?

Here’s a great squat progression sequence:

  1. Wall squat
  2. Counterbalance squat
  3. Bodyweight squat
  4. Goblet squat
  5. Double kettlebell front squat
  6. Barbell front squat
  7. Barbell back squat

So that’s my favorite progression for squats. If you’re a beginner and you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!