Six-pack core workout

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THE COACH

Laura Garrod is a strength and conditioning coach at Full Potential, a specialist running and triathlon coaching company. She has over 14 years’ experience of training in endurance sports including rowing, long-distance running and triathlon.

THE GOAL

‘By doing dynamic exercises to strengthen your core, you’ll improve your balance and posture and decrease the risk of injury, and that will ultimately make you a much stronger and faster athlete, no matter your sport,’ says Garrod. ‘This session is not about getting a six-pack, it’s about making powerful upper- and lower-body movements smooth and stable.’

THE WORKOUT

‘I recommend doing this session at least twice a week, on a day when you have no other training,’ says Garrod. ‘Before starting the workout, make sure you have completed at least a five-minute warm-up of dynamic stretches, such as bent-over torso rotations and leg swings, to help increase the range of motion of your joints and muscles. Do the exercises back-to-back in a circuit style with a one-minute rest between each circuit. Aim for three circuits to begin with, progressing to five as you improve.’

Beginner: do each exercise for 20sec
Intermediate do each exercise for 30sec
Advanced do each exercise for 45sec

1 Gym ball pike Get into a press-up position with your shins on a gym ball. Engaging your core, raise your hips until the tops of your feet are on the ball, taking your bodyweight on your hands. Extend back to the starting position.

2 Side plank twist Start in a side plank position with your top arm raised. Bring your arm down and reach under your body, then return to the start position. Repeat for the prescribed time, then switch sides and repeat on the other side.

3 Back extension Lie on a gym ball with your sternum over the centre of it, keeping your feet on the floor. Engage your glutes and lower back to raise your torso. Lower back to the start position.

4 Russian twist Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet lifted. Holding a kettlebell in front of your chest, lean back slightly so your body and thighs make a shallow ‘V’ shape. Twist as far as you can to one side, then to the other.

5 Spider-Man press-up Start in a press-up position with your hands under your shoulders, body in a straight line from shoulders to heels. Lower your chest, lift one leg and bring your knee forward so that it touches your elbow. Go back to the start and repeat on the other side.

6 Lunge with rotation Stand with your hands together, held straight out in front of you. Step forward into a lunge until your back knee is just off the floor. Keeping your hips pointing forward, rotate your torso to one side as far as you can go. Turn back and step back out of the lunge to the start position. Repeat on the other side.