Before we get too carried away with dynamic core exercises we need to first break down what people mean, and what they think they mean when they take about their core.
Core strength and training your core, in general, is something that often gets overlooked when it comes to our workout routines.
And a big cause of this is the confusion between our abs and our core.
Abs and core are two terms that need to be differentiated.
It is like referring to your arms as your biceps.
Sure your biceps are part of your arm and are one of the more well-known muscles on your arm, if not your whole body.
But it doesn’t make them your arm.
And your abs and your core are no different.
Your six-pack or your abs are just one muscle group that makes up your whole core.
And while there are a few muscles that make up your core, I narrow it down to the four main ones.
Your transverse abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques and your rectus abdominis (Your abs).
Now that we know the difference between our abs and our core, let’s look at a few dynamic movements for your core.
The top 7 dynamic core movements everyone should be doing are.
Set up in a prone hold position, and bounce your feet in and out like climbing a mountain.
Like you see in the picture above, set up in a plank only your going to jump both feet in and out and many times as you can.
Set up like a pull-up and bring your legs up to the bar.
Try and keep your legs as straight as possible for this movement. Hanging knee raise is a good beginner’s option for this.
Start off holding the bar like a pull-up.
Bring yourself up so your body is parallel with the floor and your legs are pointing up in the air.
Twist from side to side, this is quite an advanced movement, but you can do these lying with your back flat on the floor until you have the strength to hang from a bar.
With your feet and shoulder off the ground so you are balancing on just your bum, twist your hands from side to side. You can take this a step further by adding weight.
Start holding a post of a partner’s feet. Keep your body straight as you lower yourself down as controlled as possible.
So the picture is showing the finishing position of a normal v-up.
To make it alternating you want to lift your right hand to your left foot, then repeat with your left hand to your right foot.
Going through sets of 10-20 reps.
Dynamic core movements are those that require, so rather than you usually static core holds like a plank or a side plank where you keep your body still and in a straight line.
With dynamic exercises, you’re always moving.
And like any exercise, the best way to do them is if you go through the full range of motion.
That’s not to say your core workout should be one or the other.
Dynamic exercises can be done with or without equipment as well. Take the Russian twist, for example, it’s fine to do with just your hands.
But for best results try using a medicine ball or freeweights.
The added resistance is going to have your oblique muscles firing!
One big benefit I find with dynamic core exercises, is they enter into the realm of functional training.
They tend to be exercises that replicate a lot of our daily activities.
I find when I get my clients doing more of these kinds of core movements that mimic everyday life and it helps a lot with reducing lower back pain.
You see when you stop focusing on just your abdominal muscles and make the focus of your core training to build stable core muscles it takes the pressure off your lower back.
Dynamic exercises move a group of muscles through a full range of motion like push-ups, squats, pullups, and box step-ups.
Dynamic exercises are the primary elements of most fitness programs.
The beauty of most dynamic exercises is that are more often than not compound exercises.
Compound exercises being movements that use more than one joint and in turn more muscle groups.
The 6 main compound movements, squats, rows, deadlift, bench press, shoulder press, and pull-ups all move major muscle groups and build strong core muscles.
For a long time, I didn’t do a lot of ab exercises or abdominal training in my workouts.
Buts that is not to say I had weak core muscles, quite the opposite actually.
Because I was doing a lot of functional movements and compound lifts, every workout I was working the muscles of the core anyway.
So I didn’t need to spend the extra time, in the end, focusing on just my core.
Even now I still don’t do a lot of core-specific exercises, but I’m doing more calisthenics which requires a strong core, I’m practicing handstands a lot which works your core as well.
I train with kettlebells a lot as well which use a lot of your core.
My point is that sometimes dynamic core movements don’t need to be core movements, dynamic compound movements when done with proper form are going to work your core.
In fact, as soon as you try to do some of these exercises with one hand or on one leg they become great core stability exercises.
There are literally 1000s of core exercises out there, some much better than others.
But if you were to just do 5 core exercises every week then you should probably do these 5.
The king of static core exercises, the starting position simple.
You set up like you would a push-up, only on your forearms instead of your hands.
If you really wanted to you could call this a forearm plank and on your hands would be a high plank or prone hold.
Now you just hang out in that position for an extended period of time.
Maintaining a straight back with your core braced the whole time.
Set up kneeling for this one and take the ab wheel by the handles.
With your core braced slowly roll yourself out as far as you can before you feel your lower back start to sag.
If your back is sagging you are going further than you should.
You’ll also get a good upper body workout with this exercise.
Only roll out as far as you can while keeping your core straight.
Don’t cut corners with this movement, you will progress when you’re ready.
This one is best done with a resistance band.
Tie the band to a post between navel and chest height and take the other end in both hands and step out to the side.
With the band pulling from the side punch both hands out straight in front of you and bring them back to your chest in a controlled manner.
This Is a pretty advanced movement to do correctly but it’s easy to scale by staying lying on the floor.
Pull yourself up on a pull-up bar so that your body is at a right angle with your torso parallel to the floor and your legs together and straight up in the air.
Twist at the hips and let your lower body turn towards the floor while the rest of your body stays stiff and engaged.
Twists side to side slow and controlled for as many reps as you can handle.
Start laying on your back and bring the opposite arm and leg straight up through a v shape so the right-hand touches the left foot.
Do the same with your left hand and right foot. Repeat for as many reps as you can handle.
Lower back pain is one of the first indicators of a weak core.
If you find your lower back is sore after sitting or standing for a while it could mean you have a weak core.
Bad posture is another sign, If you’re finding it hard to straighten yourself it could be because your core muscles are struggling.
If you feel weak in general this is because the core is the center of your muscular system.
Working on your core strength is going to transfer over to other areas of your body as well.
Your balance will also be affected by having a weak core.
Your core muscles are what is helping you stay straight and upright.
So when they aren’t doing their job, the rest of your body is going to struggle to stay balanced.
A combination of dynamic and static exercises is going to be great for improving core strength at home.
But try to avoid movements like crunches that just target your abs, focus on training your whole core.
Just knocking out set after set of sit-ups is not going to give you the six-pack abs you’re after.
All you’ll achieve with that is tight hip flexors and a sore lower back.
Train your whole core, all four of the muscle groups we spoke about before, and get your diet right.
That’s how you get the abs you’re chasing.
Have a read through this article I wrote recently talking about how to get your food right.
The majority of the exercise I have mentioned in this post can all be done at home without too much equipment.
But if you want a bit of guidance you can download my FREE Ebook, Train Wherever the F*ck You Want.
It’s a full guide to training with resistance bands and how you can use them wherever you want.
All of the movements we go through in this book are going to be working your core.
But there are also some dynamic core exercises in the book for you to try as well.
Failing that, have a look at this workout I post on youtube recently.
Try to stop focusing on your abs is the first piece of advice you need to take in with this.
When you focus on full core strength abs will come.
Just like when I get a beginner to exercise I focus on compound movements with them.
We do exercises that work for multiple muscle groups at the same time to build up strength everywhere.
Only once it’s becoming a habit and they’re seeing strength gains across the board do we start moving into targeting single muscles.
We don’t do bicep curls right away, we do row.
Because rows work all the muscles in the back and the bicep as well.
Once they start getting stronger and want to train more times a week we start breaking things down further and bring the bicep curls in then.
Your core and your abs should be the same. build a strong core and then start bringing in some more targeted ab or oblique exercises.
Remember that if you train your whole core for long enough you will have a strong core. If you have a strong core you will have strong abs as well.
Now that you have a good understanding of how to train your core with dynamic exercises, it’s time to learn about how you can do these workouts at home.
I train when and where I want. I got sick of gym memberships and working out to someone else schedule.
That is why I created the Grizzly Online Gym. I upload my workouts everywhere so you can follow along when and where you want.
With or without equipment, I’ve got options that suit everyone. And I’ll even throw in all my downloadable programs when you sign up!
If you have already make sure you get a copy of my FREE Ebook. Train Wherever The F*ck You Want.