An Athlete’s Guide to the Best Core Workouts: Planking, Pilates, and More
A strong core is essential in any sport, making core exercises an important part of an athlete’s training. While there’s nothing wrong with choosing to use the classic weight machines, there are alternative options for athletes who crave change. Pilates, Planking, and Barre exercises consist of low-impact moves, making them the perfect option for athletes wanting to avoid injury. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best core workouts you can do to tone and strengthen your body so that you are ready for game day.
The plank position is an excellent exercise for any athlete looking to get a stronger core, as it targets every group of core muscles in the body. We have included several plank variations designed to work your upper body and core.
The Standard Plank
Regardless of what sport you play, the standard plank is the definitive. For beginners and advanced athletes alike, you can’t go wrong with this first type. The standard plank is easy to learn and beneficial for practicing good form, an essential for athletic performance.
Step 1: Lay with your body facing the ground
Step 2: Make sure your arms are extended directly in front of you
Step 3: Hold your back in a straight line, with only your hand and toes touching the ground.
The Side Plank
Despite the name, the side plank is designed to reach more than just your side. While strengthening your core, the side plank also strengthens your arms and wrists. This exercise is particularly helpful for those who play wrist and arm-reliant sports such as volleyball and basketball. Follow these three steps, then switch sides and repeat.
Step 1: Lay on your side with your feet together
Step 2: Raise your body so that only your forearm and feet support you
Step 3: Hold your body in a straight line
The Bird Dog Plank
Unlike the standard plank, the bird dog plank is considered a more advanced exercise. Nevertheless, if you are capable of completing this challenging workout, the results are beneficial. If you are an athlete who would like to gain better balance, this is the workout for you.
Step 1: Get into standard plank position
Step 2: Lift your left leg, and raise your right arm
Step 3: Alternate, lifting your right leg and raising your right arm. Remember to keep your legs straight!
Pilates and Barre
Barre is one of the best core workouts you can do for your body. It is a mix of Yoga, Dance, and Pilates, making it a fun and engaging way to strengthen the core muscles you use the most.You may recognize a barre exercise as a form of ballet training. Among Barre workouts are some of the best ab exercises you can do. It should come as no surprise that the same workout that tones dancers well enough to perform incredible moves could tone you for your sport! The following exercises we have included in our list are a combination of Pilates and Barre exercises that can be easily incorporated into your regular routine.
The Pilates Roll-up
This first exercise is a classic pilates workout that targets your abs and surrounding region. Like most pilates workouts, this is a low-impact move that gives a high amount of toning.
Step 1: Lay on your back with arms straight up
Step 2: “Roll” yourself up by as you lift your upper back
Step 3: Return to the starting position as you descend from being “rolled-up”!
The “Genie Abs”
As the name suggests, the genie abs workout is a wish-granter. Despite the silly name, this popular barre position is a serious contender in the ab workouts category. While a little more complicated than a roll-up, it is a great ab and leg exercise.
Step 1: Sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat, shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Fold your arms like a genie so that they are aligned with your shoulders, your
right hand over left forearm or vice-versa, keeping your hands flat.
Step 3: Twist your torso toward your lifted bent leg and have your opposite elbow touch
that knee. For example, if you choose to start with your left leg, have your right elbow press your left knee.
Table top Fire Hydrant Kicks
Similar to leg raises but with a twist, this move is just what the name implies. Instead of raising your leg straight up, you are kicking to the side.
Step 1: Have your arms and knees on the ground a comfortable distance apart from each other.
Step 2: Turn your torso to whatever side you prefer. You will be alternating sides, lifting your legs to your side one at a time.
Step 3: Kick outwards for however many reps you prefer while keeping your abs tightened.
Join Us in Class!
Ready to tone and strengthen your core in a new way? O Athletik offers Barre and Pilates classes that feature workouts just like the ones listed here. You can check out our class schedule and find a time that works for you.