My Top Tips for Building a Strong + Lean Core

Your core is made up of a group of very thin smaller muscles unlike the other muscles in your body. You can train your core daily and not have to worry about over training this area. Your goal should be to change your abdominal wall from paper-thin muscles to strong muscles to help stabilize your movement. Changing your mindset from simply leaning out your abs. Instead focus on making your core stronger which will inadvertently lean out your midsection and reduce that lower tummy “pooch.”

Start with cutting out any counterproductive foods: Cut out the foods that can cause you to bloat--EVEN “CLEAN” FOODS, for example, fiber rich or water filled foods affect people in different ways. If you discover that you’re typically bloated after hitting your fiber goal, dive deeper into what was consumed that day to determine the specific food causing the issue. Just cut them out for a week and see how you feel. I recommend eating whole foods and avoiding some common ones that cause bloating: Lentils, beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, prunes, apricots, some brands of whey protein, and artificial sweeteners.

Next is your training style: Your core most often acts as a stabilizer rather than a prime mover. Yet consistently we focus on training our core as a prime mover and in isolation. This would be doing crunches or back extensions versus functional movements like deadlifts, overhead squats, and pushups, among many other functional closed chain exercises. By training that way, not only are you missing out on a major function of the core, but also improved strength, more efficient movement, and a leaner midsection.

There are four exercises I recommend to build core strength and drop that lower stomach pooch:

  1. Isometric Holds: Like the standard plank and variations of them.
  2. Crawling: If you've ever tried crawling for a considerable distance, you know how much it can work your core. It's surprisingly brutal.
  3. Levers and Single-Sided Exercises: Like lying leg levers, hanging leg raises, Dead bugs
  4. Throwing: Like Medicine ball slams, it's an explosive exercise that trains us to transfer our energy via our cores.

Here’s a quick core session to target your lower abs and build overall core strength: Circuit 1: 2 Rounds/10 Reps each side Plank with Shoulder Taps Side plank with hip lift Circuit 2: 3 Rounds/Reps as prescribed 20 Bear Crawl Steps (10 forward/10 back) 10 Hollow body rocks 10 Wall Ball Slams Circuit 3: 3 Rounds/10 Reps Each Leg Lying Leg Levers Dead Bugs Bird Dogs

I hope you find these tips helpful! We will focus on building core strength using these moves along with fat burning MetCons in the November round of The CHISELED Program. Get program details here!