Isometric core exercises are one of the most under utilised tools when people are trying to build a strong core. Doing repetition upon repetition of sit ups and getting no where can be frustrating especially when there are so many effective isometric variations that will help you see results. Let’s have a look at the 10 isometric core exercises you can add into your routine today to start seeing results.
These are probably the most powerful exercises for core development. They are the basis of all serious gymnastic positions but are massively under rated with the general gym going population. Technically they can be hard to master, if you’re unable to do them correctly it feels as if you’re doing nothing. They develop the core as the body must resist extension from either gravity or your own bodyweight. If we look at a hollow hold for example, maintaining this position requires we resist the extension of the hips.
This resistance requires a great deal of engagement and work from the core musculature therefore creating a stimulus for the core musculature and resulting to adaptations, developing a strong and robust core. The same can be said for resisting rotation, either body weight or a load must be resisted against creating the stimulus, this can be seen in the suitcase hold.
Using your own bodyweight (as in many of these isometric exercises) to develop your core and improve challenging positions can be very beneficial for improving your body awareness.
The importance of pelvis positioning in these positions cannot be underestimated, if you’re in the wrong position then the work isn’t being done by the correct musculature making the exercise redundant. For all anti-extension (anterior-core) exercises the pelvis must be in a posterior pelvic tilt position (think the cat part of the cat-camel position) meaning the entire core can be properly braced and used to resist the extension. In a hollow hold, dead-bug, etc the lower back needs to be pressed into the floor (this creates the posterior pelvic tilt) and stay on the floor throughout the entire hold.
Keeping the shoulders square in exercises where resisting rotation is required is also essential. In the suitcase hold, the weight must be away from the body with the shoulders square and in a fixed position. This will allow the weight to pull on the obliques and created the stimulus for the desired adaptation.
EMOM’s a great format for this style of isometric core training. The every minute on the minute structure allows you to pick a few different isometric holds and follow a clock for 8-12 minutes and create a large stimulus for the entire core in this amount of time. We have created both a beginner and advanced isometric core workout for you to try below.
Complete 3 rounds
Complete 3 rounds
If you enjoyed this resource you can find more below or try Programme, a fitness app that plans every workout for you – based on your progress, equipment and lifestyle.
This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.