Core exercises arn’t just for your abs or your next ab workout. They can also be used as warm up exercises for other styles of fitness sessions or sports warm ups. They can even be used to get warmed up for your next core workout.
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Core activation is an important part of warming up for physical training in the gym and for different sports as well. Often times warm ups can get stale and boring, especially if you’re repeating the same on every session. Here are 8 examples of warm up exercises that you can add into you routine to warm up different aspects of the core.
The ability for your brain to send signals to the muscles that are being utilised during the session is improved by performing a thorough warm up. Through performing lighter or bodyweight versions of the movement you’re going to perform in the session you’re able to increase the neuromuscular activation of the muscle.
Although this sounds obvious, it’s actual an often forgotten about aim of the warm up, this increase in body temperature will be beneficial to the session you’re about to perform. This is where core exercises can be particularly useful to warm up the entirety of the body and specifically the core musculature which can be very beneficial as the core can play such a crucial part in maintaining movement quality.
Entering direct into a training session can be very challenging mentally. The warm up can be a bridge from the rest of your day and all the other things going on in your life to the act of physical training. This bridge is an extremely important part of a well executed session. Adding core exercises into the warm up can help you ease into a session.
The bear crawl is one of my favourite animal crawl variations that can be excellent as a core variaent in a warm up. This core exercise requires a lot of stability and control from the anterior core but also warms up the upper and lower body making it the perfect core warm up exercise. Be sure to keep your hips low if you want a lot of core activation, if you are looking for a full body playful warm up exercise lift the hips and move more organically.
The forward hold is a very simple but very effective and sometimes difficult core warm up exercise. It requires an anterior pelvic tilt (rounding of the lower back) to be effective and engage the anterior core muscles. If you have very poor wrist mobility you may want to avoid this exercise as it can aggravate the wrists.
The active ring hang is an excellent warm up core exercise that also targets the shoulders. It’s essential to maintain tight positions (as with all these core exercises) if you’re looking to warm up the muscles of the anterior core. This might be too challenging for those who are just learning to take their bodyweight so only use if this isn’t too challenging, starting a session with a very uncomfortable position isn’t always the best idea.
The bird dog puts emphasis on the lumbar spine unlike the previous core warm up exercises we have looked at which focused mainly on the anterior core. This can be excellent to add into a warm up prior to a heavy hinge (deadlift) but is useful as an exercise to warm up the body generally also. If this exercise is rushed, it becomes redundant as a core warm up exercise so make sure you take your time.
The inchworm to hollow is one of the best ways for more advanced individuals to warm up both their anterior core and upper body. It requires a lot of pre-requisite strength so only attempt this exercise if your confident when taking your weight.
Scissor kicks are a great way for beginners to warm up their anterior core muscles, but can also be a component of an ab workout for beginners. Like the dead-bug this exercise needs to be performed slowly with control, otherwise it will only warm up the hip flexor muscles. Try and keep the lower back pressed into the floor during the entirety of the exercise if you add this into your core warm-up.
The inverted plank targets the posterior chain through the hamstring and glutes but also requires activation from the antrerior core. It also needs a good amount of shoulder mobility so do not attempt this exercise if it creates discomfort in the shoulder.
The T-Press Up is one of my go to warm up exercises as it it puts emphasis on the upper body and the core at the same time. It’s excellent for before horizontal pressing, be sure to add this core warm up exercise into your routine. It needs to be performed with control, otherwise the core will play little part in the movement.
Complete 3 rounds
This is a great example of a full body warm up prior to a resistance training session. It warms up the core musculature, the muscles of the upper back and opens up the hips. This could be a perfect warm up when the primary exercises is a horizontal pull exercise like the bent over row. If you have any questions about warm ups and how to structure them based on the session you’re doing do not hesitate to contact us.
All these exercises discussed above can be used to warm up before a core workout. The key thing to remember with a warm up is that it shouldn’t be challenging, thats why warms ups should change based on your ability.
It really depends on how difficult the core workout is, if your going to be doing very challenging holds on the gymnastic rings then yes, if you just going to be doing some basic plank positions then no.
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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.