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Core Excercises To Improve Core Strength: Guest Article by Kerstin Ong

Kerstin Ong guest writer core

Today’s guest writer is Singapore national team sprinter and hurdler Kerstin Ong.

Kerstin specialises in the 100m Hurdles event. She represented Singapore at the 2015 Asian Athletics Championships in that event. This article shares four core exercises that she does to improve core strength. Core strength helps with other physical activities, such as sprinting.

What exercises do you do to train your core strength when not running? 

Can you explain these exercises in more detail (How to do each step) and which muscle they train?

Plank (front)

  • Targets the rectus abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae. Also helps to improve balance and coordination.
  • Start in a push-up position with your forearms on the ground. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core muscles for a certain set of time (typically, I do this with Tabata music)

Plank (sides)

  • Side planks are a variation of the plank core training that focuses on the obliques, the muscles that run along the sides of the abdomen.
  • To do a side plank, start by lying on your side with your legs extended and your feet stacked on each other. Prop yourself up on your forearm, with your elbow directly under your shoulder. Lift your hips off the ground so your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for a certain set of time

V-ups

  • Core exercise that works the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors
  • To do a V-up, lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head, with your fingers interlaced. Engage your core muscles and lift your upper body and legs off the ground so that your body forms a V-shape. Hold the position for a second, then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Typically, I repeat it for 20-30 reps, at least 3 sets.

Superman (back) – targets back.

  • The Superman back exercise is a great way to strengthen your lower back and posterior chain muscles. It is a relatively simple exercise that can be done at home with no equipment.
  • To do the Superman back exercise, start by lying face down on the floor with your arms extended in front of you and your legs extended behind you. Engage your core muscles and lift your arms, legs, and chest off the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.

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