Dynamic and Isometric Core Exercises to Help You Become Unstoppable
Core Training | Isometric Core Exercises
One of the major muscle groups we overlook during training is the core. Your core is a centralized area of your body that affects every movement you make, so it should be an important focus when training.
If you’re wondering about some of the best ways to train your core, check out the tips and advice our Gloveworx coaches have about dynamic and isometric core exercises.
Why Your Core Matters
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: your core muscles are about so much more than having six-pack abs. or doing endless crunches. In fact, your six-pack abs make up a very small part of the muscles that constitute your core.
The core of the body includes both passive skeletal and active muscles, as well as neural components. With all these different pieces working in tandem, your abdominals enhance your ability to create torque production in the upper body and lower body, so you can push, pull, punch, and kick with more force and power.
The core muscles include:
- External and internal obliques - these core muscles play a key role in rotational strength, stability, and bending.
- Transversus abdominis - this deep core muscle stabilizes the spine and pelvis for movement, wrapping around to protect the back.
- Rectus abdominis - these are the bumpy muscles at the front that make up the six-pack abs. Their true purpose is to assist with trunk flexion.
- Quadratus lumborum - this deep muscle is responsible for stabilizing the pelvic floor and spine during movement.
- Erector spinae - the erector spinae is made up of a group of muscles and tendons that provide back strength and flexion.
While these are the main muscles that make up the core, they aren't the only ones. Everything from your pelvic floor to your glutes play a role in core strength and stability. This is why it's so important to break up with ab exercises and focus on functional core training.
How to Develop Core Strength
While the end result of core training is more strength and power, during your exercise routine, your focus should be about better motor control. You want to ensure your dynamic core workouts build and reinforce patterns that lead to greater movement efficiency in sports and daily life.
Many coaches keep their clients on their back (in a supine position) when trying to activate the core, but for most, supine positions are not functional in daily activities, so most people do not benefit from workouts in this position. Consider your daily activities and create your core workouts based on exercises that will help you get the most out of training.
Standing up and using tools like free weights, medicine balls, and bands for isometric core exercises are a far more useful way to train the core and are essential when learning how to develop functional core strength.
Isometric and Dynamic Core Workouts
When developing the core, there are two foundational exercise types that should be used during training: dynamic and isometric core exercises.
Isometric Core Exercises
Isometric exercises are when muscles are activated and contracted, but no movement occurs. You’re holding a static position for several seconds or minutes at a time. Some effective isometric core exercises include:
- Place your hands or forearms on the floor at shoulder width with your feet stacked behind you. Your back should be extended and flat.
- Squeeze your glutes, strengthen your core, and hold.
- Grab the bars of a dip machine or parallel bars.
- Lift yourself and extend your arms.
- Slowly lower yourself, bending your elbows while keeping your feet off the floor. You will need to bend your knees for this purpose.
- When your upper arms are parallel to the floor, hold the position. You'll want to keep your elbows tucked close to your sides and your forearms straight and strong.
Dynamic Core Exercises
Dynamic exercises are ones where the muscles shorten or lengthen to control movements. You are not in a stationary position. Often, these exercises are useful in simultaneously developing cardio strength. Some powerful dynamic core exercises include:
Plank Step Ups
- Start in a plank position in front of a low box, step, or plate.
- Maintain a straight back and squeeze your glutes.
- Move one hand onto the platform then back. This should be a slow and controlled movement. Once your hand is back in position, you've completed one rep. Switch to the other hand and follow the same process. Maintain a straight back and avoid rocking or shifting your weight from side to side.
- Place your hands hands and knees on the floor with an Olympic style barbell in front of you. Olympic bars are ideal as they allow for rotation.
- Grip the barbell at shoulder distance.
- Stabilize your core and slowly roll forward, maintaining contact between your knees and the ground. Stretch your body, maintaining strong, extended arms.
- Go down as far as you can go without touching the floor. When you reach your maximum extension, pause and pull back up using your core. This should be a slow and controlled motion using your abdominal muscles.
- Remember to breathe during this exercise!
- Start in a plank position.
- Lift your left knee and bring it toward your chest, then back to starting position. Repeat with your right knee.
- Alternate back and forth, increasing speed while maintaining form.
Hanging Leg Raises
- Hang from a pull up bar with both arms at full extension.
- Raise your legs to a 90-degree angle. For beginners to abdominal exercises, bend your knees and raise to your chest instead. This is a great progression as you aim to strengthen your core.
- Hold the position for a moment then release back to start.
- Pause and repeat.
Gloveworx Core Workout
Take the Gloveworx challenge and try one of our favorite core workouts from our sessions. This workout uses isometric and dynamic action combined to activate and challenge the core.
- Push up hold (isometric)
- Mountain climbers (dynamic)
- Plank (isometric)
- Barbell roll-out (dynamic)
30 seconds each
Total time: 2 minutes
When completing these exercises, try to ensure your body is straight and your back is flat, with head, shoulders, and hips, and feet all aligned. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders. Complete as many repetitions of this routine as you can and watch as these dynamic and isometric core exercises pump up your abdominal strength.
Have fun challenging yourself when training your core. At Gloveworx, we finish our group sessions with a core quaking workout. Are you ready to Become Unstoppable? Join us!