And now, a guest post by OS Instructor and Movement Guru, Aleks Salkin…
You’ve heard it before: core training is important.
And everybody and their mother wants a rock-hard midsection.
Some people’s rationale is purely vain: they want to look good at the beach. And if that’s the case for you, more power to you! A set of abs that looks more like bricks on a building than a standard-issue human belly is a thing of beauty.
And with beach season approaching, you probably want to get a move on with that goal sooner rather than later.
Well, there’s something you oughta know before you head out on your noble quest for a core sexy enough to inspire a renaissance sculptor and eye-popping enough to consume all passers-by with fits of jealousy:
Your core needs to be strong on the inside before it can be strong on the outside.
As a wise man once said something to the effect of, “traditional core exercises can only make your core stronger – they have to be strong to begin with.” In case you were curious, that wise man was none other than Original Strength co-founder Tim Anderson – a man who knows a thing or two about freakish, ridiculous strength.
So the question remains: how do we get our core strong to begin with?
The answer lies within the developmental sequence – the movements that comprise the Original Strength system.
To give you a quick crash course, the beginnings of your core training can be found in the essential movements of breathing, head control, rolling, rocking, and crawling. So if you’re brand new to Original Strength, I recommend you find an instructor near you and learn the ropes before you try anything else.
But if you’re already familiar with those moves, then here’s a killer combo of two fantastic OS resets that will light your core up like a Christmas tree, sharpen your coordination, and leave you wondering where all that sweat came from.
Dead bugs and hard rolls.
The dead bug – while typically used as a regression for crawling to teach the contralateral gait pattern – is a fantastic movement in its own right – building fist-busting abs and core stability that will serve you very well in your favorite strength movements.
In fact, “The Iron Lady of Oz” Frances Moylan – a member of my monthly Inner Circleprogram and a fellow OS fanatic – did a program of mine that paired dead bugs with front squats and reported hitting a massive PR – 5 sets of 5 reps with two kettlebells equaling 85% of her bodyweight! So when I talk about building an iron core with OS moves, I ain’t kidding!
As for the hard roll, well…its name is well-earned. The hard roll requires a combination of good mobility to get your elbow to the opposite knee, strong abs to keep them there, and well-developed head control. That last part is essential, because the movement of your head in either direction is the catalyst for getting your body to move – no cheating possible.
Combined, these moves will hit every nook and cranny of your waist from inside AND out. A perfect prerequisite to test your mettle and readiness for more traditional ab exercises, such as hanging leg raises or the ab wheel.
Here’s how you do them:
- Lay on your back and point your arms and legs straight up in the air.
- Lower your right arm and left leg slowly and under control. Lift your head and touch your left elbow to your right knee.
- Look to your right as far as you can, letting your body gently roll toward the right. Once you’ve rolled over, look over your left shoulder until you roll back onto your back.
- Repeat on the other side.
Here’s a video to show you the ropes:
💥Best core workout you’ve NEVER done 💥 – 🌞Traditional core exercises will help get your core stronger – but before you can build your traditional strength, you must build your Original Strength! Namely, your reflexive stability (ie your body’s ability to react to movement before and while it happens) – 🌹If you’re new to @original_strength, start a little easier than this video. But if you’re a seasoned resetter, give this wicked combo a shot: the dead bug hard roll! – ⚡️Start on your back, legs and arms up (like a dead bug), then lower opposite limbs to the ground. The limbs that are still pointing skyward should meet at the elbow and knee. Look toward the side of the bent leg, roll, then roll back only by looking over the other shoulder. Switch sides and repeat. – 🎄If you have to hold your breath or strain, this move ain’t for you, chum. Put in the time with your regular dead bugs and segmental rolls. – 🐯Got any other favorite OS combo moves? Let me know in the comments below! – 😄Have fun and happy training! – #coreworkout #abworkout #sixpack #deadbugs #hardroll #calisthenicsworkout #bodyweightworkout #flexibility #mobility #yoga #strength #strong #strongfirst #originalstrength #pressreset #reset #resetting #paleo #primal #handstands #movement #movementculture #capoeira #parkour #exton #pennsylvania
Aim to do a few rounds of these – starting with just 5 per side to begin with. Trust me – the intensity ratchets up pretty quickly, so don’t commit yourself to any crazy number of reps only to find yourself asking “what was I thinking?!” and resorting to high-tension techniques to grind out those last few reps.
Just for fun, consider pairing these with another strength movement you love – like pressing, pullups, or swings. I’m willing to bet your core will be firing harder, your lifts will start feeling stronger, and your likely beleaguered low back will stop complaining all the time and start enjoying itself for a change too.
Drop me a line to let me know how you like them.
Have fun and happy training!
Aleks Salkin is a Level II StrongFirst Certified kettlebell instructor (SFG II) and an Original Strength Instructor.
He grew up scrawny, unathletic, weak, and goofy until he was exposed in his early twenties to kettlebells and the teachings and methodology of Pavel.
He is currently based out of Downingtown, PA and spends his time teaching clients both in person and online, as well as spreading the word of StrongFirst and calisthenics.
He is the author of The 8-Week Kettlebell and Bodyweight Challenge.