5 core workouts that will change everything

If you have visited OCR Park, you’ll know that the obstacles not only challenge your endurance, but also your strength, agility, and mental grit. To do well, you need to incorporate a range of exercises rather than training the same linear movements like standard squats or deadlifts.

Instead, get creative with your workouts! Focus on full-body movements that increase your core strength, flexibility, stability, and grip strength. These skills will help you complete, and dominate OCR Park(check out 4 Top Benefits To Building A Strong Core).

Here are 5 core workouts that will be beneficial for your obstacle course race journey. You’re going to load your body unilaterally, asymmetrically, and unconventionally to build an unbreakable core, unshakeable stability, and unbeatable strength. The more you perform these workouts, the stronger your core gets.

1. Bodyweight Plank Variations – Beginner

Love ’em or hate ’em, planks are a supercharged way to tighten your core, slim your abs, and shape your waistline. The plank is highly recommended because it puts minimal strain on your spine and hip flexors, reducing the chances of injury.

Plus, a plank will tone your back, glutes, hamstrings, arms, and shoulders at the same time. That’s a lot of gain for just 60 seconds of pain!

For the basic plank, get down on your mat and place your forearms directly underneath your shoulders. Your hands should be extended and your body lengthened. The trick is to ensure you engage your glutes, triceps, and abs to prevent your spine from arching toward the mat. Tuck your toes under and lift your knees, so that your body forms a straight line.

Switch it up by performing different variations shown in the demo video.

2. Plank Kettlebell (or Dumbbell) Drag – Beginner/Intermediate

This seems relatively straightforward, but it’s an absolute core-burner! The plank kettlebell drag will not only build your core endurance but also anti-rotational strength.

Start in a high-plank position – hands on the ground, arms fully extended, and feet about hip-width apart – with one weight outside of your right hand. Get long from head to heels. If you’re doing plank correctly, you should be able to draw a straight line through your head, shoulders, hips, and heels. Maintaining this strong position, reach your left hand underneath your body to grab the weight and drag it along the floor to the outside of your left shoulder. Then, plant your left hand and reach your right hand underneath you to drag the weight back to the right. Keep going, and don’t let your hips or shoulders dip or twist.

3. Plank Crawl – Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Can you guess what this exercise prepares you for? You guessed it – the drop and roll. Yes, the barbed wire IS sharp. And you’ll want to keep your body low to the ground while moving efficiently forward. You’ll feel your arms, legs, and core burn, but practicing the plank crawl will help you beat this obstacle without a scratch.

Start in a plank on your forearms. Keep your body long from head to heels, and your core tight. Crawl your right arm and your left foot forward, then the left arm and right foot. Keep crawling until the time is up. Don’t let your knees, hips, or head drop down.

4. Hanging Oblique Raises – Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

When you have to scale the 10 feet to freedom, the wrong way round, escape path, or behind enemy lines, you’ll be glad you did this exercise. Hanging oblique raises strengthen your grip while building your core control.

Hang from a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. Pack your shoulders, bringing them away from your ears. Start with your legs hanging straight down. Maintaining stability in your upper body, bend your knees and raise them towards your right tricep. Lower your legs back to the start with control, then bring your knees towards your left tricep. Continue alternating sides until you’ve completed the prescribed number of repetitions. Don’t swing your legs! You want this movement to come from the strength of your core, not from velocity.

5. Medicine Ball Burpees – Intermediate/Advanced

If you have a medicine ball, you can also try medicine ball burpees, a more advanced version of the classic burpee. Simply do a burpee like you usually would, but use a medicine ball instead of just your hands and legs. This movement activates most of the core muscles and is also great for your cardio.

First, set the ball at your feet. Lower yourself down into the squat thrust-push-up part, then as you get back up, get a hold of the ball before exploding up to the jump. Then lower the ball and repeat the movement.

Get involved with OCR park’s free trial to test your core strength and track your improvements over time.

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