Core Strength: Brendan from the Goal Guys tried an interesting experiment to see if he could get abs in 30 days.
The aim was to improve both his core strength and physique.
He used no equipment except for an ab roller and push up grips.
He mainly trained using circuit based core workouts, such as the following, which was his first workout.
Complete the exercises below, in the order that they are written.
50 seconds for each exercise. 10 seconds rest.
- Leg Kicks (arms and shoulders off the ground)
- Side to Side Heel Taps
- Reverse Crunches
This equates to 5 minutes and counts as a single circuit.
Complete the circuit 4 times.
After the circuits came the ab wheel and side planks
Brendan’s sessions finished with stretching and mobility work to keep the core and lower back safe.
On his off days he did supplementary workouts that still engaged the core.
He made some small adjustments to which abs and core exercises were included in the circuit workout.
He walked for an hour each morning at the beginning of the challenge as his hamstring was sore, but once it fully recovered, he could get back to more demanding forms of cardio.
High protein, high carb diet.
He did not enter a caloric deficit until the final week, where he tried to shed a little fat.
Watch his entire experience below.
The Advantages of a Strong Core
Having a strong core offers a wide range of advantages, as it plays a fundamental role in overall physical health and well-being.
Your core muscles are located in the abdominal, lower back, and pelvic regions and are responsible for stabilizing and supporting your spine, pelvis, and other vital organs. Here are some of the key advantages of a strong core:
Improved Posture: A strong core helps maintain proper alignment of the spine and pelvis, reducing the risk of poor posture-related issues, such as back pain and rounded shoulders.
Reduced Risk of Injury: A strong core provides stability and support during physical activities and everyday movements. This can help prevent injuries in sports, exercise, and daily tasks.
Better Balance: Core strength is essential for balance and stability. A strong core helps you stay steady on your feet, reducing the risk of falls and injuries, especially as you age.
Enhanced Athletic Performance: Athletes rely on core strength for power, agility, and endurance. A strong core can improve performance in sports, from running and swimming to golf and weightlifting.
Reduced Back Pain: Core muscles support the lower back, and a strong core can alleviate or prevent lower back pain by providing stability and reducing strain on the spine.
Improved Functional Fitness: Core strength is essential for performing everyday activities like bending, twisting, lifting, and reaching. It allows you to move more efficiently and with less effort.
Better Breathing: Strong core muscles facilitate proper diaphragmatic breathing, which can lead to improved respiratory function and oxygen intake.
Enhanced Digestion: Core exercises can stimulate the abdominal muscles and help improve digestion by promoting healthy movement of the digestive tract.
Aesthetics: A strong core can lead to a flatter, more toned abdomen, which many people find aesthetically pleasing.
Pain Relief: For individuals with conditions such as scoliosis or herniated discs, a strong core can provide relief by reducing stress on the spine and surrounding structures.
Enhanced Postnatal Recovery: A strong core can aid in postpartum recovery, helping women regain abdominal strength and stability after childbirth.
Improved Confidence: Feeling physically strong and having good posture can boost your self-esteem and overall confidence.
To develop a strong core, it’s important to incorporate a variety of core-strengthening exercises into your fitness routine, such as planks, bridges, leg raises, and yoga poses. Remember that a well-rounded exercise program, including cardiovascular and strength training, is essential for overall health and fitness.
Core Exercises that Can Be Performed without Equipment
Certainly! There are numerous core exercises that you can do without any equipment. These exercises can help strengthen your core muscles effectively.
Here are 15 examples:
- Plank: Get into a push-up position but with your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Hold your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core muscles.
- Side Plank: Lie on your side, propped up on one elbow, and lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from head to heels.
- Bicycle Crunches: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, lift your shoulders off the ground, and bring one knee toward the opposite elbow while twisting your torso.
- Mountain Climbers: Start in a plank position and bring your knees alternately towards your chest in a running motion.
- Superman: Lie face down, and simultaneously lift your arms and legs off the ground, engaging your lower back and glutes.
- Russian Twists: Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet off the floor. Hold your hands together and twist your torso to touch the ground on either side of your hips.
- Dead Bug: Lie on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling and your knees lifted. Lower one arm and the opposite leg toward the ground while keeping your lower back pressed into the floor.
- Bird Dog: Start on your hands and knees. Extend one arm and the opposite leg simultaneously while keeping your back flat and stable.
- Hollow Body Hold: Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended off the ground, creating a “hollow” shape with your body.
- Leg Raises: Lie on your back with your legs straight. Lift your legs off the ground and then lower them back down without letting them touch the floor.
- Flutter Kicks: Lie on your back with your legs extended. Lift your legs slightly off the ground and alternate kicking them up and down.
- Boat Pose: Sit on the ground with your knees bent and lift your feet off the floor. Balance on your sitting bones, keeping your back straight and your legs lifted.
- Scissor Kicks: Lie on your back with your legs extended. Lift one leg while keeping the other just off the ground, and then switch in a scissor-like motion.
- Reverse Crunches: Lie on your back, bend your knees, and bring them toward your chest while lifting your hips off the ground.
- Forearm Plank Hip Dips: Start in a forearm plank position, then rotate your hips to one side and dip them toward the floor, and then do the same on the other side.
Remember to perform these exercises with proper form and control. You can create a core workout routine by combining several of these exercises to target different areas of your core effectively.
How Does the L Sit Strengthen the Core?
The L-sit is an excellent core-strengthening exercise that targets several muscle groups in the core area, primarily the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and the hip flexors.
Here’s how the L-sit works to strengthen the core:
Engages the Rectus Abdominis: The L-sit requires you to lift your legs and keep them straight, which places a significant load on the rectus abdominis, the muscles responsible for flexing the spine. This engagement of the rectus abdominis helps tone and strengthen the front part of your core, leading to improved aesthetics and strength.
Activates the Transverse Abdominis: The transverse abdominis is a deep, stabilizing muscle that wraps around your abdomen, acting like a corset to support your spine and internal organs. During the L-sit, you need to engage and stabilize this muscle to maintain the position, which helps enhance core stability and protect your lower back.
Challenges the Hip Flexors: To hold your legs up in an L-sit, you need to use your hip flexor muscles. This engagement not only strengthens the hip flexors themselves but also contributes to overall core strength and stability.
Promotes Lower Back Health: The L-sit encourages proper posture and alignment of the spine, which can help alleviate or prevent lower back pain. A strong core, including the muscles engaged during the L-sit, supports the spine and reduces stress on the lower back.
Improves Functional Strength: Core strength is essential for various daily activities, including standing, walking, lifting, and reaching. The L-sit trains your core to work as a cohesive unit, enhancing your ability to perform these activities with better stability and less risk of injury.
To perform the L-sit, you typically sit on the ground or use parallel bars, with your legs extended in front of you and your hands on the ground or bars by your sides. You then lift your legs off the ground, keeping them straight, and hold the position for as long as you can. As you progress, you can work on holding the L-sit for longer durations or experimenting with more challenging variations to further strengthen your core.
The Advantages of Training at Home
Training at home offers several advantages, making it a popular choice for many individuals. Some of the key benefits of home workouts include:
Convenience: One of the most significant advantages of training at home is the convenience it offers. You can work out at any time that suits your schedule, without the need to commute to a gym. This can save you a significant amount of time and eliminate transportation-related barriers.
Cost Savings: Home workouts can be much more cost-effective in the long run. You don’t need to pay for a gym membership or expensive exercise classes. You can also invest in basic equipment, such as resistance bands, dumbbells, or a yoga mat, which is typically a one-time expense.
Privacy and Comfort: Some people feel self-conscious or uncomfortable working out in a public gym. Training at home provides privacy and comfort, allowing you to focus on your fitness goals without feeling observed or judged.
No Waiting for Equipment: In crowded gyms, there can be a lot of waiting time for popular equipment. At home, you have the freedom to use your equipment whenever you want, without waiting in line.
Personalized Workouts: Training at home allows you to tailor your workouts to your specific needs and goals. You can choose exercises and routines that suit your preferences and focus on areas that are important to you.
Flexible Environment: You can create a workout space at home that is suited to your preferences. Whether it’s a dedicated home gym, a small corner of a room, or even your backyard, you have the flexibility to design your exercise environment to your liking.
Family and Community Involvement: Training at home can be a family or community activity. You can involve your family members or housemates in your fitness routine, promoting a healthy lifestyle for everyone in your home.
No Commute Stress: Avoiding the daily commute to a gym can reduce stress and save time. You can start your workout as soon as you’re ready, without the hassle of traveling to a fitness facility.
No Time Limits: Many gyms have set operating hours, which may not align with your preferred workout times. At home, you have the freedom to exercise early in the morning, late at night, or whenever it suits you best.
Reduced Distractions: Some people find that gyms can be distracting with TVs, loud music, or other gym-goers. At home, you can create a focused, distraction-free workout environment.
Safety and Hygiene: You have control over the cleanliness and hygiene of your home workout space, reducing the risk of exposure to germs and illnesses that can be present in public gym settings.
While home workouts offer many advantages, it’s essential to maintain discipline and motivation, as self-motivation can be a challenge when there are no external factors or trainers to push you. Setting goals, creating a structured routine, and staying committed to your fitness plan are crucial for success when training at home.