Ask The $250/Hour Trainer: How Can I Train My Core For Summer?

I train professional athletes, A-list celebrities, and now I will train you. Read on and learn how to build your core with these exercises!
Q

How Can I Train My Core For Summer?

Try adding these core exercises to your current routine to enhance stability, strength, and power. The ultimate result will be improvements in both core stability and mobility!

Do core-specific training at the end of a training session. Free-weight exercises like the squat, deadlift, and dumbbell or barbell row can only be done effectively with serious core help. If your core is fatigued before performing those movements, the odds of suffering an injury rise.

I also like to have beginners focus more on core stability than core mobility. Once their core is strong and stable, I'll sometimes switch the emphasis to more core-specific mobility exercises.

Beginners
Monday: Core Stability Day
  • Plank Plank Plank
    3 sets of 30-60 second holds
Wednesday: Core Mobility Day
Friday: Core Stability Day


4-week progression for plank and side plank

Week 1: Start with 30-second holds, resting 60 seconds in between each working set. Use the same rest period for all 4 weeks. If you can't achieve a 30-second hold at first, do as many reps as needed to achieve 30 seconds of work (i.e., 3 reps of 10-second holds = 1 set).

Week 2: If you were able to achieve a 30-second hold for each working set in Week 1, increase to a 45-second hold for each working set. If you weren't able to do a 30-second hold in Week 1, try performing a 30-second hold for at least the first set and then do as many reps as needed to achieve 30 seconds of work in sets 2 and 3.

Week 3: If you were able to obtain a 45-second hold for each working set in Week 2, increase to a 60-second hold for each working set. If you weren't able to do a 45-second hold in Week 2, try performing a 45-second hold for at least the first set, and then do as many reps as needed to achieve 45 seconds of work in sets 2 and 3.

Week 4: If you were able to obtain a 60-second hold for each working set in Week 3, add a 4th working set. If you weren't able to do a 60-second hold in Week 3, try performing a 60-second hold for at least the first set and then do as many reps as needed to achieve 60 seconds of work in sets 2 and 3.

4-week progression for Swiss ball crunch

For the Swiss ball crunch, once you can perform 3 sets of 15 reps, hold a dumbbell or plate across your upper chest.

Intermediate/Advanced
Monday: Core Mobility Day
Wednesday: Core Stability Day
  • Farmer's Walk Farmer's Walk Farmer's Walk
    4 sets of 60-80 reps per side,
    (or 20-25 steps each way) 60 seconds rest
Friday: Core Mobility Day


4-week progression for hanging bent-knee raise

Start with 10 to 15 reps per set, resting 60 seconds in between. If you can achieve 15 reps for all 4 sets, add ankle weights or pinch a dumbbell between your feet.

4-week progression for "suitcase" dumbbell carry:

Start with a dumbbell you can carry with one hand for 60 to 80 feet (or 20 to 25 steps). Switch hands and return to the starting position. Use 60 seconds of rest in between each working set. If you can walk down and back with good form for all 4 sets, then increase the load.

4-week progression for the rotational cable chop (half kneeling):

Start with 10 to 12 reps per side for each working set, resting 60 seconds in between. If you can perform 12 reps per side for all 3 sets, increase the load.