When people think of core training, they often make two mistakes. First, they think “crunches” or “sit-ups” right out of the gate. The second mistake comes in thinking the abdominals alone comprise the core, without including the obliques, deep transverse abdominis, or the lower and mid-back. Now that we’ve exposed those two errors, it’s time to list superior training methods that will properly strengthen your core which, by the way, makes you stronger on everything else you do while also fortifying you against injury.
1. Squat Press
This move works your entire lower body as well as your shoulders, traps, chest and upper back. Stand facing the landmine with your feet hip-width apart, toes turned out slightly, and grip the end of the bar with both hands at chest level. Kick your hips back and bend your knees to descend into a deep squat, breaking parallel if you can. Explode out of the hole and return to standing, following through with your arms to press the end of the barbell up and away from you to full arm extension.
2. Core Twist
This exercise requires you to move rotationally and coordinate your obliques, back, shoulders, hips and glutes. Stand facing the landmine with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and abs tight. Hold the end of the barbell with both hands at one hip and pivot toward that side with feet and hips, dropping into a partial lunge. Raise the bar in a big arc in front of your head, simultaneously extending your legs and turning your hips to face front, then pivoting to the other side as the bar comes to your opposite hip. Alternate sides in a controlled fashion for reps.
3. Fat-Bar Bent-Over Row
Isolate your back while challenging your grip with this variation on a traditional row. Stand next to the barbell with your back to the landmine and take a wide split stance with your outside foot forward. Reach down with your inside hand and grip the bar on the fat end (where the plates go). Keeping a flat back, perform one-arm rows by driving your elbow toward the ceiling and pulling the bar toward your rib cage. Do all reps on one side before switching.
4. Pivot Press
This move works rotationally as well as functionally, incorporating most of the major muscles in your body. Stand at the end of the barbell, sideways to the landmine, with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Grasp the end of the bar in your outside hand at chest level, elbow down. Bend your knees a little to load up, then quickly pivot toward the landmine, simultaneously extending your arm and pressing the bar up and away from you. Do all reps on one side before switching.
5. Standing One-Arm Chest Press
Work your chest unilaterally while challenging your stability with this twist on a traditional press. Stand 3 to 4 feet away from the landmine so the bar is more vertical and grip it with one hand at your shoulder, elbow down. Extend your other arm out to the side for balance. Extend your arm and press the bar away from you, then lower slowly back to the start. Do all reps on one side before switching.