Elite Core Exercises with Coach Bryan Doo

How to have a strong core without doing crunches

Core strength is the foundation of athletic movement and power. On the field and the court, you’re only as strong as your core is so it’s time to ditch the crunches and workout like a pro. We asked Pro Strength and Conditioning Coach Bryan Doo for some of his favorite go-to core exercises prescribed to his professional athletes. As an expert in sports and athletic development, injury prevention and team training, it’s no question that Bryan knows the best way to a strong core. Here’s what he recommends you add into your workout routine to build strength to become a better athlete.

Counter Rotation Band pulls

Get in an athletic stance, square up and have a slight bend in your knees. Your back should be up straight. Put your arms out in front of you holding a resistance band with both hands. Have a partner hold the other end of the resistance band with tension off to your left side. Rotate your shoulders to the right without shifting the rest of your body – everything should remain in position except for your shoulders while rotating. Start slow and then pick up the speed. Switch sides.

Kettlebell Rotational Stability

Get into the same athletic stance used above and hold a kettlebell in front of you at about hip-width. Hold the kettlebell at the handle with the bottom facing away from you. Rotate from left to right using the same movement you did for the first exercise – let your core drive and don’t let your legs swing with the motion. Go side to side, shoulder to shoulder. Remember to keep your back straight and up tall.

Rotational med ball throw

This exercise requires you to be in the same stance. This time you’ll do a rotation but add in a throw. In your athletic stance, knees slightly bent and back up straight, root into the ground with weight on the inside balls of your feet. Start by throwing the ball left. Rotate to your right and then forcefully come through the rotation left and release the ball. Start by keeping your feet facing forward and don’t rise up as you rotate and throw.

The second part to this is adding the full rotation and stepping into it. Do the same thing, but step into it with your left foot as you rotate and throw left. Remember not to lift and stand up as you go through the rotation.

Stability ball walkout

Lay with your stomach on a stability ball – tuck your belly button in. Walk your arms forward all the way out until your feet are on the ball. You’re basically walking out until you are in a full plank – the farther out you are the harder it will be. Remember to engage your core and walk back in. Walk out and back in a few times.

To make this harder, walk all the way out and lift your feet so that your toes are holding you up on the ball. Try taking one foot off the ball and bringing it out to your side then back onto the ball while keeping your body stable and in control. Remember to keep strong plank position through this while switching right and left foot off the ball.

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