Begin your workout with a core circuit

Today after I practiced my mad jump rope skills I began my workout with a core circuit.

Because core strength is so important, I place it at the front of the workout.  I like the added benefit of being able to “feel” what my core is doing when I do a sprint workout following a core circuit.

To create a core circuit  I choose 3-5 exercises trying to work in different planes of motion.  I choose at least one isometric exercises and  one rotational exercise.  I go through three circuits with no rest and I do core circuits 3-4 days per week.

Today’s circuit was:

  1. stir the pot-these are hard.  I can do only 6-8 each direction.
  2. stability ball Russian twist– 12 reps each side.  I am honestly still trying to figure this one out.  I have held 5-25 lbs while doing this exercise.  Sometimes it feels like it’s doing what it should, and sometimes it doesn’t.  I still do it occasionally anyway.  I have found in my experience that some core exercises will feel useless for awhile until they suddenly “click” when your body figures out what they’re for.  Not my first choice, but maybe you’ll understand it better than I do.
  3. oblique bridge leg raise – 10 reps each side
  4. V-ups -12 reps

Your circuit:

Keep in mind that I have been doing core circuits for quite some time.  Today’s circuit may not be a good one to start with since I’ve picked some more advanced exercises.  If you are just beginning, pick three ab exercises you know and do your circuits three times a week on non-consecutive days.

You can find out how to do a million and one (or just 61) core exercise on the internet.  Incorporate new exercises, as you progress.

Learn some exercises that focus on stability.  Learn exercises in different planes of motion.  Learn exercises with a rotational component.

What’s your favorite core exercise?

Related Posts:

Sample Core Circtuit 2

Sample Core Circuit 3

Circuit training with Brian



10 comments to Begin your workout with a core circuit

  • I like the commitment to core work – putting it first is a strong affirmation of its importance to you.

    That said, I find myself balking at the prospect of overtaxing my core before doing any other work, especially if that other work is high-load lifting. I can see pre-sprint work, but frankly I see doing core activation as more of a benefit pre-workout than taking it to the point of a full workout.

    Do you feel like you’re losing something for the early core work? How hard are you pushing these circuits, how long of a break before you start your workout proper?

    • PS – love the blog; always good to see somebody applying some science to ultimate training!

    • In my personal experience, I’ve done full core workouts before heavy squats (3-5 RM) with no ill effects. The core muscles recover pretty quickly. I’ll take the time to get some water, do a warm up set of squats, and I’m good to go. Perhaps this is because my core work emphasizes stamina versus strength. All of my core work is done using body weight only while exploring different movement patterns or stability challenges. I’m not loading incline situps or anything like that.

      Thanks for the compliments! I’ll be looking forward to more comments and questions from you!

      • Yeah, now that I think about it I never had any issues doing a few cycles of the Crossfit warm-up before heavy lifts, which includes core work.

        It really does come down to one’s priorities I suppose – right now I’m all about hitting the big lifts and hitting them hard, and I couldn’t imagine using any energy beyond mobility work before getting under/over the bar…that’ll probably change once I shift gears and start focusing, say, on developing more of the athletic qualities.

  • Thanks for the link to my V-up exercise demonstration. I appreciate it! Keep up the great articles!

  • Tim

    i just got diagnosed with a fractured foot. I was on my way to being in great shape for this coming club season, but now I must change my routine. Do you have any suggestions of things to do especially cardio type things.
    Sorry I know this doesn’t really follow the post just didn’t know wehre else to put it.

    • I’m really sorry to hear about your foot. It’s tough to stay fit when you can’t use your feet. You could use this time to do some extra strength training. Or with weighted circuit training you can maintain some of your cardiovascular capacity. With the sample circuits in this blog you should be able to put together a good upper body workout at least. Circuit training won’t make you larger so you don’t have to worry about that.

      • Tim

        I have been doing push up, sit up, pull up circuit work. It’s better than not being able to do anything I guess. Thanks for your help.

        • You could also use this time to really focus on your core strength. Especially if it’s not something you’ve spent a lot of effort on before, it will be time well spent. Check out the “Core Strength” category of the blog for some ideas. Good luck. Being injured sucks. 🙁

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