Having a strong core is vital for everyone whether you practise a sport or not. A strong core will allow you to stay healthy in everyday life and will prevent related injuries such as a sore back. Try some of these suspension trainer ab exercises to really see results.
The main muscles which make up a strong core are:
- The External Obliques: The muscles which run along the sides and front of your stomach.
- The Internal Obliques: These muscles sit behind your external obliques and run in the opposite direction.
- The Transverse Abdominis: These muscles are the deepest abdominal muscles which wrap around your spine to protect and stabilise it.
- The Rectus Abdominis: These muscles are the glamour muscles, located at the very front of your abdomen, it is these muscle which create the elusive six pack.
Core Suspension Training
In order to develop a strong core, you need to train your abdominals like you would any other muscle group, with a variety of exercises using multiple ranges of movement in multiple planes of motion, to maximise training results.
Suspension training can maximise your core strength because it puts your abs under constant tension. The premise of suspension training is that when you are suspended you are unstable and because of this every single exercise you perform on a TRX or suspension trainer fires up your abdominals as your core is forced to constantly work at keeping you stabilised and hold your body balanced using your own body weight as leverage. When we then start adding exercises designed to target your waist, not only will your abs be on fire, but you’ll fire up your results too!
With all these exercises, it is important to keep good form; squeeze your shoulder blades together to prevent arching your back and keep your core tensed to protect your spine. Suck your stomach into your spine and then imagine you're pulling it up towards your rib cage to engage your Transverse Abdominis.
Grab your handles and face away from the anchor. Begin with the straps by your sides and slowly with control, fall forward as you bring your arms straight up above your head to align with your ears in one swift movement. Keeping your arms straight return them back to the starting point. The further away your feet are from the anchor point, the easier the exercise is as you are using less of your body weight as resistance.
TRX Mountain Climbers
For this one you need to start in a plank position; hands underneath your shoulders with your feet in the trainer’s stirrups. Make sure you have shortened the length or the straps. Keeping your hands stable, crunch and bring each knee in towards the chest individually for a suspended mountain climber.
TRX Oblique Crunch
This one really works your obliques, to the sides of your core. Start in the same position as the previous exercise, but this time both legs move in unison. Crunch your knees in diagonally towards your elbow and then straighten up into your regular plank, now match up the other side.
TRX Pendulum Swings
Pendulum swings start in the plank position, with your shoulders over your hands. This exercise requires you to balance and hold your core steady under momentum. Swing your legs side to side to gather some momentum, then begin bending the knees to perform a crunch on either side of your swing. This really targets your core from every angle.
Pull and Twist
Grab both handles and stand so that you are facing the anchor point. The closer your feet are to the anchor, the harder this will be as you're using more of your bodyweight. Lean back with your arms extended in front of you, pull your body weight up maintaining a neutral spine and twist your arms to point to the left, return to the start and repeat for the other side.
Spiderman crunch to plank up downs
Head back to the ground and return to your plank position, this time you’re going to bring each knee up towards your elbow. You should look like spiderman climbing, hence the name. Complete one per side and then progress into your plank up down. From your hand plank, take each arm down to an elbow plank and then return to start. All of this counts as one complete rep.