There are better ways than that, though. Some of those methods require you to simply change your posture when doing other exercises . Others, like planks, require you to brace your core against all motion. (And remember: We can teach you to do a perfect plank here .) And then there's the newest way, the WeckMethod way, which just may have you looking like a gladiator about to crash into a wall.
Get ready to learn about Coiling Core, the series of athletic moves from the WeckMethod Performance Training Center in San Diego, a gym cofounded by David Weck, the man who created the Bosu balance ball. Coiling Core is an approach that WEck has honed for the past half-decade, and if you unlock its secrets-as many MLB stars, hockey players, and UFC fighters have-youll find rotational power and ab strength.
What is Coiling Core?
Think of it as core training for people who dont love training their core. It got its start at WeckMethod, the 8,000-square-foot gym that Weck and Marty Shannon opened in 2015. The gyms goal was, in Wecks words, the quest for better movement. And when youre in that long enough, you make pivotal discoveries.
One of the first was Coiling Core, which Weck and his team observed in sprinters. Coiling Core is basically the distillation of rotational balance and power, he says. The highest expression of that is sprinting.
Sprinters use their entire bodies to explode forward, but watch them closely. They dont simply run straight ahead. Their heads bob back and forth slightly. Why? Because theyre creating forward energy with rotation, says Weck.
Among the key movers in that subtle rotation are your lats, the fan-shaped muscles in your back. And heres where the six-pack part comes in: Your lats are part of your core, even though most ab workouts ignore them. Theyre the biggest, strongest core muscles, says Weck. They bridge the hips to the shoulders.
Why Lats Matter To Your Abs
You can use your lats to create explosive contractions of your abdominals, which is what you do during one of the toughest feats of Coiling Core, the Hockey-Player Skater exercise (also know as the HPS).
At first glance, the HPS looks like a gladiator moment, Maximus about to crash through a wall. The athlete is off-balance on one foot, club back, momentum ready to fly the other way. It must be the middle of a brawl-not the middle of an ab session.
But watch closely what's happening. First, your core has to fire powerfully to rotate your torso all the way to one side, and your lats finish off that rotation, pulling your torso further. Then your legs wind up turned one way and your torso the other, creating a coil. A powerful core contraction springs you the other way.
You cant get these contractions by doing situps. Its hard to involve your lats when lying down, says Shannon. Coiling Core moves require you to stand. They also involve a light tool, such as a club or a medicine ball, which you swing to produce momentum. Creating rotation with a lighter weight has effective carryover to sports, says trainer Andy Speer, C.S.C.S. That will help you in your favorite weekend sports, like softball and even Frisbee.
Expect your first HPS to feel unnatural. You start by taking large lateral hops forward. Every time you land on your right leg, you swing the club (or med ball) to the right. As soon as you complete that swing, you hop to the left, following with a swing to the left. Three sets of eight such leaps will leave your core on fire. Take your time, says Shannon, with all Coiling Core moves. Think of each step as one rep, then contract, he says. Then do the next rep. Be intentional.
Your WeckMethod Ab Moves
Add one or two of these Coiling Core moves to your workout twice a week to supercharge your abs and improve performance in other exercises, too. Whatever moves you choose, take your time. After each rep, try to dig your left elbow into your right hip and vice versa. (This aggressive contraction creates the coil.) Then do the next rep. Add speed to the moves only once youve learned to properly coil.
Hold a light club, a medicine ball, or a 5-pound dumbbell with both hands and assume an athletic stance. Hold it out in front of you, then rotate your entire torso down and to the left, swinging the implement that way and bending your left knee slightly. Twist your right elbow toward your left hip as you lower. Pause, then swing the weight upward, as if swinging a golf club, rising onto your left foot as you do. Thats 1 rep; do 3 sets of 6 to 8 per side.
Landmine Coiling Press
Stand tall while holding a medicine ball or 2 clubs in front of your chest with both hands. Bend your right knee slightly, then step your left foot back so youre on your toes, with most of your weight on the front leg. Pull the medicine ball or clubs back and down toward your right hip, trying to touch it with your left elbow. Swing the weight upward and toward your left side. As you do this, jump and switch your feet, landing with your left leg in front. Thats 1 rep; do 3 sets of 8 to 10.