Great core strengthening exercises with a taekwondo twist!
On this page.
We explain why good core strength is important for you.
Important in your daily life. And for your taekwondo training.
And we show you some great core strengthening exercises.
You'll have a core of steel in no time!
What are your core muscles and why strengthen them?
Your core muscles hold you up straight. And keep everything in place.
So for example. Core muscles wrap around and run up and down your belly. Holding your organs inside.
Core muscles run up and down and around your back. And so keep your spine and neck in the right position.
And core muscles run around and through your pelvis. Supporting your pelvic floor.
If your core muscles are weak. Then you often sit and stand badly. With hunched shoulders and a saggy belly. And over many years this can lead to back pain. And spinal disc problems.
Weak core muscles make people more prone to hernias. And a weak pelvic floor makes women more prone to incontinence.
A strong core leads to good posture. And can prevent back problems.
In taekwondo strong core muscles help you to control your kicks. And the combination of core strength and flexibility allows you to kick high. While keeping your body upright. (And that's what we are all aiming for!)
Front kick core strengthening exercise
The first three of our core strengthening exercises are based on taekwondo kicks.
We find that by doing taekwondo kicks slowly. We increase our core strength. And at the same time we can practise our kicking technique. So our kicks get better too!
For the first of our core strengthening exercises Leah demonstrates a slow front kick.
This exercise strengthens the core muscles of your lower abdomen and pelvis.
It also works your legs.
Leah is able to do this technique without holding onto a wall.
But at first you might want to stand sideways against a wall so you can support yourself with one hand.
Firstly check your posture is good.
That you are standing up straight.
And your abs are pulled in.
Raise the knee.
And extend out into front kick position.
Try to keep your back as upright as possible.
Take 8 slow counts to reach full extension of your leg.
Then bend your leg back slowly the same way.
Keep your knee high.
Then gently place your foot to the floor.
Again this should take around 8 slow counts.
Try to repeat the exercise 10 times.
At first you might find your legs are shaking like mad after one or two goes.
Just take a rest and let the shaking stop.
Then try to do one more.
It does get easier!
In time you should find you can hold the extended position for a few seconds.
Back kick core strengthening exercise
The next of our core strengthening exercises is based on a back kick.
But unlike in a true back kick...
...keep your leg extended throughout.
This exercise gives a great workout of all the muscles running down your back.
And through your gluteals.
Great if you have a saggy butt!
Lean on a wall for support.
Then lift your leg straight up behind you.
And hold it still for a second at the top.
Before slowly bringing it back down.
Once again try do the exercise slowly.
8 slow counts on the way up.
And 8 on the way back down.
Then do your other leg.
Taekwondo side kick core strengthening exercise
We think this is the best of our core strengthening exercises.
Do this right and you will engage pretty much every core muscle there is!
So if you only have time for one of our core strengthening exercises.
This is probably the one to do!
Again hold a wall for support.
Then lift the knee.
Then you need to do two things at once.
Turn your top hip so the our foot comes almost level with the knee.
And at the same time turn the standing foot so your toes face the wall.
Turning your standing foot allows the hip joint to open up.
Then slowly extend your leg away from you.
Do the exercise slowly.
8 slow counts on the way out.
8 on the way back.
We aim to do 10 on each leg.
It's important to keep your body in line as you move your leg out.
Shoulder in line with hip. In line with knee. In line with foot.
You can check in a mirror to make sure. Or ask a friend to watch you.
At first we suggest you don't aim to get your leg too high. It's more important to get the technique and the alignment right.
As you get used to this exercise. You can concentrate on lifting your body up as high as possible. And extending your leg as far away from you as possible.
Core strength exercise - 'the plank'
The plank (also known as the bridge) is one of the more traditional core strengthening exercises!
It's very effective.
Note that only Neil's forearms and toes are on the floor.
And his body is flat.
He is using his core muscles to support his body weight.
We suggest at first you try to hold this position for about 30 seconds.
In time you can build up to a minute or two.
Criss cross sit-ups
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your spine in a neutral position.
Then keeping your hands by your ears.
And your core muscles tight.
Bring your right elbow to touch your left knee.
Then go back down.
And do the other side. Bringing your left elbow and right knee together.
Because you twist your body in this exercise.
It strengthens the muscles running around your abdomen.
(Not just the ones going up and down).
We try to do 2 sets of 20.
But they are tough so you may need to build up slowly.
Reverse curls are great for your lower abdominal muscles
Reverse curls are especially good for your lower abdominal muscles.
Lie on your back with your spine in a neutral position.
And your legs in the air with the knees bent at 90 degrees.
Then use your lower abdominal muscles to lift your bottom off the floor.
Curling your lower spine.
Then slowly curl your spine down again.
It's important to realize that this is not a leg swing.
The curl is driven from your abdominal muscles.
You don't need much movement for this exercise to be very effective.
We hope you find these core strengthening exercises useful!
They're not easy.
But then when is taekwondo ever easy?