Cultivating a productive core program is not just about static exercises, we are well trained in single movements, repeated slowly and under control. But the balance and core strength that is needed for sports such as football, boxing, climbing, etc. will not be developed by endless crunches alone.

Some of the best core training exercises are not necessarily recognizable as core movements. This is partly due to the obsession we have with the six-pack, and our misunderstanding of the core, but also because these exercises are often used to train different muscle groups. Squats, kettlebell swings, and the clean and jerk all require a huge amount of core strength. Adding any or all of these exercises into your training program will produce great results.


Related: Climbing Training: Core Stability & Strength, Part 1 


These big powerful exercises bolster the core helping to maintain correct spinal alignment during movement whilst controlling the center of gravity. Although completely different in appearance, multiple movement exercises, like the clean and jerk, which work in all planes while utilizing the deep local muscles, demand the same core strength a climber needs to perform a dyno or battle an overhang. The best core exercises for us climbers is not always the obvious!

Repetition of my first exercise will engage the core, stabilizing the spine and controlling the center of gravity. It may look easy, but achieving perfect form every time is not a walk in the park.

Exercise one

1. Stand on your right leg, engage the core.

core exercise

2. Hop forward 3 or 4 feet, landing on your left foot.

3. As you land, bend forward and touch the floor by your left foot with your right hand.

core exercise

Related: Climbing Training: Core Stability & Strength, Part 3


4. Hold the position for a moment, then spring backwards, landing in the starting position on your right foot.

5. Repeat.

This simple exercise is highly demanding on your core. Achieving perfect form without a wobble is very difficult. Try it out before you train, then try it again after, when your core is buzzing and notice the difference.

The beauty of this movement is how easy it can be progressed, adding a weight vest, kicking the landing leg out before you make the hop, or holding something in one hand to challenge the balance—the list goes on and on.


Exercise two

Exercise two is one of my favorites. It is multi-muscle working, and targets stability, strength, mobility, while also requiring a strong center of gravity.

1. Hold a medicine ball, kettlebell, or weight in both hands. Then, standing with your feet shoulder width apart, and engage your core.

2. Raise the weight in a controlled motion up to your left. In a circular movement bring the weight over your head to the right, and then pulling with the core bring it down diagonally to the left foot, squatting at the same time.

3. Push back up to the right, circle over to the left, then down to the right foot and so on.

Confused? Thank God for this video …