4 Ways to Sneak in Core Exercise

by | January 31, 2018 | Fitness, Health

Last week, we discussed 4 mistakes people make when trying to tighten up their prime rib.

Feel free to head over and read that article here.

But, this week we want to do something for you super-busy folks.

The warriors that chase around kids,

Make suppers,

Walk dogs,

Clean houses,

And basically run their households.

We get that you just don’t have an hour every day to hit the gym,

But that you also still want to

tone your legs,

tone your arms,

tighten up your core,

be able to play and move with your kids,

and lose some fat.

So what do you do?

Well, let’s just start by saying that it absolutely can be done.

It just requires some strategy on your part.

Maximum efficiency is the name of the game here, folks.

You want to use moves that get you stronger,

boost your metabolism,

tone up your body,

and of course, tighten up your core.

Here are 4 ways to sneak core training into your workout routine.

1. Use compound lifts

Compound lifts are amazing!

We love them and use them in every single workout.

These include things like squats, deadlifts, push-ups, rows, split squats, kettlebell swings, etc.

The awesomeness of these moves lies in their ability to jack up your metabolism,

make you stronger,

more functional in real life,

more flexible,

And their ability to work your core muscles.

People don’t often think of these movements as core muscle training,


do they ever fire up that core!

Sometimes even more so than traditional exercises like crunches and sit-ups.

Large movements like these put load on the spine, which sounds terrifying but hear me out.

In the last article on core training, we talked about how the true role of the core is to prevent unnecessary movement at the spine.

And spine-loading isn’t bad when it’s appropriate and controlled by the core muscles.

Are you starting to put the pieces together here?

That’s right.

Since these compound moves load the spine, we concurrently need to use the core to prevent unnecessary movement at the spine.

Thus, working the core when doing compound moves.

Here are some examples:




Suspension trainer rows

2. Do stuff on one side of your body

Again, the true role of the core is to prevent unnecessary movement at the spine.

These movements come in the form of:

unnecessary arching of the spine,

unnecessary rounding of the spine,

unnecessary side-bending of the spine,

and unnecessary twisting of the spine.

When you do exercises on one side of your body, your body wants to either bend or twist.

In the case of suitcase carries, we need to prevent the spine from bending:

In the case of dumbbell 1-arm presses, we need to prevent twisting…and not falling of the friggin’ bench!

3. Carry stuff

Carries are so awesome!

We carry in almost every program.

Not only do they work on grip strength (so you can open up that pickle jar),

And not only do they work on posture (so your back and shoulders don’t get jacked up),

They do an excellent job activating the core.

Again, with the sneakiness!

Here are a couple carries you can try:

Farmer’s carry

Bent-elbow carry

4. Do stuff overhead

Take note of what happens the next time you reach for that glass baking dish in the top cupboard.

Do you arch your back to get your arms up?

One more time…the true role of the core is to prevent unwanted movement at the spine.

And that includes arching your back when reaching overhead.

This may result from either:

1. Your shoulders not being flexible enough to get your arms overhead or

2. Your core lacking the stiffness to hold your body in that position

If your deal is #1 above, we recommend doing the bent-elbow, bottoms-up carry.

If your deal is #2 above, then guuurl, do we have some moves for you!

Half-kneeling 1-arm dumbbell overhead press

Waiter’s carry

DB pull-over

Just be aware of how your shoulders feel with these moves.

If something feels sketchy, it probably is sketchy.

So hold off on these for now and focus on the first 3 ways to sneak in core exercise.

Also, it would be wise to hit up a local physiotherapist to clear up that sketchiness in the shoulder.

Here are some great choices:

Complete Physiotherapy

Owen at Quarry Physiotherapy

Sport MB

Caleb at Ness Physiotherapy


You’re busy.

We get it.

And although you would love to be able to set aside 1-2 hours every day to exercise,

You just don’t have that kind of time right now.

But don’t pack up your shit and leave just yet,

because losing some fat,

getting stronger,

and tightening up your core

can be done in less time.

No doubt about it!

You just need to be a master of efficiency,

A bang-for-your-bucker,

And a sneaky core exercise ninja.

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