Two HIIT workout movements you didn’t realise helped build core strength

No matter what level of training you’re currently at your core plays a huge part in avoiding injury and also improving functional movement. Don’t worry, we’re not here to tell you that you have to do 100+ crunches or stay in a plank for five minutes - we’re here to make it easy peasy. Below, we layout two movements commonly performed in our HIIT classes which help to secretly work your core.

Press-up

The Press-up

Constantly thinking the Press-up is too hard or out of reach for you? Think again! The Press-up is one of the go to body weight exercises in most classes but it also is the easiest to get wrong if you have the wrong technique. Get it right and not only are you working those vital muscle groups in your upper body but it is essentially putting your body in plank mode for the longevity of the movement.

How to perform the press-up correctly

  • Start in a high plank position with hands directly under the shoulders, arms in a straight line, feet hip-width apart and neck neutral. Your core should be braced,(pull your belly button in) tailbone tucked under and shoulder blades engaged.(Squeeze your shoulder blades together and down)
  • Keeping the rest of the body in a straight line, bend your arms to lower your body towards the ground, leading with the top of the chest, ensuring the elbows don’t flair out. Keep your core tight but also breathing at the same time. 
  • Once at your limit, push through the hands again and back up to your starting position. 

Tip: If you’re struggling to do this movement on a flat ground surface use a raised surface like a bench under your hands to get better range of motion. Often people tend to look for the easy option of heading straight to their knees but by regressing the position to a bench you're engaging those key muscle groups to get stronger in the movement. 

The Kettlebell swing

Kettlebell swing

The core is so important when engaging in a kettlebell swing. Without a strong core during dynamic movements this places unwanted strain or stress on the upper and lower parts of the body. Performed correctly, the momentum and weight dynamically shifting in the Kettlebell swing can be just as effective if not more on the core as those 100 sit ups you’re doing each morning.

How to perform the kettlebell swing correctly

  • With feet shoulder-width apart, hold a kettlebell with arms extended towards the floor, shoulders back and chest up with your gaze forward. 
  • Hinge forward at the hips with knees soft and allow the kettlebell to swing backwards between your legs, keeping your neck neutral and shoulders back. Once you feel the momentum of the kettlebell begin to swing forwards again, squeeze your glutes and extend your hips forward in a thrust position to drive the kettlebell forward. Your upper body should not be doing any of the work here apart from stabilising the arms during the swing. The motion of the kettlebell should be driven by your glutes and your arms should be there as a way of holding the kettlebell.
  • Allow it to swing back down and repeat, driving it higher with each rep until you reach shoulder height. 

Tip: The movement of the kettlebell should all be coming from your core and lower body. Your upper body is simply there to hold the kettlebell in place and allow the swinging motion. Really focus on engaging the core to control the kettlebell on its way back down. Be careful not to go into squat during a kettlebell swing as often people naturally fall into this movement. 

As these movements are quite technical and we want to make sure you do them in a safe environment we strongly advise you speak with a trainer before performing these movements yourself. Want to get advice or try out these movements in a safe environment? Book into one of our HIIT classes below.