Core Building Exercises for Professional Athletes

All athletes need different skills and strengths; however, a strong core is required by most professional athletes. From football players to tennis stars, the core plays an important role in providing stability, strength, flexibility, and…well, as the name suggests, a strong core. It’s the foundation upon which the rest is built. But how do you boost your core? Here are some of the best exercises! 

Plank to Push Up

Firstly, this will hurt – there’s no getting around it. But it’s also an incredible exercise for the core. Starting in a plank position, you’ll bring your left hand up into a push-up position and then the right hand. Once in the push-up position, reverse the process and come back down to the plank on your forearms. As you do this one arm at a time, you’ll start to feel the burn in your core. 

Bicycle Crunches

Ok, you’ve rumbled this guide, they’re all going to hurt, and nobody stresses this harder than Breathe Education USA! With this one, you start by lying on your back and getting into a crunch position. Put your hands behind your head and lift your head towards your chest. From here, allow the legs to hover above the ground and slowly bring one knee to the chest. As you do this, rotate the upper body, and allow your opposite elbow to contact the knee; for instance, right elbow to left knee. 


Then, switch and bring the right knee up to meet the left elbow. While one leg moves back down, the other comes up and you’ll perform a cycling motion. 

Exercise Ball V-Up

If you’ve not done the traditional V-up movement, start by lying on your back and stretching your arms out above your head. You should form one straight line between your toes and hands. When here, lift your legs and upper body to form a V – your hands should reach forward and touch your toes. Go back down to your resting position. 


With the exercise ball V-up, you’re going to mimic this movement but transfer an exercise ball between your hands and feet with each rep. This adds a new dimension, and you’ll feel the burn both as you lean forward and go back to your resting position. 

Russian Twists

Next, Russian twists are a simple exercise that will get you sweating even without weights. Sit down and bring your knees up to your chest (with your feet hovering above the ground). Link your hands together and twist the upper body getting your hands close to the floor on the left and then the right side. 


To make this exercise harder (you can do it!), unlink your hands and use a dumbbell or weight plate instead. Twist the upper body and move the weight from your left-hand side to your right, and then back again. 

Ab Rolling

If you were hoping to avoid this one, you’re not in luck. Ab rollers might cause the biggest burning sensation of all exercises, but you’ll reap the rewards in no time. When ab rolling, you’ll start on your knees with either an ab roller or a barbell in front of you. With your feet off the floor, your knees create a hinge on which you can pivot. Place both hands on the ab roller or barbell and roll forward until your upper body is almost parallel to the floor. After a moment, pull yourself back to the starting position. Don’t overstretch because this is where injuries occur. 


Other exercises to explore for the core include: 

  • Crunchy Frogs 
  • Sprinter Sit-Ups 
  • Alternating Shoulder Tap Plank
  • Hip Raises 
  • Plank Step-Ups
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