If there’s one thing that I’ve really missed over the past one and half years of covid-19 and lockdowns and restrictions, it’s the mountains. I live in Delhi, and one of the reasons that I came to work here over 15 years ago was because it is so close to the Himalaya. One overnight bus ride and you’re in the mountains. In fact, before covid, I would sneak out of the city in the weekends for a quick mountain detox, before getting back to the grind.
So you can imagine my frustration. Anyway, I’ve decided that I’m going to go for a trek before the year is out, even if it’s a small 3-4 day trek. It’s just the perfect pick-me-up for me and I don’t want to deprive myself any further. Especially now that I’m fully vaccinated and given how paranoid I am about maintaining restrictions.
Which me to these core workouts. As I’ve written before, for me, the two biggest fitness attributes that every hiker should possess are stamina and a strong core. Of course, strong legs are important, but that goes without saying. But unless your lungs are in good shape and your core is strong, you won’t enjoy yourself in the mountains.
Now, I’ve never been hungup on six-packs. As countless articles in Lounge Fitness have stated before, any definition of the core muscles is just a bonus. Well-defined abs do not necessarily make for a strong core. And you need strength there, because it anchors the trunk of your body, helps you maintain balance (even with a 10kg rucksack on your back) and ensures that all the other mechanics of your body is performing as intended.
So here are three great core workouts that I’ve incorporated into my routine a long time ago. They’re great, and if done with the proper form and consistency, these exercises will ensure that you have cores of steel. Maybe you’ll get a six-pack too!
20 minute abs workout: Chris Heria of THENX is an interesting athlete and fitness coach to follow, simply because he mixes a lot of traditional free-weight strength training with body-weight calisthenic-based workouts. In this one, a tough 20-minute follow-along, he goes through a series of core stabilisation and strengthening routines that will leave you exhausted. It’s a great example of how your workout can be as short as 20 minutes long and be way more effective than a long one with lots of rest breaks.
Work on your obliques: Of all the core muscles, the angled obliques running down on the two sides of your mid-section, are the worst understood by fitness enthusiasts. And that’s pretty much got to do with how important they are, not just to your performance, but also to the way your abs look. Both the external and internal obliques are key muscles that determine how flexible your body is and how mobile you can be. These three exercises, as explained by fitness YouTuber Jeremy Ethier, are a great set to develop strong obliques.
8 minute home ab workout: One of the key things that I’ve learnt about training my abs is that it’s not necessary to devote an entire day’s training to ab-work. You can often just add on a short, daily abs workout to the nd of your day’s main workout, before you cool down. These exercises, as shown by ATHLEAN-X’s Jeff Cavaliere, are highly effective, purely because they are short and intense. All you need is a pair of dumbbells for these.