Surf Ski Supremacy – Come Fly With Me
A washboard stomach you can smash a brick on. Perfect posture. A lower back that doesn’t do ‘that thing’ every time you sleep on it weirdly. These are all physical attributes a man might aspire to possess at various points in his life, and they all come back to one area of the body: the core.
Though not as glamorous as blitzing your guns or bombing your chest (why does exercise use such war-based imagery?), working on your core is absolutely fundamental. We at Esquire have been training through the summer with personal trainer and fitness guru Pete Fraser (www.petefraser.com).
“The core is what stabilizes your entire upper body, and, and actually keeping you going – it’s no use having a six pack if there’s nothing behind it. That’s where the core comes in.”
The secret to engaging your core is in the breathing. Again, Pete explains:
“Always breathe out through your mouth. As you exhale, it should feel as though your navel is pulling inwards – as though it were trying to touch your spine. Focus on the tension and strength in your core as you breathe out; you’ll find you can add real bursts of power to your workouts.”
Are you doing it right? How to implement core strength techniques into your favourite exercises:
Bench Press - When you lift the barbell, your lower back should remain stuck flat to the bench. Use your core to ensure that you don’t arch your back as you press the bar upwards.
Plank – An agonising but deeply effective abdominal exercise (that has the added bonus of allowing you to pretend you’re a sniper, should you be so inclined), when you perform the plank you should use your core to keep your back straight. There should be no sagging in your lower back, and your shoulder blades should be relaxed.
Bicep curls –Pay close attention to your form, here. Your feet should be planted firmly on the floor, and there should be no movement whatsoever in your upper body, other than your arms. Engage your core to keep your shoulders pulled back, and to prevent yourself from swaying or shaking.