Killer Core Calisthenics Training

man doing sit-ups on a balcony

If you are in the habit of engaging in regular callisthenic-style physical training, you are likely already working your core to some degree. Even something as simple as the humble push-up or plank has some killer core training potential.

Certainly the integral stabilizing and centralized strength that comes from including specific core exercises is a key component of any physical training program. This is true whether it is done intentionally or as a by-product of exercises that place demands on core strength.

Core work is most useful and necessary because it strengthens the body’s integrity and supports good posture and the correct execution of form in any lifting, pushing, pulling, or stabilizing movement. This includes the majority of movements involved in the strength and mobility training of callisthenic exercises, and is also of significant benefit protection-wise against potential injuries—many of which have roots that can be traced back to a weak core.

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So it pays to put some energy into focusing on core exercises that can be implemented into existing routines or done separately. They also work well with warm-ups and cool-downs at various speeds, as the best ones also tend to be mobility-focused.

Where Do I Start if I’ve Never Considered Core-Work Before?

In many ways doing ‘core work’ has become a buzzword similar to doing ‘cardio’—most people don’t really know what it is but think they should be doing it. They most likely think it has to be done in a certain way, for a set amount of reps and time, on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings to be effective in conjunction with 1400 calories on a Keto diet blah blah blah etc etc.

And this may work for some people but it is really missing the ‘core’ principle. If we could put this into some kind of right context, it might be worth mentioning that some of the strongest guys in the past were farmers. These were hard-working dudes who carried things around a lot, and also had ‘strong backs’—solid cores.

Maybe there are no six-pack abs going on, but a solid core would allow them to lift and carry heavy loads frequently. Hence the popularity and effectiveness of the farmer’s walk that features in many gym workouts today. Not a sit-up in sight.

So What Are the Best Core Exercises?

The majority of seasoned callisthenic devotees know that most decent bodyweight exercises—especially those that bring the stabilizing muscles of the trunk into play—are all major core exercises. This includes squats, push-ups, burpees, and pull-ups—all the good stuff, and you can also consider the variations on them to make them even more core-focused.

When you put your mind to it you can find more than a few interesting angles and variations on some of the tried & tested core staples like planks, push-ups, and burpees. For instance, as in the video below, you can take a full-body exercise like the burpee and make it even more geared towards the core.

But the best exercises for providing a spot of killer core callisthenic training are the ones that force the stabilizing trunk muscles into play. This is especially true of the ones that bring large groups of muscles into play in tandem which requires balance, strength, and mobility simultaneously.

Try this 5-minute plank workout challenge to see where you are currently core-wise.

If it seems tough then you’ll need to build up gradually. You can work core exercises either in sets and reps or for set work/rest periods like 30 seconds/15 seconds, 45 seconds/15 seconds, or 30 seconds and 5 seconds.

Make adjustments to fit your current level, and you’ll soon find that 30 seconds is a killer for continuous work on some of these exercises.

Try some/all of the following killer core calisthenics exercises with a view to incorporating them into a current routine or building a separate core routine altogether:

 Some Killer core callisthenic training can be completed in 5 minutes or so if you want to do it separately from your usual routine. You could easily incorporate this important aspect of your physical training into micro-workouts that prove just as valuable or save it for the end of your regular session.

A Sample Killer Core Callisthenics Routine A:

Take 5 or 6 exercises from the list above and do 10 reps of each one, working continuously without stopping, until you have completed 10 reps of each. This is one round, which should be repeated 1-4 more times with a rest of 1-3 minutes between sets.

  • Inchworms
  • Crab Toe Grabs
  • Bear Crawls
  • Crab Walk
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Butt-Ups

 Sample Killer Core Callisthenics Routine B

Alternatively, you could try 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest for the following for 1-5 rounds according to your current level and goals

  • Inchworms
  • Bear Crawls
  • Crab Walk
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Plank with Arm and Leg Lift
  • Burpees
  • Crab Toe Grabs
  • Plank Get-Ups

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, core training is an invaluable part of any physical training routine. It will help you look and feel better and make you stronger and more mobile overall—helping you perform other exercises more efficiently and providing protection against potential injuries.

Anyone who is into calisthenics can utilize core-training principles almost constantly to help with the whole-body training approach that leads to strength and mobility for life. So if you haven’t already, include some killer core callisthenics into your routine!


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