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Best Core Exercises That Aren’t Planks!

sandbag exercise equipment

Annmarie Licatese, DVRT Master (Creator DVRT Run Strong & DVRT Busy Parents Programs)

When done reading this amazing article on core exercises check out Annmarie’s GREAT interview HERE

sandbag exercsises

Everything starts in the core.  Having core strength affects the way we sit, the way we stand, the way we squat and you guessed it, the way we run.

When most people think about working their core, they often think of exercises that require laying down or being on the floor performing hundreds of reps of core exercises. For runners, planks probably come to mind as one of the “best” ways to really tighten and tone your core.

While there is nothing wrong with the standard plank per se,  and can be incredibly beneficial when incorporated correctly, there are more functional ways to work your core that activate your glutes, lats and core simaltaneously meaning you get more of a bang for your buck. It is seen as typically the “king” of core exercises.

Let’s back up for a minute. To dismiss planks is not really fair.  In fact, the plank really is the foundation of these exercises I am about the mention but they are building off of it, progressing it by changing the position of your body.  The issue arises when of all the core exercises that you can build off of the plank, people go for the dull drum longer and longer plank.

We do want to take your core exercises off of the ground, we don’t live there and neither should our training. Taking your core exercises up off the floor to half kneeling, tall kneeling and standing positions can offer a world of benefits that you may not even be aware of.

Let’s dive in….or perhaps crawling would be a better start ?


sandbag exercises

Bear Crawl Drags

Why it’s beneficial: Bear crawl drags help to work core and hip flexibility/mobility, improves conditioning and helps strengthen locomotive skills….like running:) This is not only a series of incredible core exercises, but also will do so much for your shoulders and endurance!


Keys to performing:  In order to successfully perform bear crawl drags with the Ultimate Sandbag, place the bag behind you and get on all fours making sure that your hips are over your knees, your shoulders are over your hands and you’re “corkscrewing” your arms into the floor.  Drag the bag forward, DO NOT lift or throw the bag.  Also be sure not to lift or elevate your hips.

Carries with the Ultimate Sandbag

Why it’s beneficial: Loaded carries are an awesome functional exercise that not only help to develop strength but also improve conditioning and core strength which we all know is KEY to stronger running.  By performing the loaded carry in an offset nature (meaning that you carry two Ultimate Sandbags of different weights) you work to keep your torso in an upright position even as you begin to feel tired and fatigued. We all know how common fatigue is especially in the last few miles of a long run or race and keeping your upper body upright is key to finishing strong!

Keys to performing: Whether you’re doing offset loaded carries (shown above), front loaded carries or shoulder carries, the key is to not sway your hips laterally and keep your torso vertical.

The goal with core exercises is not only to build a stronger abdominal area, but to help integrate the body better. That is why core exercises like the plank are a great place to start so much of our training, but we need to progress our core exercises just like any other part of our training to get more out of the great benefits functional fitness has to offer!

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