A TRX and Kettlebell Workout for Building a Solid Core

Let’s get one thing straight. This post is not going to demonstrate how to target your lower or upper ab muscles, although these exercises will do that. It is not going to show you the secret to trimming off those love handles, but then again, this routine will do that as well.

If that beautiful torso of muscle known as the core, waist, trunk and midsection can’t be seen, that means it is hidden behind layers of fat. 

Depending on who you are this may be half an inch thick or 8 inches thick. Either way, you don’t get rid of it by only targeting the area needing improvement. Rather, it is accomplished by lowering the fat percentage throughout the body. Here’s what you need:

-A suspension trainer. Anything will do, including homemade substitutes or gymnastics rings. If you’ve looked around this site, you’ll see I prefer the TRX. It’s easier and more comfortable to use in my opinion.

-A kettlebell, dumbbell or medicine ball. Alternatively, you can use a heavy mortar bowl. This may be a cooking tool, but the granite and marble units can weigh in at ten pounds, perfect for our workout.

-A jumprope,  treadmill or stationary bike. A BMX or mountain bike would be just as effective if you can get moving on it outside withing 10-20 seconds.

Here’s the workout, and you will find exercise videos and descriptions under “TRX Core Strengthening videos.


Joint rotations-Start with the neck, work your way down to the shoulders, rotate the arms, then rotate at the elbow wrists, hips, knees and ankles. Three to five rotations in both directions, just to get lubricated.

Then, giant set consisting of the following, starting with feet in stirrups and body in pushup position:

Swinging Pendulum x 5-10 each side (depending on fitness level.)
Modified Jackknife x5-10 (adjust to your level) *These consist of crunching both knees to chest simultaneously.
*(Advanced/optional:) Side Plank with Reach Under:x3-8
**Do not allow midsection to go slack during these exercises. Better to stop than use poor form.

Immediately follow with:

Jumping Rope or biking at moderate speed-30 to 60 seconds.

Then do:

Turkish Get-up: x 5 each side. A kettlebell is preferred, but a dumbbell is ok, too. If using a medicine ball, use one hand to hold it on the shoulder and double the repetitions.

Repeat three to six times, depending on fitness level. No rest in between; this is constant motion. If form breaks down, lower the repetitions, lower the weight.

Encourage additional fat loss by jogging or biking at a steady pace, or walking at a fast pace for 20-30 minutes at the end of the workout.  Work hard and have fun!

If you don’t know how to do a Turkish get-up, study this excellent Steve Cotter video:

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