Gear Bag: Ab Upgrade

Photo: Nils Nilsen

Stand upright and perform a standard crunch. What happens? Gravity pulls your upper body down and your lower back muscles control the motion. Now think about how your core is used while running or swimming—it looks nothing like your standard sit-up.

The CoreStick is a new tool that allows triathletes to do core exercises that actually mimic movements in triathlon. “The stronger our core is, the better we’re set up for the next running step or swim stroke and the better body position we can maintain,” says Kyle Herrig, head coach of Triplex Training in Tempe, Ariz. You use momentum and body position to drive the tool in all three planes of motion—frontal, transverse, sagittal—to target even the deepest core muscles. Here are three exercises Herrig recommends.

Exercise 1: Frontal

Hold the CoreStick overhead with feet shoulder-width apart. Make an abrupt change of direction, leading the movement from the hips. As the weight shifts to the right, the left side has to react to help slow down the weight. Then, drive the CoreStick in the opposite direction.

Exercise 2: Transverse

Stand with feet staggered. Hold the CoreStick in front of you horizontally at about chest height. Rotate it 90 degrees, making a quick change of direction. Keep the center of the CoreStick lined up with the center of your chest (this will promote core rotation) and always look forward. Tip: If you’re getting too much hip rotation, try this while kneeling.

Exercise 3: Sagittal

Stand with your left leg behind you, feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the CoreStick vertically in front of your body with your left hand on the bottom. Use your core to thrust it to the next position over your head, controlling the movement in both directions to also work your back., $99.95 (includes weight, handles, accessory connector, DVD and bag)