4 Active Resistance Exercises to Maximize Core Strength

Active Resistance and Core Strength Using the ActivMotion Bar

Strong Abs
Getty Images/Leonardo Patrizi

Core training is at the top of the list when it comes to getting your midsection lean, toned and strong. But with so many methods and tools out there to choose from, how can you know which ones are most effective?

ActivMotion Bars are quickly becoming a staple for core strength and balance training. These innovative fitness tools are radically different from traditional weighted bars because they're hollow. Each hollow bar is filled with rolling steel weights that travel within the bar, moving as you move to ignite your core and challenge your balance.

Because the resistance in ActivMotion Bars is not static (as in dead weight, like most other fitness tools), but is “active," constantly shifting during your workout to challenge your body in new, dynamic ways, it's a more effective method for challenging your core. In fact, a recent study put out by the University of Michigan Human Movement Innovation Lab found that ActivMotion Bars activate and strengthen the core muscles during specific exercises (some of which are included in this workout) up to 173% more than conventional fitness tools like medicine balls and traditional weighted bars.

The following ActivMotion Bar core circuit training routine highlights four simple movements. Complete each movement for 15 repetitions per side. When one exercise is finished, immediately move to the next with as little rest as possible. Repeat the complete circuit three times. If you don’t know which ActivMotion Bar to start with, try the 6-pound option. This is the ideal choice for core circuit training.

For more great core training content and to learn about ActivMotion Bars, visit www.activmotionbar.com.

Heel Taps

ActivMotion Heel Taps

  • Lie on floor face up. Flex your knees to 90 degrees and lift your feet off the floor.
  • Hold the bar on the white lines and press it as hard as you can into your thighs. Return the pressure through your thighs back onto the bar so that your legs remain stable.
  • Lift your head off the floor and tighten your abs. Keeping a tight stomach and maintaining pressure through your legs and bar, alternate tapping one heel to the floor at a time.

Keep the bar stable and parallel as the weights inside constantly shift and challenge your core muscles and stability.

Sit Up Hold with Twist

ActivMotion Hold and Twist

  • Lie on floor face up. Hold the bar on the white grip lines with your arms straight in front of your chest. Keep your knees slightly bent with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Move into a half situp position and hold it with your abs tight and engaged.
  • Maintain this position and rotate to one side, tipping the bar to about a 45-degree angle. Hold the rotation for one second, then immediately rotate to the other side and hold for one second.
  • Repeat this rotating pattern from the half sit up position.

Instead of keeping the internal weight centered and stable as in the first exercise, your should feel the weights inside the bar shifting drastically from one side to the other, challenging your core and pulling your body with them as you rotate and hold. Find a rhythm in your rotations as the active resistance inside the ActivMotion Bar shifts.

Standing Hinge Rotations

ActivMotion Hinge

  • Begin with both of your feet flat on floor just wider than shoulder-width apart in a hinge position so your back's flat, angled about 45 degrees from a standing posture.
  • Hold the hinge position, and with your arms straight and your hands on the white grip lines of bar, rotate to one side and act like you are trying to jab one end of the bar through the ceiling.
  • Hold your maximum rotated position for one second, then rotate back to center before immediately rotating to the other side.
  • Repeat this pattern. Be sure to stay in your hinge position and not stand up tall.

Feel the weights inside the bar challenge your ability to rotate and hold as they fire up your core.

Over-Head Side Bends

ActivMotion Side Bend

  • Stand with your hands on the white grip lines of the bar. Bring the bar over your head with your arms straight if you are advanced, or halfway over your head if you need a modification.
  • Hold this position and bend to one side.
  • Hold the bend for about a half second, then immediately return to standing and bend to the other side.

Let your body move in rhythm with the weights inside the bar. Feel the weights inside the bar activate your obliques as they pull your body down towards the floor during the bending maneuver.

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