If you're a rower or athlete who wants to find out more about how to improve core strength, there are several workouts that can be implemented to target specific muscles. Core strength is important for increasing endurance and rowing technique. A good core workout also focuses on targeting the secondary muscle groups (thighs, quads, hip flexors, glutes, abs, etc) of the lower body, as well as the primary abdominal muscles (sit-ups, crunches, etc). The purpose of this workout is to work out the entire body, not specific muscle areas.
One of the best workouts to improve your core strength is plyometrics. These exercises utilize the momentum of a jumping motion in order to help strengthen your leg muscles. It's important to always keep your back straight throughout the entire lift, and never allow your head to move towards the floor or your heels. Basic plyometrics exercises include standing calf raises, seated leg extensions, and rope face jumps.
Another way to improve your strength in the center is to perform stabilization exercises. To do these, focus on using your stability skills, such as balancing on both feet, keeping your head up, and using both your arms and legs to support your spine. This type of exercise is commonly used in medicine to treat patients who have pinched nerves and damaged discs. While a wall is often used in these exercises, it's important to use sturdy hand and gym equipment for proper form. Some exercises even place the athlete in an elevated stance, with the hands and legs planted on the ground. While this may sound difficult, if done properly, it will improve the overall stability of your spine and lower body.
Although most gymgoers rely on the old-fashioned crunch for developing core strength, most do it incorrectly. One of my favorite ways to correct the poor form that often happens with crunches is using an ab mat to help extend range of motion and keep people honest about how far they are extending during the movement.
Rowing is another exercise that involve strength in the legs and back, but it also improves overall cardiovascular fitness and has a high-impact element. It's important to do rowing workouts slowly, as compared to most other exercises, and use plenty of resistance. Start by rowing on a machine, and slowly work your way up to a stationary position. You can also use a treadmill for this workout, since rowing can be done on almost any surface.
If you're looking for how to improve core strength, another option is to focus on total body workouts. These workouts include pull-ups, push-ups, shoulder presses, squats, lunges, rowing, and more. Since every muscle group in your body contributes to a workout, it's important to make sure that all of your muscles are exercised in each workout session. Exercises that include lifting weights (like bench press and military press) are great ways to build strength and build muscle, while rowing, squatting, and shoulder pressing exercises can help strengthen your smaller stabilizer muscles.
Finally, consider using stability equipment to improve your hip flexors. Gluteal muscles are crucial to a strong abdomen, and a strong abdomen is key to overall fitness. To strengthen your glutes, perform squats, lunges, and step-ups. To improve your stability, perform abdominal crunches or wall squats. The more you use these exercises, the stronger and more flexible your core muscles will become!