Note: This is a guest post from Ryan Murdock and Adam Steer, the BodyweightCoach.com experts.
While a six-pack stomach may be the most conventional benchmark of athletic beauty, functional abdominal strength goes deeper and is far more important than vanity. A strong core improves your posture and reduces the likelihood of lower back pain. It plays a stabilizing role in virtually every movement you do—from carrying the groceries or bending down to tie your shoes to throwing a ball or pulling a heavy lift. It is also the source of power generation in most athletic activities.
We’re going to build a killer core with bodyweight exercise, in as little as 12-minutes per session.
By training in 6 degrees of freedom.
Training in 6-Degrees of Freedom
What the heck does that mean?
It’s a term we took from aviation, because it most accurately describes how your body moves through space.
We don’t move robotically through one plane at a time. Human movement is a complex weave through different planes and on different axes. If we take the three axes of conventional movement descriptions, we can think about moving both along and around those axes in order to take advantage of our true movement potential.
CST 6 Degrees of Freedom
• Heaving: moving up and down
• Swaying: moving right and left
• Surging: moving forward and backward
• Pitching: bending forward and backward
• Yawing: twisting right and left
• Rolling: bending or tilting right and left
The bottom line?
Training in 6-Degrees of Freedom will kick your butt faster than any other method.
Why does that matter? It means you’ll be finished training sooner. Training in 6-Degrees will also ensure that your body remains balanced. You won’t waste time dealing with overuse injuries, or overcompensations created by doing the same repetitive movements in the same planes day after day.
That’s a brief primer on the theory. Let’s get to the program.
Circular Strength Training (CST) Bodyweight Glide Workout Program
This program is designed to shred your core in as little as 12-minutes per day using only bodyweight exercise.
The movements were designed to be done with those little plastic glide discs you’ve seen on TV. But the good news is you don’t need the discs. Socks, RMAX ultimate grappling shoes, and squares of felt all work on hardwood floors. Disposable paper plates work great on carpet. If you’re on a business trip and staying in hotels, tear a page out of one of the free glossy magazines in the desk drawer, or put the plastic laundry bag from the closet on your feet. Anything that will allow your feet to slide on the floor will work.
The Knee-In: Heaving Component
The V-Up: Pitching Component
The Side Knee-In: Yawing Component
The Mountain Climber: Surging Component
The Side Plank Knee-In: Rolling Component
The Tadpole: Swaying Component
Remember, keep your shoulders packed, rotate your elbow pits forward, maintain good crown to coccyx spinal alignment, and activate your core with a hard exhale on every rep. These movements should be core driven.
You now have all 6 CST Bodyweight Glide movements, one for each of the 6-Degrees of Freedom:
• Heaving: Knee-in
• Pitching: V-up
• Yawing: Side knee-in
• Surging: Mountain climber
• Rolling: Side plank knee-in
• Swaying: Tadpole
Great! Now what do you do with them?
Shredding Your Core in 12-Minutes Per Day
There are a number of ways we could approach it, and it really depends on your goals. Think of the individual movements as being tools on the tactical level — they’re the maneuvers we use to carry out our plan, but the plan itself — in this case our training protocol — is decided at the strategic level.
For the purposes of this series, I’m going to suggest one protocol for readers who would like to put this program to immediate use. Our hypothetical client in this case is someone who travels frequently for business, who has no access to equipment, little free time, and whose primary goal is to develop core strength through all degrees of freedom while increasing their cardiovascular capacity and losing excess weight.
Perform each exercise for 30-seconds. When those 30 seconds are up, switch seamlessly into the next exercise and perform it for 30 seconds (don’t take breaks in between — that’s too easy!). Continue until you’ve done all 6 movements.
That’s one circuit. The full program consists of 3 circuits, with 1 minute rest between each circuit.
At first you’ll feel like you want to coast through the movements, to spread out your reps. Don’t do it. Your strategy should be to keep the fastest pace that you can manage while maintaining good technique. You want this to be intense. What’s the point of coasting along when you can squeeze every ounce from the time you’re spending?
Hints for Further Progress
If you work the program as planned, you’re going to progress and it will get easier. When that happens, you can do one of two things:
- decrease the rest time between sets
- OR increase the duration of the exercises.
Start by decreasing the one minute rest between sets. Ease that down to 30 seconds of rest, then to 15 seconds of rest. Your body will adapt by training itself to recover in less and less time.
Next, increase the duration that you perform each movement to 40 seconds (from our baseline of 30).
Finally, if you’re up for it you can remove the rest periods entirely so that you’re performing 3 back-to-back circuits nonstop. This has the added benefit of bringing your total workout time down to 9 minutes—allowing you to knock off early, or to add a fourth set.
You can do this CST Bodyweight Glide program 2 -4 times per week, or on the Moderate day of a 4×7 cycle.
So that’s it. How to shred your core in 12-minutes per day, in a balanced, health-first fashion. We’re glad you chose to come along for the ride.
Ryan Murdock, Bodyweight Exercise Expert
P.S. For more unique bodyweight workouts like this one, visit Ryan and Adam’s sites: www.BodyweightExerciseRevolution.com for various bodyweight workout programs or www.Bodyweight-Blueprint.com for fat loss specific programs.
P.P.S. Both Ryan and Adam have an upcoming program called TAC-FIT Commando that I have had the pleasure of previewing. These guys have teamed up with my coach Scott Sonnon to create one of the most cutting-edge bodyweight training programs I’ve ever encountered. I have test-driven some parts of the program and will be using it as part of my regular routine when it’s released. Keep your eyes peeled because you’ll be hearing more about it in the coming weeks.