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Performing endless abdominal crunches isn’t the only – or even the best – way to sculpt a rock-solid core. Multimuscle exercises, such as the braced squat, build a stronger foundation for your body and more muscular legs, says strength and conditioning coach Alwyn Cosgrove.
The braced squat looks like a lower-body exercise, doesn’t it? But the primary goal is to overload your core, says Cosgrove. The movement helps you develop a stronger midsection, which improves stability, performance and strength. A strong core will pay off on the court or in the field.
HOW TO DO IT
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a 10kg plate in front of your body at shoulder height with your arms outstretched. Keeping your arms straight, squat as low as possible. Hold the position for four seconds. Return to the starting position by pressing through your heels. Make sure that the only changes in your centre of gravity come from the lowering and raising of your body, not any backward or forward movement. Aim for one to two sets of 10 to 12 slow reps, with 60 seconds of rest between sets.
OUR EXPERT’S TIP
Work your arms by doing a curl at the top of each rep: stand with arms outstretched and curl the plate towards your upper shoulders. Extend your arms as you lower your body.