Core strength is incredibly important in many sports as well as life. The drills in this section will increase the strength and balance of your core muscles.
This is a good one to get students to know each other better. Have partners lock legs and then come up and give each other high fives, or transfer a medicine ball, or any other sport specific movement. The person who locks their legs on the inside will generally have a slightly easier time.
V Ups are an important drill to work core strength as well as core balance. Start laying down on the ground and then bring your feet and hands up together, touching your toes at the top. Modifications to this include carrying something in your hands, transferring a large exercise ball between your feet and hands (or throwing it to a partner) or working on timing by having someone jump through the middle of the V up. (Perpendicular to the other player)
V-Sit With Medicine Balls
A way to help your students forget about the feeling of discomfort with holding up a v-sit is to have them pass a medicine ball (or several) down a line. This builds teamwork as well as strong stomachs!
Paper Rock Scissors Situps
This is a good way to let people forget about how tired they are. Have them do partner situps, and then when they come up, have them flash either Paper, Rock, or Scissors to their partner. It is difficult to try to predict their next move, keep track of who won and lost, and do situps quickly. For an extra challenge, have them play with two hands at the same time. Your right hand faces against your partner’s left hand, and vice versa.
I also invented a martial arts analog for this one. It’s called Tiger Claw, Knife Hand, and Punch. Knife Hand slices Tiger Claw, Tiger Claw covers Punch, and Punch shatters Knife Hand.
It’s also good to do this with pushups, although two handed there would be pretty difficult.
Exercise Ball Toss (against wall to practice falling)
For this drill you use a large exercise ball (yoga ball) and throw it against the wall with your hands and then try to catch it between your legs. You can start on the ground, but for a more advanced variation, try throwing the ball, doing falling technique, and then catching it with your legs. To add difficulty, start facing backwards, throw the ball over your head, and then spin around and catch it.
Pike Ups with Exercise Ball
To build stability put your feet on an exercise ball and point your toes. Your hands should be flat and firmly planted on the ground. Pike your body upwards slowly, and then bring it back down. You can add some pushups in between exercises for an extra kick.
For this drill have students lay with their backs on the ground. Let them lift their legs up and then touch their knees and elbows. Make sure they tighten their core and keep their legs up above the ground. If it is too easy, add a medicine ball.
From a V position, scissor your legs in and out. This is as if you were doing flutter kicks in swimming, and this drill works well in the water also. Add variation by doing side to side and also up and down.
Planks are a type of isometrics that involves holding your body in a certain position for a given length of time. For side planks, turn to one side and go up either on your hand or forearm. You can make it harder by raising and lowering your leg. Front planks involve toughing only your feet and forearms. Keep your core tight. For back planks, face upwards and bring your hips upwards.
Medicine Ball Twists
Stand back to back with your partner while one of you holds a medicine ball. Swivel around and hand the ball off, and then go to the other side to receive it. This also works well to go above the head and between the legs. Add in squats or squat jumps for an extra workout. Make sure to go both directions.
Superheroes (Superman/Bannana/Aquaman/Spiderman/Iron Man/etc)
This is a great game for kids (and adults) to work on their core strength. The instructor calls out a particular posture and then changes it after a few seconds. This will keep the students focused on what they are doing and not think about the core workout. The Bannana position is where they lay on their backs and put their legs and arms up in the shape of a banana. For Superman, they roll over on their stomach and stretch out. Aquaman involves them swimming, with their legs and arms off the ground. For Spiderman, they can shoot out ‘webs’. Iron Man has them put their arms straight at their sides. Feel free to add others here.