Crossfit demands that everything is a strength. Those with weaknesses will soon be left behind. If that weakness happens to be your core, you’re in double trouble. Bulletproof your mid-section with this CrossFit WOD that strengthens the core.

This routine is by Tom Wright, the owner of WrightFit Coaching and one of London’s top personal trainers specializing in cross-training. Follow him on Instagram


A CrossFit WOD that strengthens the core

Few things in Crossfit are as impressive as throwing up a heavy snatch or clean and jerk. But cleaning and catching weight requires more than strong legs and shoulders.

Many boast a decent shoulder press or squat but if you have the spinal integrity of room temperature trifle you’re not going to amount to much when you’re dropping fast under 100kg.

Building a strong midline is integral to much of Crossfit due to its high demands in Olympic lifting and gymnastics.



I’d always recommend some core engagement exercises to kick-off a session like the press-up to arch up or simply mountain climbers. The tougher stuff, would best be left until the end when you can go balls to the wall and not impact your bigger lifts.

How often?
You should be working on core engagement in every session until you can activate your core in your sleep. This specific cluster of movements should be included at least 1-2x per week to see a benefit.



This core workout will help with most movements but especially WODs that are heavy in the olympic lifts. Overall foundational strength will also improve which means exercises like shifting heavy sleds around and handstand walks will also become easier.


How long?

You’ll start seeing the benefits in as little as 2 weeks. You’ll notice you’ve become better at bracing through your core, as well as kicking the ass of the weights that would previously make you crumble like a badly made pie.


5 core-reinforcing exercises to blitz your core


Arch up to hollow body press-up

Lying on your front with arms overhead, lift your shoulders and legs off the ground by tensing your posterior chain. Hold this for two seconds, then place hands outside your chest complete a press-up coming up into a hollow body shape by separating shoulder blades and engaging your core into a slight arch shape. Repeat this 10x.


Front Rack Holds

This can be done in many ways but my two favourites are static barbell holds, and walking with kettlebells. For the barbell version pick a weight you can front squat and unrack it. Tighten your abs and glutes and hold here for 30-45s to really feel your core working. With kettlebells, pick two you can hold at your chest for around 60s and take them for a walk. Try not to lean back by keeping your abs switched on.


Body Saw

The body saw is hugely under-utilised for core strength as it provides an extra instability to a simple plank. You will need a towel and a wooden floor for this. Lie on your front and lift yourself up on to your elbows and toes into a plank position with your feet on the towel. From here you use your elbows to rock back and forth allowing your feet to slide without breaking your body position. Perform 10-15 reps.


Knees to elbows

This is a scaled version of the hanging ab exercise ‘toes-to-bar’ which is very useful as it can’t be cheated quite so easily. Hang from a bar with your feet together and pull your knees up to meet your elbows. The trick to improving is to control the lowering part of the movement by squeezing your glutes and pointing your toes at a spot on the ground a foot in front of you. This keeps your shape by eliminating the swing and strengthening your abs and lower back.

Weighted Bear Crawls

This one isn’t for the easily embarrassed, but you’ll be surprised by how much this one works your abs and oblique. Grab a pair of light-medium dumbbells and come down on to all fours. Lift your hips in the air and straighten your legs. Now lift the dumbbells up one at a time and march forwards for 20 paces. The strength required in moving the weights in this manner will have your core firing from the get-go.


Putting it all together


Warm up

Arch up to hollow body press
Knees to elbows
3 rounds each in a circuit fashion


Post Workout

Front Rack Holds
Body Saw
Weighted Bear Crawls
3 rounds each in a circuit fashion


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