Before each session at Ritual, we spend a few minutes warming up our muscles to prepare them for action. The warm-up includes a couple of hip and spinal mobility drills, followed by specific postural exercises to get everything firing right. While it may seem like not much is happening during this warm-up, don’t be fooled; there is more going on than meets the eye.

0:04 – Core Hold
0:28 – Straight Arm Plank
0:49 – Hanging Leg Raise (Bent Knees)
1:09 – Hanging Leg Raise (Straight Knees)

One exercise that we do during the warm-up is the core hold. Simply put, the core is the area of your body that connects the upper and lower body. A healthy core isn’t just about having a 6-pack (that’s mostly about having a low body fat level), it’s about being able to stabilize the spine so you can safely and efficiently transfer force between the upper and lower body when you move. The ‘6-pack muscles’ (that nerds refer to as the rectus abdominis) that people often associate with a strong core is just one piece of this complex puzzle, as the rectus abdominis is responsible mostly for spinal flexion (forward bending) movements. It connects the rib cage area to the pelvic area on the front of your body. For proper spinal stability and efficient force transfer, we need to make sure all the other areas around the spine turn on, too. Essentially, this means activating anything between the armpit and the mid-thigh areas all around the body.

A cool fact is that if your core is firing well, every exercise we do at Ritual essentially also functions as a core exercise, as we do full-body, functional movements during our sessions. By training your body to utilize the core for stabilization and efficient force transfer during exercise, over time, your body will likely also learn to activate the core properly when performing daily tasks outside of the gym, enabling you to move in a safer and more efficient manner throughout the day.

The variations of the core hold shown in the video allow you to strengthen your rectus abdominis, obliques, and the transverse abdominis, amongst others. By warming up your core before a 20-minute HIIT workout, you’re essentially priming your body to perform better during the workout, and these benefits will carry over into daily life.

Be brave,
The Ritual Team