May 23, 2024 | Workouts

Personal Trainer Matthew McBride doing a core exercise from the Hard Core Workout of the Month

Designed by Elite Personal Trainer, Matthew McBride

Welcome to Hard CORE, an advanced-level workout designed to increase your functional core strength by targeting the four core anti-movements. This 10-12 minute workout, performed twice per week, can be added to your existing routine or used as a standalone workout on lighter resistance or recovery days.

What is the Core?

Your core encompasses your torso—everything except your head, legs, and arms. The core has two main functions: moving your spine and transferring strength between your upper and lower body.

How Should You Train the Core?

Understanding the core’s functions helps determine which movements to incorporate into your training. Exercises that articulate or move the spine are known as dynamic movements, while those focusing on efficient force transfer through the core are static movements. A well-rounded workout should include both types.

The Four Core Movements

Your core moves in four primary ways. You need the strength to move your torso into a position and to resist external forces trying to move you out of that position. These movements are:

  • Flexion/Anti-Extension
  • Extension/Anti-Flexion
  • Lateral Flexion/Anti-Lateral Flexion
  • Rotation/Anti-Rotation

The Hard CORE workout primarily focuses on the anti-movements.

The Workout Plan

Weeks 1 & 2

  • From the exercises listed below, select one exercise from the Anti-Extension group and one from the Anti-Flexion group at your chosen difficulty level (Intermediate, Advanced, BeastMode).
  • Perform the recommended sets and reps for each exercise.
  • Repeat twice a week for two weeks.

Weeks 3 & 4

  • Choose one exercise from the Anti-Lateral Flexion group and one from the Anti-Rotation group.
  • Follow the same routine as above for the next two weeks.

The Moves


  • Intermediate: Banded Vertical Pallof Press, Kneeling (3 sets x 12 reps)
  • Advanced: Stability Ball Bear Saw (3 sets x 8-12 reps)


  • Intermediate: Kettlebell Press & Hold (5 sets x 8 reps)
  • Advanced: Standing Banded Kettlebell Press & Hold (3 sets x 8-10 reps)

Anti-Lateral Flexion:

  • Intermediate: Trap Bar Offset Farmer’s Carry (4 sets x 10 yards)
  • Advanced: Weight Bar Perturbed Kettlebell Suitcase March (4 sets x 10 yards)


  • Intermediate: Banded Pallof Press (3 sets x 12 reps, both ways)
  • Advanced: Banded Pallof Press Split Stance (3 sets x 12 reps, both ways)

By following this program, you’ll build a stronger, more functional core, enhancing your overall performance in other workouts and daily activities. Commit to the Hard CORE routine and watch your core strength soar!

Meet Elite Personal Trainer Matthew McBride

Matthew enjoys the challenge of helping clients reach their goals and always challenging themselves to become better. He has over 30 years of experience in the health and fitness industry and attended the University of California, Irvine. He specializes in athletic performance, functional strength, and hypertrophy training. He strongly believes that training can be challenging and fun at the same time.

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