- CrossFit athlete Katrin Davidsdottir has always had a six-pack, but her core wasn’t always strong.
- The former Fittest Woman on Earth said neglecting her core led to a hernia.
- Davidsdottir now does a lot of core exercises, including deadbugs, side planks and L-sit-holds.
Katrin Davidsdottir does “a lot” of core training to maintain her position as an elite CrossFit athlete, including deadbugs, L-sit grips and carrying suitcases, she told Insider.
The 29-year-old Icelandic athlete won the CrossFit Games in 2015 and 2016, but she hasn’t always prioritized her core — despite her visible abs.
“I’ve had a six-pack since I was a kid and it looks great, but it doesn’t always mean it’s working efficiently and your inner core muscles are stable,” Davidsdottir told Insider.
While the abs are the outermost muscles at the front of the torso, the core muscles include the abs but also wrap around the entire midsection and include the pelvis, diaphragm, lower back, and hips. The core helps stabilize the entire body, and you can have a strong core without a six-pack, or a six-pack without a strong core.
The former gymnast said one of her biggest mistakes was not doing enough core training, leading to a herniated disc in late 2019. A hernia, also known as a herniated disc, is where one of the soft tissue cushions between the bones in your spine. move in place.
Since then, Davidsdottir has made abdominal strengthening exercises an important part of her workouts.
Katrin Davidsdottir does many different core exercises
To protect her back, Davidsdottir prioritizes the “McGill Big Three”: three core exercises designed to be performed pre-workout, especially for those who suffer from back pain.
The exercises are:
Davidsdottir adds deadbugs, which is another move that helps engage the core, as personal trainer Luke Worthington previously told Insider.
Deadbugs, as well as side planks, can also help build abs, especially if you add weight, bodybuilder Hattie Boydle previously told Insider.
In 2021 Davidsdottir moved from the US to Iceland to train with a new coach, Jami Tikkanen. Since making that change, she’s incorporated even more abs and core exercises into her workout.
“We carry a lot of suitcases, L-seats, ring grips, hip extensions,” she said. “I do a lot of accessory moves around the big elevators.” Accessory moves are additional exercises designed to support and improve performance in head movements, such as squats or overhead presses. Examples include Davidsdottir’s core exercises, as well as many others, such as dumbbell curls, skull crushers, and split squats.
Carrying a suitcase is a simple movement that involves holding a weight in one hand, contracting core muscles to keep the torso straight, and walking — and can be done in everyday life, such as when carrying groceries, Pilates instructor Nathalie Hayward told rather to Insider.
Davidsdottir wants her whole body to contribute to every move
Davidsdottir said she does many of these complementary moves around her major lifts (such as deadlifts, squats, or clean and jerks) to make sure she can perform them safely and continue to make progress.
“I feel like I’ve kept my body so much healthier, and that helps with the big, sexy lifts,” she said.
In addition to strengthening her core, it keeps her glutes strong and engaged, protecting the back, Davidsdottir said.
“The most important thing this year is getting my whole body to contribute to whatever I do,” she said.