Yes, elite athletes like Aaron Rodgers need a strong core to maximize performance on the field. But banging out hundreds of leg raises or holding planks for obscene amounts of time has little crossover if you’re playing a dynamic sport, whether it’s football, a Spartan Race, or a game of tag with your kids.

“When we move, our whole body moves, not just one isolated part,” says Firdose “Dose” Khan, head trainer at Nine Innovations athlete training facility in Houston.

Khan, who currently trains multiple NFL players, including the Houston Texans former QB turned wide receiver Braxton Miller, designed this core-strengthening routine that can help anyone move better, excel at recreational sports, and enhance his performance in the gym.

This circuit routine forgoes iso movements and features only a couple of sets of bilateral work (TRX pushups). Instead, the emphasis is on moves that work one arm or one leg at a time.

“The body works in an X pattern, so it’s important to use unilateral cross-body movements to get the muscles firing properly,” says Khan. “I get a lot of traditionally trained athletes who’ve done very little single-limb work. It’s like having a Ferrari that’s fast but has no brakes, suspension, or steering. So I try to fix that, and make the Ferrari perform like a Ferrari.”

How it works

The workout consists of three different circuits. Perform all rounds of each circuit before moving on to the next series of exercises.

Prior to doing the workout, Khan recommends doing some shoulder prep work consisting of “Y, T, and W” elastic-band raises (two sets of eight reps each).