Want to improve your Internal obliques? Do you even know what they are?

If you read our last blog you would have seen the Core challenge we set for you.

Today we wanted to answer three very important questions about core training.

What is the core?  Why is it important to build and strengthen your core? How do you get the most out of your time when training core?  

1. What the core is? We think is really important to discuss what "Core" means to us. You'll probably get a different answer from each trainer you ask, however as you learn about how the body moves and functions you realise that it's designed to functionally work together in a way where we can run, jump, twist, bend etc. Therefore, we could argue the core stems from your shoulder blades, down your spine. This is why core exercises should include curls, extensions, lateral flexion, twists as well as exercises supported by your shoulders.


Flag, gym, exercise, candlestick, dragonfly

2. Why it's important: building strength, mobility and skills are often a major focus while core is neglected. We have trained hundreds of people in gymnastics, CrossFit and through general fitness programs, introducing consistent core training has been one the most advantageous for skill progression. Developing your core allows your body to function and work together, which is essential for complex movements requiring so much coordination and strength.

3. How to get the most out of your core sessions:

- Frequency, once a month is simply not enough. Frequency is important, as athletes with a gymnastics, diving and acrobatic background we want to share the insider secrets. First thing to know is that core work is done in some capacity every single training session.

- Understand which core muscles are you using. Many people say they don't need to do core as they squat, deadlift, run etc which uses their core. This is true, however your core is also made up of stabilisers, Intrinsic core- transverse abdominis, internal oblique, lumbar multifidus, pelvic floor and the diaphragm) the most effective way to work these are with small loads for longer periods of time.

- Variety and progressive exercises, everyone has their "go to" core exercises which are re-used over and over. Your body will respond better to different stimulus.

- Learn how to switch on your inner core muscles. Pull your belly button in to your spine, don't hold your breath, pull upwards from your pelvic floor (as though you are holding in your pee). This will all get easier with practice.

If you want to know how we train our core, check out our Core One and Two programs.

Simple Extras that can produce Extraordinary Results

More and more people are motivated to learn impressive gymnastics skills. We're going to share with you one of the easiest ways to improve your gymnastics without a huge time investment.

Believe it or not gymnasts, divers and other acrobatic athletes complete core work as part of every single session. Developing strength and stability is vital as these positions transfer directly to higher level skills.

All you need to do is add a little "extras" time to your current training sessions. We have a challenge for you, for the next couple of weeks set aside 2 sessions per week, of 10-15min. Remember to turn on your pelvic floor, pull your belly button in to brace your core, take proper belly breaths (do not hold your breath).

Complete 2-3 rounds of the following circuit

hollow, core, core program, mel wu

Hollow hold 30 seconds Lying on back, legs stretched out off floor & arms overhead covering ears, squeeze core & hold hollow position.
15sec rest

ankle taps, core, mel wu

Bent leg ankle taps 30 seconds Lying on back, draw knees up towards chest, keeping legs bent. Crunch up & touch ankles. Keep head neutral & crunch using abdominals, not with neck.
15sec rest

side plank, core,  side bridge, melissa wu

Side bridges 30 seconds each side Lying on right side, plant right forearm on floor & lift body up into side plank position, maintaining straight body line. Lower hips to floor laterally, then raise them up again. Repeat on left side.
15sec rest

superman raise, core, core program, melissa wu

Superman raise (alternate arm and leg) 30 seconds Lying on stomach, place arms straight overhead. Raise opposite arm and leg up & down repeatedly. Squeeze legs & glutes & extend through hips rather than hinging through lower back.

Rest 1-2min between rounds


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The secret of finding the perfect coach

Admittedly I’ve never met a perfect coach. 

I have seen a perfect match between coach and client. 

Unfortunately it is not that easy to find the perfect coaching relationship on the first go. Normally because one or more of these mistakes are being made.


Asking the wrong questions

“What will we focus on?"

If you are enquiring about a gymnastics program the answer will and should be the same no matter where you enquire. 

Joint health and stability, body weight control, upper body strength, coordination, core strength, locomotion, body weight skills and balance.

If a gymnastics program didn’t focus on those things, it wouldn’t really be a gymnastics program. Therefore it is a useless question to ask because you still have no idea how these people are different to their competitors and how or if they can help you. 

“How much is it?"

Again this is a useless question to lead with because you still don’t know how to justify the price. How will you know if its too expensive or too cheap if you don’t know what it is? 

Is $500 expensive or cheap? Is $100 expensive or cheap? It is impossible to answer that without context. 

Don’t get me wrong, this question is important, but ask it LAST.

Ask this instead. 

“Who is it for?"

If the answer is “everybody” 

then this provider has no idea who they are serving. 

Re-phrase and ask

“Who did you create this for?"

If they answer “everybody” a second time, it means that they really aren’t clear on who they wish to serve and therefore it will be impossible for them to promise that your needs will be met. 

They may meet your needs, but if they do its just by chance. 

Why is this so important? Lets go through some case studies.. 

If I google "Adult Gymnastics Sydney” here are one of the top results

Sydney Hills Gymnastics

Funnily enough their homepage says

“Gymnastics for all” 

As I mentioned above.. of course it is not for all.

Digging a little deeper, it is obvious that their main focus and purpose is tiny tots and young development squads. Yes they have a once weekly open gym for adults and any one can just show up casually. 

If you are an adult serious about results- its not for you. 

If I was looking for an online body weight program I would most likely consider one of the most 'famous' online programs. Either Gymnastic Bodies or Ido Portal. 

In fact Kat and I have both had some experience with both of those and they were awesome, but still not for me.

Gymnastic Bodies

In my opinion, this program is for some one who

-Is learning to use and control their body for the very first time.

-Has endless amounts of patience 

-Is willing to re- do the same course content (in some cases for years) until a movement or strength roadblock is overcome.

-Ready to adopt body weight training as their main form of training.

I to believe that slow is best and agree with a lot of Christopher Sommer’s philosophy even though it can be dogmatic at times. 

At the same time, I know what it is like to train as a gymnast. It is intense, extremely time consuming, progress is slow and it’s not for everybody!

Most of the adults I know love gymnastics and want to get involved, but also love CrossFit and want to progress as all rounders instead of pure gymnasts. They probably won’t train for 10— 20 hours a week purely in gymnastics. 

If your intent is to get better at gymnastics for your CrossFit pursuits, I believe you will lose interest in this type of program quickly.

Ido Portal

This one is for people who want to move better, get strong, do awesome stuff but completely and 100% adopt and absorb Ido’s philosophy. 


Believing that there is only one coach/program/gym that is ultimately "the best."

The best doesn't exist in coaching. It's just about finding the best fit for your current needs, expectations and goals.

Dalecki Strength
Who is it for?

We started out as many start ups do “to scratch your own itch."

For Kat and I, we needed a mixture of what we used to do and love

Artistic Gymnastics

and a new found love of ours


We wanted to tell you who we exist for. Someone who..

LOVES fitness and CrossFit. Likes a local comp here and there. Wants to do the Open Rx. Committed. Goal orientated. Women and Men. 25- 40 y/o. Willing to do extra work. Looks after body. Focuses on nutrition. Rarely misses training. Frustrated by lack of progress in pull ups. Body weight strength is a weakness. Confused about technique. Keen to explore new Gymnastics skills and tricks. Open minded. Long term focussed. Will work towards Regionals one day. Values coaching.

We are also well aware that our approach is not for everyone.

Our program is not for someone looking to become a competitive gymnast or someone who wants 20 hours plus of gymnastics per week.

Or Someone who wants to rush into skills they aren’t ready for.

Or Some one who wants to skip the foundations. 

Lately we put lots of thought into this as we are finally creating an online version of our program. 

Who is our online program for? 

Exactly the same as our niche described above- the only difference is that this person doesn’t live locally therefore we cannot coach them face to face. 

Before we put all the final touches on the program, we want to hear from you. 

1. What do you want and need from us in an online gymnastics program? 

2. How can we best help with you with your goals?

3. Have you tried a gymnastics program online before but found it wasn’t for you? 

Help us create this program for you, exactly as you want it. 

Fill in the form before with your feedback.


Name *