The Importance of Working Your core

It’s more than just looking great; it’s all about strengthening your core. That’s not just a trendy word or concept; it describes your abs, obliques, glute, back and psoas muscles. All of them comprise your core.

One way to look at it is like this – your core is the framework for your body. These muscles protect your organs, provide support for your bones and give you stability. It’s super important to keep them strong. When you do your workouts, include moves that strengthen your core.

Still need more reasons? We all want a faster metabolism, right? If your core is strong, your metabolism is faster. You’ll have fewer serious injuries and this strength will make you a better athlete.

Everything you do depends on a strong core.

Good news! We’ve picked out some of the best exercises that will strengthen your core, help you to be a better athlete and add some sizzle to your six-pack. Better news! You can do them at home. There’s no need to head out to the gym.

First, some general directions. Each move should be done for 30 seconds. Do as many reps as you’re able. Don’t rest between moves. When you complete the entire cycle of moves, then rest for 60 seconds and repeat. Do this 2-3 times per week. Keep it interesting – change up the order each day.

  1. Plank

This move focuses on the abdominals and lower back muscles.The Importance of Working Your Core

– On the floor, assume the push-up position.

– Resting your weight on your forearms, bend your elbows 90- degrees.

– Make sure your body forms a straight line from head to toe. Elbows are directly under your shoulders.

– Hold this position.

Too Easy? Try this –

Raise your leg and hold for 30 seconds. On the next cycle, raise the other leg. Always be sure your body is parallel to the ground.

Be Aware – Keep the lower back and your butt in line with the rest of your body.

 

  1. Reverse Crunch

This move focuses on the abdominals.

The Importance of Working Your Core– On the floor, lie with the lower back flat.

– Your hands can be behind your head or straight along your body.

–  Cross your legs at the ankles, and raise both your feet slightly.

– As you tighten your abs, pull your lower back up off the floor.

– Then, lift your legs up towards the ceiling each time you tighten your abs.

– Lower your legs slowly.

 

Too Easy? Try this –

Hold the higher position for 3-5 seconds before lowering your body slowly to the beginning position.

Be Aware – Be in control of your movements. Don’t swing your legs, move purposefully.

 

  1. Bicycle Kicks

This move focuses on the abdominals and obliques.

– On the floor, on your back, raise your legs up and off the floor.The Importance of Working Your Core

– Keep your body parallel to the floor.

– Put your hands behind your neck, or you place them off to the side.

– Slowly, move your left leg to your chest, bending it at the knee. Bring your leg as close to your chest as you can.

– Now, move your right leg towards your chest and begin to straighten your left leg, taking it back to the beginning position.

– Continue by alternating the left and right leg.

–To work the obliques, bring your torso up (hands are still behind your neck/head), and twist so your elbow touches the opposite knee as it comes towards you.

 

Too Easy? Try this –

Before starting the other leg, hold the opposite leg in its lowered position for 1-2 seconds and then continue.

Be Aware – Keep your legs 2-6″ above the ground at the end of each repetition.

 

  1. Alternating Superman

This move focuses on abdominals and the muscles of the lower back.

The Importance of Working Your Core– On the floor, assume the push-up position.

– Without moving your torso, raise your right arm and the left leg at the same time.

– Hold for a minimum of 2 counts.

– Return to the push-up position and repeat with the opposite leg and arm.

Too Easy? Try this –

Raise one side of your body by lifting the arm and leg on the same side instead of opposite sides. Then, repeat for the other side of your body.

Be Aware – Always be sure your body is parallel to the ground.

Keep the lower back and your butt in line with the rest of your body.

 

  1. Army Crawls On A Towel

This move focuses on upper and lower abdominals and the obliques. (You need a towel and an exercise mat.)The Importance of Working Your Core

– On the floor, get into the plank position. Place both feet on the towel.

– Place your forearms near the end of your exercise mat.

– By moving one forearm after the other, Army crawl up the mat.

– Keep that plank position as you make your way to the other end of the mat.

– Once you reach the opposite end of the mat, (without getting up or changing position), Army crawl your way back to the end where you started.

 

Too Easy? Try this –

As you move back and forth on the mat, raise one leg.

Be Aware – In your movements, keep your hips level.

 

  1. Side Plank

This move focuses on the obliques.

The Importance of Working Your Core– On the floor, lie on your left side, keeping knees straight.

– Using your left elbow and forearm, brace your upper body.

– Create a straight line with your body (from shoulders to ankles) by raising your hips.

– Hold for 30 seconds.

– Turn around to lie on your right side and repeat.

 

Too Easy? Try this –

Keeping the position, raise and lower your top leg. Start by holding the leg up for 1-3 seconds and work up to 5-10 seconds.

Still Too Easy? Support your body on your hand, rather than the forearm.

Be Aware – Keep the line of your body straight. Don’t allow any sagging in the middle.

 

  1. V-Ups

This move focuses on the abdominals.The Importance of Working Your Core

– On the floor, face up, stretch out both arms and both legs.

– Raise your upper and lower body at the same time, while keeping knees and elbows locked. Rise up far enough to touch fingers to your toes.

– Hold the position for 2 seconds, lower your body to the first position.

 

Too Easy? Try this –

At the top of the V position, hold for 4-5 seconds. Lower the upper and lower body more slowly, or hold a medicine ball over the lower abs throughout the entire exercise.

Be Aware – It’s not important to touch your toes. Simply reach in that direction. The important part of this move is making the V-shape, using core strength to do it.

 

  1. Russian Twist

This move focuses on the abdominals and obliques.

The Importance of Working Your Core– On the floor, sit, bend knees, keeping feet flat on the floor.

– With your palms down, extend arms straight out in front of you.

– Lean back to create a 45-degree angle with the floor.

– Twist your torso to the right, wait 1 second, then twist to the left.

 

Too Easy? Try this –

During the entire exercise, raise one leg off the floor.

Hold a weight plate or a medicine ball in front while twisting.

Be Aware – It’s important to maintain a good seated position during the entire exercise.

 

  1. Broomstick Twist

This move focuses on the abdominals and obliques.shutterstock_111579623

– Sit, either on the ground or on a bench.

– Hold a stick, such as a broom, over the back of your shoulders.

– Put your hands over the stick, one on each side.

– Twist at the waist to one side, and then the other side.

 

Too Easy? Try this –

Do the exercise standing on one leg.

Be Aware – Only twist as far as you are comfortable. Don’t twist to the point of pain.

 

  1. Windshield Wipers

This move focuses on the abdominals and obliques.

– On the floor, lie on your back, arms perpendicular to your sides, with palms down.

– Hold your feet together and raise up to the ceiling.

– Contract the abs and lower legs slowly, to the right side, as much as you can and then switch to the other side.

– If it helps you to keep form and stop a swinging motion, pause in the midst of the excercise.

 

Too Easy? Try this –

When lowering your legs, don’t touch the floor. Lower to just a touch above ground and then make the move to the other side. You can also hold when both feet are above ground on both sides. 

Be Aware – Be in control of your movements. Don’t swing your legs, move purposefully.  The back of your head must remain on the floor during the entire exercise.

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