By Shain Rossi, Certified Personal Trainer
Let’s face it; who doesn’t want a slim waistline and sexy abs? But having a strong core is not just about looking good in a bathing suit and flashing a six-pack. A strong core provides stability to the entire body and is important for performing day-to-day activities. Now, even though you should be using your core throughout your workout, it is beneficial to spend time training it directly. Exercising your core about three times a week helps keep it strong. One great thing about doing core exercises is you don’t need any equipment. You also have a lot of exercises to choose from. Below are some great core exercises to mix and match during your next workout.
Planks are one exercise that will chisel your abs fast. Try to maintain a straight line and don’t allow your butt to lift too high in the air. Keep your abs lifted and don’t let your low back sag. If you want even more of a challenge, there are several plank variations to try. For example, consider doing side planks or widen your stance and reach forward alternating arms. Hold for 20 seconds. Work your way up to more time as your core gets stronger.
Keep in mind, if you’re trying to get an overall core workout you have to work more than just your abdominal muscles. Superman works your lower back muscles, which helps give you a strong core as well as improve your posture.
Lie on your stomach with your arms straight out in front of you. Raise your arms and feet so you’re contracting your lower back. Your head should stay neutral. Hold for four or five seconds and release and repeat the move.
The cobra is a good exercise for everyone from those new to exercise to fitness buffs. It works your lower back muscles and also provides a good abdominal stretch. When performing the exercise, lie face down on the floor and place your palms near your chest. Slowly lift your upper body off the ground including your shoulders and chest. As you lift, focus on pulling your shoulder blades together. Hold for a few seconds and lie back down.
The bird-dog is a good warm-up exercise for your core, as well as a popular yoga pose. It targets your lower back muscles and engages your entire core. Start out on all fours with your knees under your hips. Lift one leg and extend it straight back while you reach out with your opposite arm straight forward. Make sure your head and neck are in a neutral position. Hold for about five seconds and switch sides. For a little more of a challenge take your elbow into your knee and then extend it long.
A v-up crunch takes a basic crunch up a notch. It’s a great overall core exercise because it works your lower and upper abdominal muscles simultaneously. When performing a v-up crunch, keep your toes pointed towards the ceiling as you lift your legs up and raise your upper body off the floor. Perform the exercise in one movement. Don’t arch your back. Instead, keep your low back pressed against the floor. This protects your back and engages your core.
Wanting to get some more steel into your core? Try a free personal trainers session at Elite Triangle Fitness in San Pedro. Call or book online today!