Trying to strengthen your core? Are you still doing sit ups? Aren’t you BORED?!
Core exercises don’t need to be monotonous. And they don’t need to be complicated, either.
We have 3 fantastic exercises you can add to your workout routine that require no equipment and provide tons of gains.
Yup, do a few of these and it will hurt when you cough and laugh. Ohhhh, hurts so good!
MOVEMENT #1: DEAD BUGS
The name is unappealing, sure. But it works, I swear!
This movement is an anti-extension movement that protects your lower back while working your abdominals. Protecting your spine while working your core? YES PLEASE!
Note – with this exercise, SLOW and CONTROLLED is best.
- Lie on your back with your arms extended upwards above your shoulders.
- Bend your hips and knees to a 90-degree angle.
- Tighten your abs and picture pulling your belly button down through the floor (like a hollow hold position) and press your lower back into the ground.
- Take a deep breath in.
- As you exhale, slowly extend and lower your left leg to hover over the ground. At the same time as your leg lowers, and bring your right arm down in an arch so it is extended behind your head. Keep your abs tight and don't let your lower back arch.
- Slowly return your arm and leg to the starting position (arms straight up, hips/knees bent)
- Repeat with your opposite arm and leg (right leg and left arm extended).
MOVEMENT #2: PLANKS
A plank is simple, effective, AND it builds strength in your shoulders, arms, and glutes along with your core! This isometric hold builds stability and strength. Plus, it can be done literally anywhere.
- Plant hands directly under shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width). It is the same position you would assume to do a push-up.
- Push your toes into the floor and squeeze glutes to stabilize your body. Your legs should be working, too — be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees, but engage them so they feel like they are under tension.
- Pull your bellybutton up to the sky and tuck your pelvis. This will get your body in a hollow hold position and should keep your butt from dipping or lifting your body out of position.
- Set your eyes on a spot on the floor about a foot ahead of your hands so your neck remains neutral. If your neck feels strained at any point, reset.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds. As you get more comfortable with the move, hold your plank for as long as possible without compromising your form or breath.
If these are too easy, try lifting one leg and keeping your hips in line! OR, place your hands on something like a soccer ball – an object that has potential to move and adds an extra stability challenge!
MOVEMENT #3: FOREARM SIDE PLANK WITH TWIST
Another plank? Yes… but this one comes with a TWIST!
Your abdominal muscles include your obliques, so getting some side action in there is GREAT for your #StrongCoreGoals
- Being in a forearm side plank: set your body up on your left forearm, with your elbow stacked underneath your shoulder and your hand in front of your body. Extend your legs and stack your right foot on top of your left. Squeeze your abs and glutes to lift your hips off the floor so your body is a straight line from your shoulders to your toes.
- Place your right arm behind your head, with your elbow bent and pointing up toward the ceiling.
- Rotate your torso toward the floor, leading with your right elbow as you bring it down to your left hand. If you go so low you feel your whole body start to turn or your hips drop, don’t go that low. Although you should keep your glutes squeezed throughout, this movement should ONLY come from your core.
- Then, reverse the movement to return to the starting position: the side plank with your bent elbow pointing upwards.
- Continue for 1 minute. Then switch sides and repeat.