10 Best core exercises to get your abs on
Core exercises are an important part of any comprehensive fitness routine. Since most sports and physical activities rely on having a stable core, doing core exercises regularly is an absolute must. Core training helps improve your balance and stability by training the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen. The best part is, you don’t need any special equipment or even a gym membership to get an efficient core workout. Some of the best core exercises are highly effective and can be done anytime, anywhere, with no equipment required. Check out our top tips for core training including 10 core training exercises to get your abs on!
Step up your core training with these tips
The key to any successful core training regimen is to maintain proper form and to perform core training exercises on a regular basis. Consider working with a trainer who will provide guidance and accountability to help get you started or try these tips:
- Train your core regularly, at least twice a week
- Put your mind into your core workout, instead of mindlessly going through the motions
- When doing crunches, focus on squeezing your rib cage toward your pelvis, and using resistance with each muscle contraction, instead of simply lifting and lowering your upper body
- Take every set to failure…don’t rest until you’re shaking and burning
- Find a set of core exercises that you will do consistently
“We suggest as many controlled reps (doing the negative and positive part of the exercise versus real fast movement) as possible, or until muscular failure within 45 seconds per exercise for abdominal work,” says Arman Eckelbarger, NESTA certified personal trainer and member of the Trim® Medical Team. Eckelbarger, who trains clients at Trinity Ultimate Fitness (TUF) centers in Trinity and Clearwater, FL, says: “The biggest thing to keep in mind when doing core exercises is, don’t focus on how fast you can do the exercises, because it does not work the area as thoroughly. People tend to think that if they can do more reps quicker that it is better, but it only creates more possibility for injury due to form being sacrificed for volume and the natural tendency to cheat.”
TUF Core Workout
Our partners and friends at TUF shared one of their favorite core training routines to help you get on your way to a rock solid core. Do each exercise as many times as you can for 45 seconds, going through as many cycles as you can in a 20 minute period. If you don’t want to use a timer, take each exercise to failure and count how many reps it took to measure your progress.
1. Pilates 100
Lying flat, elevate your legs to a 45 degree angle or bent 90 degree angle (as shown) then extend your arms straight out to the side, about 6 inches off the ground. Pump your arms straight up and down 10 times and repeat.
2. Right Leg Jackknife
Lying flat on your back, bring your right leg up in the air, then raise your left arm and bring them together keeping your leg elevated.
3. Left Leg Jackknife
Repeat the same exercise with your left leg and right arm.
4. Seated Elbow Dip
Seated with either your feet elevated or your heels on floor, knees bend, pushing hands together, dip dip your elbows to your sides, keeping them close to the body as possible and keep your gaze forward.
5. Seated Figure 8
Seated, again feet elevated if possible, imagine lifting your knees one at a time and weaving a dumbbell under each knee as you alternate.
6. Alternating Extensions
On all fours, alternate extending opposite arm and leg while squeezing your core, then switch.
7. Plank Glute Extensions
In a plank position, either on your hands or elbows, alternate extending your legs up in the air.
In a plank position, draw your knee towards the opposite elbow underneath, then arch back above and switch.
Lying prone (on your front side) like Superman with your arms and legs extended. Then alternate bringing both arms up, then both legs up, then all four limbs up, holding for 1-3 seconds each time.
10. Flutter & Scissor Kicks
Lying flat on your back, put your hands under your seat and your elevate your legs, kicking them up and down, and criss-cross.
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