Learn & Burn
Core exercises are an important part of a total body fitness plan. We all know it’s true, but many of us are guilty of neglecting abdominal exercises when we workout especially if time is limited.
A few months ago I talked about anatomy and the muscles that make up the body’s core. What about the benefits of having a strong core?
Here are 10 reasons why we shouldn’t skip the core exercises.
Benefits of Core Strength
- Your core muscles support your posture. The stronger more balanced the core muscles are the straighter your posture will be.
- Strengthening and stabilizing your core muscles targets fine motor skills so you can react quickly and stay balanced on unstable and/or changing surfaces.
- Strengthening the muscles around your midsection will give your abs a toned and flatter appearance.
- A strong core supports your spine making your entire body structurally sound, strong and stable. This allows you to safely use heavier weights as you progress your workouts.
- A Pain Free Back A strong core supports your back
- Maintains proper muscle balance throughout the entire human movement system.
- Allows for efficient acceleration, deceleration and stabilization during dynamic movements.
- Efficient movement and injury prevention.
- Sitting for extended periods of time is a strain on the body. A strong core can take some of the stress off the lower back.
- Perform functional and day to day life tasks easier. A lot of core muscles are used to pick something, put something on a shelf and to bend over to tie your shoe. With a strong core the less energy and effort it will take to perform simple daily tasks.
How can you strengthen your core?
Core work is different from strength-training programs that isolate a single muscle group. Core workouts challenge as many muscles as possible with integrated and coordinated movements.
Isometric Core Exercises: In these moves, you’ll hold a position for a period of time instead of contracting your muscles through a range of motion. Examples: plank and bridge
Stability Ball Core Exercises: The stability ball provide serious benefits by adding a stabilization component to your workout and when doing core moves. The instability forces your body to engage both large and small muscles. Example: crunches
Dynamic Core Moves These workouts involve constant motion. These exercises involve moving from side-to-side, up and down or in all different directions (sometimes while holding a weight, medicine ball or kettle bell). In other cases, you’ll simply be doing workout moves while fighting against instability. Example: squat on a stability ball with your arms raised above your head
Right click the image above to save the workout to your mobile device or download the workout to print.
- stability ball
- Brace your core.
- Use proper body alignment and good form.
- Reps and rest periods should be based on your fitness level.
- Modify as needed to meet your fitness level by increasing/decreasing reps, weight and sets.
- Gradually increase intensity based on your progress.
I am a certified personal trainer, but this workout was not created for your specific fitness level and needs. Make modifications as needed. Intensity and rest periods should be based on your individual fitness level. See your physician before beginning any exercise program. This web site is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice and supervision of your personal physician. Any application of this or any other exercise routine set forth in this program is at the viewer’s discretion and sole risk.
Hip Raise and Lower 1) Begin in a forearm plank. Keep abs tight and don’t let your hips or back sag. (2) Inhale and contracting your core raise your hips so that your body forms an inverted V. (3) Exhale, brining your body back to a forearm plank. Targets: rectus abdominis, lower back, chest, shoulders
Bird Dog (1) Begin on your hands and knees with your palms flat on the floor and shoulder width apart. Your knees should be hip width apart and bent 90 degrees. (2) Brace your abs, and raise your right arm and left leg until they’re in line with your body. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. (3) Return to start position. Keep you hips and lower back still throughout the move. Repeat with your left arm and right leg. Each arm leg extension counts as 1 repetition. Targets: abs, back butt, hips
Cycling Russian Twist (1) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. (2) Now sit about half way up keeping your chest and shoulders back being careful not to round your back. (3) Lift your legs so they’re elevated and parallel to the floor. (3) Holding your hands together in front of your body, extend your left leg and twist your torso to the right as you pull your right knee to your chest. Don’t let your legs touch the floor at any point during the move. (4) Now exhale and rotate your torso to the left as you raise your left knee and straighten your right leg. Twisting your torso to the left is one repetition and to the right is 1 repetition. Targets: rectus abdominis, internal and external oblique and transverse abs
Side Plank with Reach Under (1) Start by lying on your right side, legs extended, with your left foot stacked on top of you right. (2) Support our body weight on your right elbow forming a straight line with your body. (3) Keep your belly button pulled in and your hips raised. (4) Extend your top arm toward the ceiling. (5) Rotate your body to reach your extended arm underneath your body, then extended the arm back up to start position. (6) Repeat on the other side. Targets: core obliques, shoulder
Swiss Ball Jack Knife (1) Begin in push-up position with your arms straight and your shins on a stability ball. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Brace your core throughout the entire exercise. (2) Without changing your lower back position, roll the ball toward your chest by pulling it forward with your feet. (3) Pause, then return the ball to the starting position by rolling the ball backward. Don’t round your back at any time during the movement. A roll in and our is one repetition. Targets: rectus abdominis, obliques, thighs, gluteus, chest, calves
Cross Body Mountain Climbers (1) Start in a push up position with your arms completely straight and your hands directly under your shoulders. (2) Raise your right knee toward your left elbow, lower, and then raise your left knee toward your right elbow. (3) Repeat alternating back and forth for the prescribed number of reps. Knee to elbow is one rep. Targets: cardiorespiratory system, chest, shoulders, lower abs, traverse abs
Plank (1) Start in a push-up position except keep your hands directly under your shoulders instead of outside of your chest. (2) Legs are straight out behind you with feet together. (3) You are balancing on your palms and the balls of your feet. Hold this position. Targets: rectus abdominis, lower back, chest, shoulders
Elevated Feet Plank (1) Slightly shorter than body length from a bench or chair start in a pushup position coming down to rest your weight on your forearms instead of on your hands. (2) Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. (3) Brace your core by contracting your abs. (4) Bring both feet up on the bench, keeping your body straight. Targets: rectus abdominis, lower back, chest, shoulders
To make your workouts as convenient as possible, I’m adding an Exercise Index download to give you the information you need to perform each of the exercises in the workout.
Download to print the exercise index.
SUPPLEMENT YOUR WORKOUTS WITH THIS WORKOUT 2 DAYS A WEEK TO BUILD A STRONG CORE.
Your workout plan for the week might look something like this:
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I would love to chat:
What are your favorite abdominal exercises? What’s on your workout plan this week?
be the best version of YOU