Today we are going to work your core and we are going to do it without crunches! Are you excited? I am! Having a strong core is essential for everyday life. I’m not even talking about exercise here, just everyday movement.
Things you do each day like lifting a heavy object off the floor, bending and twisting to get something out of the cabinet, standing up straight, balance and of course helping you with fun things like playing sports, exercise or playing with your kids.
Don’t believe me? Well a strong core is more than just your stomach. I’m not talking about a 6 pack here. Your core is more than just your abdominal muscles. Your core actually also includes the lower back, your pelvic floor and even the hips.
Better, Faster, Stronger
As you can imagine, the core plays a dynamic role in everyday tasks, and by strengthening your core, you will automatically be able to stand up taller, lift heavier objects with less stress and you might even get faster. Yup developing a strong core is even important to get faster in your running and other physical activity.
Having a strong core is essential in balance and stability. Balance and stability are important as we age and keeping strong active muscles, including our core, will help reduce the risk of falling later in life. You know the old saying, you don’t use it, you lose it. Get ready to work your core!
Zero Crunches Required
Does the idea of doing a million crunches make your head spin? Yeah me too! So lets get creative! Here are 5 moves that will help strengthen your core while also helping you blast away pesky fat. All you need is a mat for this fun workout!
Remember, it’s important to always consult with a doctor before starting any exercise program, if you have any reason to believe you are not physically fit for exercise. Also please note that although I am a personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. However, I do take online clients, so if you are interested in working with me, please leave me a note below in the comments section. Please consult a personal trainer if you have any injuries or require modifications.
Work Your Core
Do 15 reps of each exercise. In between each exercise, do 30 seconds of mountain climbers to get the heart rate up (and also challenge your core!)
Mountain Climbers – start in a plank position, abs engages, shoulders directly over your hands and legs straight, weight in your toes (not your heels). Quickly bring one knee at a time into the chest, switching feet while keeping the core engaged and back flat. Do 30 seconds of mountain climbers after each exercise below:
Standing oblique reach – Start standing with your right leg planted firmly on the ground, and the left leg ready to move. Raise your hands up above your head, bringing them together on the right side of you body. Cross your hands in front of your body as you raise your left leg to meet your right elbow. Do 15 reps then change sides. This exercise helps with balance as well as those obliques!
Pick up, put away – this is real life in exercise! The key to this exercise is to keep the back flat and abs engaged throughout the entire exercise. Don’t just bend over, instead be thoughtful about squatting down to reach to the left side then driving the weight up to the right side as your squeeze your glutes to stand. Keep the core engaged and really extend over to the right side, lifting the weight overhead. Return the weight back the same way it came up. Do 15 reps then change sides.
Superman – we have to be sure to work that lower back as well, since it’s a crucial part of the core! Start by laying on your stomach, hands reaching out in front of you. Lift your arms and legs up off the floor at the same time, by squeezing your glutes and legs together as you lift up. Hold this contracted position (you look like superman after all!) for 2-3 seconds. Slowly lower back to the floor. Repeat for 15 reps.
The Penguin – just like the name implies, you will be “waddling” around like a penguin. This exercise works those obliques! Lay on a mat with your feet pulled in and your knees up in the air. With your hands at your side, raise your head off the mat and reach from side to side, trying to touch your ankle with each twist. Tip: The closer your feet are to your butt, the easier it is to touch those ankles. The further your feet, the harder this is!
Boat pose – This move really challenges all of your core, especially after those first 4 exercises! Start by sitting on the floor with your hands by your side and your feet on the ground, knees raised. Lean back, about 30 degrees, engaging the abs and keeping the back very flat. I like to focus on keeping my shoulders pulled back, not by my ears or pulled forward. Lift your feet off the ground and straighten your legs. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly lower the feet then sit up straight. Repeat 5 times. Tip: If boat is too difficult, you can start by lifting and straightening one leg at a time. Just alternate every time you lift up. Eventually you will be strong enough to lift both legs!
New to Fitness?
If you loved this work your core workout and are just starting a healthier life style. Make sure to Sign up for Seven Days of Sweat and get a weeks worth of meal planning, a grocery list and three 15 minute workouts that can be done in the comfort of your home or even on vacation.
What about you?
- How do you like to work your core?