But wait, what do I mean by the core? And why I consider it so important?
The core involves a complex set of muscles that extend well beyond the six-pack. It’s made up of the rectus abdominals (the abs according to most people), the transverse abdominus (the deep interval core muscles), the oblique’s (the muscles on the sides of your abdomen), erector spinae (lower back muscles), and so many more.
In other words, the core is the backbone of all your movements.
That’s why strong core muscles are vital for doing everyday activities, like putting away groceries, lifting a heavy object, as well as maintaining good posture and preventing everyday aches and pains—especially lower back pain.
Enter The Routine
To build your core fast, focus on a routine that hits all major core muscles.
The following routine is not only suitable for beginners and advanced trainees, but it also takes roughly 30 minutes to complete.
Remember to breathe deeply during each move, engaging your core muscles throughout. Don’t cheat. Don’t bounce. And aim to finish your set—even if every muscle in your body is shaking.
Planks are one of the best exercises for building strength in your core and lower back muscles.
The exercises involve minimal action but the maximal effort, requiring you to support the whole of your body weight on your toes and forearms while maintaining your body in a straight line from your head to your ankles.
If this is too challenging, make it easier by resting on your knees. You can make this move harder by extending your arms, so your hands support you.
Begin by lying face down on the floor. Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Make sure your hands are facing forward so that your arms are parallel.
Engage your core muscles and slowly raise your body off the floor and hold in an elevated position. Keep your elbows right below your shoulders.
Hold this position for one minute and slowly lower to starting position.
As get become stronger, hold the pose for longer periods.
2. Side Plank Holds
This is an excellent variation of the elbow plank, with more focus on the obliques and lower back.
Begin in a forward plank hold position, then slowly rotate over to your right side, putting the weight on your left arm and foot.
Keep your right leg directly over the left, left arm outstretched. Place the left hand on the ground.
Place your right arm on your hip or your side.
Keep your core muscles tight and engaged to prevent your hips from sinking the floor. This can cause strain on the lower back, and you don’t want that.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds, slowly lower to starting position, and switch sides.
3. The Boat
A fantastic exercise to strengthen your erector spinae, rectus abdominis, and the hip flexors.
Begin by sitting up straight on the floor with your knees bet, feet flat on the floor, and back straight.
Next, hold your arms out in front of you as you slowly lift your feet off the floor while keeping them together until they form a 45-degree angle to your torso.
Active your entire core, balance on your tailbone, and keep your back flat the whole time.
Extend your legs so they’re straight and your body forms a V shape.
Hold the pose for a count of 10, slowly lower your legs, then repeat.
Reach your arms straight in front of you while keeping them parallel to the ground.
For more support, feel free to place your hands on the ground, or underneath your hips.
4. Dead Bug
The dead bug (looks like exactly like it sounds) is an awesome exercise for connecting your mind to your core.
It’s all-encompassing core move that works your deep inner core, mainly the diaphragm, transverse abdominis, multifidus, and pelvic floor, what’s not to like.
Begin by laying on your back with your arms extended toward the ceiling, directly over your shoulders, and legs in a tabletop position (both knees bent 90 degrees and stacked over your hips).
Lower your left arm and right leg at the same time until they’re hovering just above the ground, then slowly return to starting position.
Keep both knees hovering a few inches from the floor. Engage your core and squeeze your body throughout the exercise, lower back pressed into the floor.
Slowly extend your left leg straight while dropping your right arm overhead at the same time.
5. Kneeling Extension
Another great move that keeps your core muscles strong, as well as help, prevent lower back pain.
Begin by kneeling on all fours, with your hands beneath your shoulders and knees directly under your hips.
Activate your core muscles and slowly raise your left arm and extend it straight forward. Slowly lift your right leg and extend it straight back, and pointing your toes down.
Hold the pose for a count of ten and slowly lower to starting position, and switch sides.
Repeat five times on each side.
6. Bicycle Crunches
Regular crunches are too boring. Spice them up with bicycle crunches.
It’s beginner-friendly, no equipment can be done anywhere, but it’s also quite challenging.
This is one of the best core exercises you can do—and one of my favorites—targeting not only the usual abs but also the obliques and deep abs what’s not to like.
Lie flat on the ground, with your lower back pressed flat into the ground, knees bent, and head and shoulders raised slightly above it.
Next, place your hands lightly behind your head, then bring your knees toward your chest and raise your shoulder blade off the floor, but be sure not to pull on the back of your neck.
Bring one knee up towards your armpit while straightening the other leg, keeping both elevated higher than your hips.
Rotate your torso as much as possible so you can touch your elbow to the opposite knee as it comes up.
As perform the movement, twist through your core as the opposite arm comes towards the elevated knee.
Focus on moving through your core as you turn your torso. Don’t feel like you have to touch the elbow to knee, but it’s a worthy goal to have.
There you have it. The above core exercises are some of the best moves you can add to your workout routine to start working on your abdominals and get that ripped midsection you always dreamed of.
You need to show up and do the work. The rest is just details.
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Keep Training Strong.