Are you still training your abdominals and core with endless sit-ups, crunches and leg lifts? Your core includes the muscles of your abs, your lower back and your hips and butt. Strengthening the muscles surrounding your core will improve your body’s strength and stability to perform many of your daily activities and sports.
Before discussing core exercises, consider these core training specifics:
- Add core exercises that involve twisting (rotational) motions to strengthen your core. Wood Chops, Russian Twists, Kettlebell Twists, etc.
- Choose exercises that improve your balance, as balancing is an effective way to develop core strength. Any exercise performed on one foot or on a stability ball will work.
- Functional exercises train the core. Exercises that simulate “real” life like sitting, standing, climbing ladders or stairs, loading groceries into your car. Lifting while twisting and maintaining your balance.
5 Core exercises that will support your spine, improve your posture and develop a rock solid core:
Planks are an extension of a popular yoga pose, as you balance face down on your forearms, elbows and toes. When performing planks keep your body aligned down your spine and your entire body. As you hold your plank, concentrate on pulling in your belly button and do so throughout the movement. Hold the plank for a minimum of 10 seconds and work up to 60 seconds. Repeat the exercise 2-3 times.
2. Medicine Ball Twist
Start with your feet shoulder width apart and your medicine ball in both hands. Extend your arms and medicine ball in front of you at chest height and slowly twist your torso to the left which will cause the muscles of your torso to twist with the ball and contract. Inhale and bring the ball back to the center and then twist to the right. Keep your back straight and perform a minimum of 12 rotations and repeat 2-3 times.
3. Dumbbell Pushup and Row
Get into a traditional pushup position with a dumbbell in each hand. Do one complete push-up and hold at the top with your arms straight then pull (row) one dumbbell up to the side of your chest, lower it and row the opposite dumbbell. Keep your abs tight and back straight throughout the exercise. Perform a minimum of 12 pushup rows and repeat 2-3 times.
4. Resistance Band Woodchops
Secure your resistance band to a sturdy object and stand to the side with one or both handles in both hands. Keep your arms straight and pull your arms across your body as you rotate left while contracting your abs. Perform 10-12 repetitions and then turn around and repeat to the right.
5. Turkish Get Ups
While on the floor, hold a moderately heavy kettlebell or dumbbell directly above your head and move from the floor to a full standing position without lowering the weight. Once up, reverse the movement and return to the floor and repeat for 10 repetitions. This exercise works your entire body and strengthens your core and abdominals.