When most people think of their core, they automatically think abs. While your abs are a key component to the core, your core also includes your low back and hips as well.
Your core is your center of gravity, and a strong core allows for stronger functional movement throughout exercise and everyday life. Whether you realize it or not, you should be engaging your core constantly whether you are doing a workout, standing in the kitchen cooking a meal, or sitting down at work.
A strong core will help prevent injury and promote more efficient workouts overall.
Suffer from back pain? Strengthening your core can help get rid of seemingly endless back pain too.
Here are 10 great moves you can do, with absolutely no equipment, in order to build strength in your core whether you are beginner, intermediate or advanced.
This move I learned from Jillian Michaels. While this is an isometric exercise, requiring no movement, it’s a real burner. Make sure you keep your shoulders down and away from your ears and your low back glued to the mat.
This is my absolute favorite core exercise of all time. In fact, I do plank variations in every single workout. If I had to do one core exercise for the rest of my life, this would be it.
Most people think that a bridge is for your glutes, and it is. But, this move, when performed correctly with your hips tucked under and low abdominals engaged, is great work for your core as well.
4. Superman pull
This move really targets the low back. In fact, many people suffer from low back pain because their core (including their low back) is actually really weak. If this variation is too difficult, skip the “pull” part and just practice raising your arms and legs off of the ground.
This move took me a while to master. The full V-up is pretty advanced, but you can always do the modified version as you work up to it. Once you master the V-up, you can even try holding a weighted medicine ball in your hands for all of you that are advanced.
6. V- sit
See how long you can do this move without shaking! If extending your legs is too difficult, you can do it with bent knees until you gain the core strength. As with the Hollowman, and all these core exercises for that matter, make sure that your shoulders stay down and away from your ears- no matter how hard it gets!
7. Plank knee crosses
Mastered this move? Try doing them slower! Exhale and blow all the air out of your lungs as you pull that knee towards the opposite elbow. The idea is to get as close as you possibly can and aim for the outside of the elbow.
8. Leg raises
This move should not hurt your low back. If it does, place your hands underneath your low back for support and/or don’t drop your legs down as low. This exercise is meant to work your core, not hurt it, so make sure you are listening to your body’s signals.
9. Elbow plank twists
This move really wrings your abs out like a wet towel! Really think about that analogy when performing this move to increase the intensity.
10. Plank shoulder taps
As you can probably tell by now, I love planks. This one is a great variation to challenge your balance and core control a bit further. When doing the shoulder taps you really want to avoid rocking your hips and body from side to side. The only motion that should be happening is your hand moving to the opposite shoulder. Work at it, you will get it!
Like I said before, you really should be engaging your core during every workout as well as everyday activities. Your core is your powerhouse and the key to overall fitness.
Try to incorporate these exercises into your training and feel free to leave your favorite core exercise in the comments section below.