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 7 great moves you can do, with absolutely no equipment, in order to build strength in your core whether you are beginner, intermediate or advanced.
- Lie down flat on your back and contract the abs, pulling the belly button towards the floor.
- The arms and legs should be held straight out from the body with hands and toes pointed.
- Slowly raise shoulders and legs from the ground.
- The arms and head should be raised along with the shoulders.
- The lower back must remain in contact with the floor.
- The goal is to find the lowest position that you can hold the arms and legs, without them touching the floor and without breaking lower back contact (the point at which the lower back begins to arch from the ground).
- Being face down resting your weight on your forearms and toes and pull your abs in tight.
- Maintain a hold where your body is in a straight line from shoulders to heels for as long as possible.
- Lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Keep your arms at your side with your palms down.
- Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line.
- Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
- Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.
- Lie flat on the ground with your arms by your sides.
- Raise your legs as high as you can, keeping them straight and together, and lift your torso up towards your thighs so you form a V-shape.
- Keep your back straight and try to keep your movements smooth and controlled – avoid jerking.
- You can keep your hands on the floor or bring them up to meet your feet.
- Then slowly lower back to the ground.
Plank Knee Crosses:
- Get on the floor on all fours and assume a push up.
- To execute this move, squeeze the abs and bring your left leg up to your right elbow and back.
- Repeat with the opposite leg.
Elbow Plank Twist:
- Start inside elbow plank on your right side, with your feet stacked one on top of the other.
- Keep your weight on your right elbow with your fingers reaching away from your body.
- Place your left arm behind your head, and inhale to prepare.
- Exhale, pull your navel to your spine engaging your deep abs, and bring your left elbow to your right hand twisting through your ribcage.
- Return to the starting position.
- Do the same on the opposite side.
Plank Shoulder Tap:
- Start in a plank position, with your wrists under your shoulders and your feet hip width apart.
- Touch your left shoulder with your right hand and return to plank position.
- Touch your right shoulder with your left hand and continue alternating sides until the set is complete.