13 Mar Strengthen Your Core with 8 Simple Exercises
Building a stronger core can be achieved in as little as eight weeks. Spelled out like that—eight weeks!—makes it sound like more of a daunting committment than it actually is. (Pro-tip: just call it two months.) However you delineate time, here are eight simple exercises to get your core in shape:
1 Plank Hold
Place your forearms on the floor in kneeling, near push-up position, so that your elbows lie right under your shoulders. With your toes curled, lift your knees off the floor. You should now be in a straight push-up stance. Keeping the abdominal and back muscles tight, you should hold this posture for over 20 seconds, and repeat 3 to 5 times as you breathe in and out.
2 Quadruped Arm and Leg Extensions
Stay on all fours with your hands straight and your legs kneeling, so that they form a 90 degree angle with the torso. Keeping your back still, lift opposite arms and legs in succession, so that they’re level with the torso, or the legs are slightly lower. Repeat the set 10 times.
3 Supine Bridges
As you lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, in line with your hips, and your toes facing forward, and your arms palms-down alongside the body, press through your heels to lift up the buttocks. Lift and lower at least 15 times for buttock strength and also to prevent back and leg injury. Cross one leg over the other at the ankles or lift one of the legs up for the sake of variety. Should you feel any back strain, bend one of the knees in toward the hip.
4 Forward Lunges
Stand up with your feet apart and parallel, and take one large step forward with your right leg about the length of your body, with your knee bent to 90 degrees, toes pointing forward, and your right foot straight under your knee. Be sure to keep the left leg straight. Then go back into the initial position and repeat with the left leg, all the while keeping your spine straight. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Try using a bar bell or a dumbbell, or even lunging to the side.
- Lower body
5 Dead Bug
As you lie on the floor bending your knees, lift your legs and your arms up, pointing toward the ceiling. Keep the back pressed to the floor, and lower opposite arm and leg as low as you can go. Then exhale and bring them back up. Do the same with the other side. Repeat 10 times.
6 Side Bridge
As you lie on your side, propping your body up at the elbow, and bending your knees, push your body upward by pressing on the elbow and the lower leg. After holding the stance for at least 5 seconds, slowly lower the body back. Repeat 5 to 8 times, preferably holding the body up for 10 seconds for better back and lateral abdominal muscles.
- Lateral abomindal muscles
7 Bicycle Crossover
As you lie on your back keeping your knees bent and your palms under your head, lift the knees toward the abdomen bringing the feet off the floor, and hold; then strengthen one of the legs out to the front, and bring one elbow toward the opposing, bent knee. The back should never arch or roll to the side. Switch sides and repeat the set at least 20 times.
This classic exercise is demanding, and people with neck or shoulder problems should try it with their hands elevated on a bench. Sit up or lie on your back on the floor. Keeping your hands shoulders’ width apart and the fingers facing forward, with a straight back and a tight posture, slowly lower the chest forward towards the floor. As you push back to the initial position, exhale and keep the elbows straight. Repeat 15 times.
- General feeling of accomplishment!