Want to strengthen your core? You’re going to have to get hardCORE!
In the exercise and fitness world, your core is the beginning of all things. Without a strong core, you will be unable to maintain proper form as you perform other exercises, stay on your feet as you age, or maintain optimal performance on the athletic field. To help your core stay its strongest, mix these exercises into your regular routine.
Ball-Based Reaching Crunch
Start with your back parallel to the floor as it rests on an exercise ball, your feet placed on the floor approximately shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms and point them straight up toward the ceiling or sky. Raise your torso as you tighten your abdominal muscles as if you were performing a typical crunch or sit-up. Reach for the ceiling in this position for three seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat for 10 repetitions.
Place a kettlebell on the ground in front of you and stand upright. When ready to begin, bend at your knees and waist as you pick up the kettlebell with both hands. Return to the upright position. Then, bend at the waist and allow your hands and the kettlebell to go toward the ground, while lifting your left leg behind you. Try to keep your leg and back in a straight line. Once the kettlebell touches the ground, return slowly to the starting position. Repeat 5 times. Swap legs and repeat.
Grab a barbell and hold it overhead with your arms straight and your legs spread approximately shoulder-width apart. Bend at the hips, squatting back and down. Once the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor, return to the starting position by pushing up with your hips. Repeat 10-15 times. Rest and repeat. And in case you think you can perform this without having a stable core, try it and you’ll wind up on your backside before you get to the second repetition.
Sit on a declined bench and place your feet under the supplied pads at the top of the bench. Lean back until your thighs and torso are at a 90-degree angle to one another. Next, put your hands together and reach out your arms straight in front of you, allowing a semi-circle shape to form between your arms. With your arms forming a 90-degree angle with your torso, move your body as far to the right as possible and then to the left. Move quickly, but do not get sloppy. Perform this as long as possible, with the goal of continuous movement for a minute.
Put your feet and legs together as you lie on your right side. Place your right arm under your body and lift your upper body so that your right elbow is directly under your shoulder. Your left hand should be resting on your left hip. From this position, slowly raise your hips from the ground until a straight line is formed from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold the position for a moment, slowly return to the starting position, and repeat. Change sides and repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Lying facedown with your legs straight behind you and your arms straight overhead, place a pillow under your hips. Tighten your abdominal muscles as you lift your left arm straight up. Hold the position for three seconds and repeat with your right arm. Next, lift your left leg for three seconds, and repeat for your right leg.