Whether you are in your 30s, 40s, or even 60 having strong core help’s in a lot of ways. There are around 50 or more than 50 core strengthening exercise’s. Imagine doing 50 core strength exercise daily or every alternate days just imagining gave me pain. So don’t take this as a challenge and start doing 50 different core strengthening exercise’s just to prove me wrong, or maybe do either way it’s your choice.
It can be said that a strong core equal’s to a healthy life. Your core strength is important and the particular reason for that is it helps you accomplish your day-to-day activities, and it also have affect on your overall balance, posture, and stability. Core is the center piece of your daily movement also weak core muscle can less endurance, and more fatigue while also aiding in poor posture, lower back pain.
Our core is made up of many muscle group, and the major muscle group that are involved are the pelvic floor muscles, transverses abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae and diaphragm. Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus and trapezius.
One of the best thing about doing core strengthening core exercise is that there are many major muscle involved so you don’t have to sweat yourself by hitting every muscle group there are many exercise that will be targeting these muscle group simultaneously.
The real question is how do you determine which of these core strengthening exercise is best one for you?… choosing from so many option is difficult so I have handpicked some of my favorite core strengthening exercise most of these exercise only involves your body-weight so you don’t have to worry about having gym equipment with you, and you can easily add these exercises to your workout routine.
I may not be a certified trainer but I do know that experience count, and I have been sweating a lot in gym these past few years.
If you’ll be doing these core strengthening exercise for a flat belly or hardcore abs so that you can have that summer body you must also keep in check with your macro nutrients, and protein intake, and do add some cardio workout in routine.
These core strengthening exercise will ascend from easy to intermediate. I will also show the how these particular exercises are done so you don’t face any problem in doing these core strengthening exercise.
So without any further ado let’s get started with our core strengthening exercise’s.
Level – Easy
This exercise is basic of basic, everyone has heard of it. Without any doubt holding plank takes strength, and endurance. You don’t realize how long is a minute until you’re in a plank position.
Muscle engaged – The primary muscle group that are worked while you’re into a plank position is abdominal, back, and shoulder. While secondary muscle group being glutes, and hamstring.
How to do a plank
- Lay on the ground, your stomach must be facing ground side.
- Rest your forearms on the floor, with your elbows placed shoulder wide and directly underneath your shoulders and hands facing forward so that your arms are in parallel position to each other.
- Rest your toes on the floor. Your body will form a one straight line from your shoulders to your heels.
- Now squeeze your entire core, your glutes, and your quads, and tuck your butt under a little to keep your lower back straight.
- Make sure you are not dropping your hips down low or way up that your butt is high toward the ceiling.
- Position your head so that your neck is in a neutral position and your eye’s looking towards your hands.
- Hold this position.
Try to hold plank position, minimum for at-least one minute, and for maximum there is no limit. George hood has world record for holding longest plank with time duration of 8 hours, 15 minutes, and 15 second. See no limit.
2. Side plank raises
Level – Easy.
If you have space to lie down you can do side plank raises easily. Side plank will be majorly targeting your obliques and protecting your spine from any injury as you will be balancing to stay into position it will be boosting your balance and co-ordination too.
Muscle engaged – unlike other exercises that targeted front of your core, side plank raises will be targeting your obliques and core muscle that run along obliques.
How to do side plank raises
- First find a soft surface to place your elbow otherwise you will be hurting yourself.
- Lie down on your right side with your legs extended straight, and your feet stacked on top of each other.
- Place your right elbow directly under your right shoulder with your forearm resting on the ground, and pointing away from you and make a fist with your hand or don’t.. your choice.
- With your spine in neutral position, breathe out and contract your core.
- Lift your hips off the ground so that you’re supporting your weight on your elbow and the side of your right foot. Your body will fall in a straight line starting from top to bottom.
- Your top arm will be straight, pointing towards the sky.
- Drop your hips until you hips touch the ground or get’s close to the ground, return to the starting position.
- Do 10 to 15 repetition of this.
- Repeat on your left side.
3. Dead Bug
Level – Easy.
Dead bug is one of my favorite core strengthening exercise because its easy to do. You will not be feeling sore as you don in other core exercises but as some wise man once said “sore isn’t always better”. Some of you didn’t even you knew about this exercise it’s not your fault because whenever we think about building core or abs exercises that involve rotation of flexing comes to our mind.
Muscle engaged – Dead bug will be targeting your core, and spine erectors.
How to do Dead bug
- Lie down on the mat or ground with your arms extended straight over your chest so they form a perpendicular angle. Bend your hips and bring your knees forming 90-degrees, lifting your feet from the ground. This will be your starting position
- Engage your core, do not lift your lower back keep maintaining contact between your lower back and the ground. You have to make sure your that your spine maintains this steady and neutral position throughout the exercise.
- Keep your right arm and left leg exactly where they are, then slowly descend your left arm backward, over your head and toward the floor while simultaneously extending your right knee, making your right heel reaching towards the floor.
- Move slowly and steadily, breathing in as you extend, do avoiding any twisting, turning or any movement of your hips and abs. Stop the movement just before your arm and leg touch the ground.
- Return your left arm and right leg together to their starting positions. Move slowly and steadily, exhaling as you get back.
- Perform this same movements to the opposite sides, this time, exactly the opposite movement from previous keeping your left arm and right leg steady as you extend your right arm and left leg.
- Do the exact same number of repetitions on each side.
4. Plank tap
Level – Easy or Intermediate.
Plank taps might look easy but when you focus on doing them without shaking your hips from left to right it will have strong core engagement. Plank taps will help you tighten your midsection.
Muscle engaged – Plank taps will be working various muscle simultaneously like shoulder, abs, glutes, hamstring, quads, and hip flexors.
How to do plank taps
- Get into a push-up position with your hands placed shoulder-width apart.
- Shoulders should be directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your glutes and core being engaged.
- Tap your right hand to your left shoulder while engaging your core and glutes to keep your hips as still as possible. try not to swing from left to right otherwise plank taps won’t work.
- Do repeat this same movement with your left hand to right shoulder.
- Continue alternating sides.
- In start do 6 to 10 repetitions each side, and progress gradually.
5. Plank Hip twist
Level – Easy or Intermediate
Another variation of plank. This variation of plank is good for your side and will aid you in getting rid of love handles.
Muscle engaged – Plank twist will be targeting your rectus abdominis and obliques.
How to do Plank hip twist
- Bring your body into plank position.
- Elbow straight, leg extended and from shoulder to heel in a straight line.
- Keep your core engaged and turn to left and right, if you can do avoid hips touching the ground.
- If you want to can set your feet in motion too.
- Make sure not to move your shoulder or arms.
6. Mountain Climber
Level – Easy.
The good old mountain climbers, it’s a variation of plank combined with knee movement. Mountain climber also help you in increasing your cardio endurance, and strenght.
Muscle engaged – Mountain climber target many different muscle group at the same time like shoulder, core, triceps and quads.
How to do mountain climbers
- Get into push-ups position, your hand’s below your shoulder.
- Tighten your core, lift your right knee and bring it close to your chest while your hips down and back straight.
- Return your right legs back to starting position.
- Do the same for other leg and keep this alternating movement going for 10 to 15 reps or for a minute.
7. leg raises
Level – Easy or Intermediate
leg raises have many different types of variation but basic is good. lower section of abdominal is hard to target but leg raises got you covered in that.
Muscle engaged – Legs raises will be targeting your lower section of abdominal and a great exercise for strengthening your anterior hip flexors know as “iliopsoas”. hip flexors plays overall important role in stability, and strength.
How to do leg raises
- Lie down on the ground or mat with your face up and legs extended and your hands placed at your sides.
- Slowly start to raise your legs, keeping them together and straight like an iron rod if possible.
- Keep raising your legs until your feets are facing the ceiling.
- Then, slowly start descending your legs back down to starting position. Don’t let your feet touch the floor; instead, keep some distance between your legs and ground, a few inches off. Repeat.
- As you do this move, do not arch your back make sure to keep your lower back flat on the floor. If it’s hard for you, don’t lower your legs as far.
- Tuck your hands underneath your hips for extra support.
8. Hollow hold
Level – Intermediate
Hollow hold is one of the best core strengthening core exercise which I can think of but it isn’t as easy as holding a plank it’s more of an advance exercise.
You might wonder what makes hollow hold harder than other exercise?
Hollow hold is harder and the particular reason for that is your legs, and arm weight fall on your spine and to keep that weight supported you spine takes the decision of being arched to relive the tension but the whole point is to keep your body is in hollow position meaning keeping your spine flat or neutral.
Muscle engaged – It will be targeting your abdominal, quads, obliques, and hip flexors. It will be helping you in building your core stabilization while also working your lower back muscles.
How to do a hollow hold
- Start by lying down on the floor, legs extended, arms by your sides.
- Try contracting your abs by engaging your core and driving your lower back into the ground. Squeeze your inner thighs together to help you initiate the move. Try to remove any room left between your lower back and the floor.
- When you feel that your abs are contracted then raise your legs 2-3 inches above the ground. Focus on Keeping your lower back on the floor.
- Raise your upper body section like shoulder or head off the floor about 1-2 inches, and extend your arms overhead and behind you. Do not forget about your lower back make sure you are pressing the lower back into the floor.
- Don’t tuck in your chin towards the chest because tucking your chin will reduce the strain on your core.
- Hold it for 30 seconds (or as long as possible) before lowering the legs and shoulders to the floor.
- As you progress gradually increase your holding duration.
When reading about hollow hold it’s no pressure but to hold that position is way more tougher than you think. Avoid some common mistakes like not pressing your lower back into the ground or shoulder touching the ground.
9. Hollow rocks
Level – Intermediate.
While you look at hollow rocks for far it will look easy but the real challenge begins when you sit down and have a look at the truth about your core strength. Hollow rocks create tension in your entire body and that something we want if you want to have a strong core.
Muscle engaged – The hollow rocks develop’s muscle situated in front. It will be engaging Transverse Abdominals, obliques, and hip flexors.
How to do Hollow rocks
- lie down on the ground with your hands extended overhead keeping them close to the ears, and legs extended.
- Just like hollow hold contract your abs, and lower back into the ground.
- Your toes together, thigh squeezed, glutes squeezed, and lift your legs off the ground.
- Lift your shoulder off the ground and your neck into neutral position.
- As your legs and shoulder will both be off the ground you will be in shape of banana.
- Remember to keep your hips and lower back into the ground.
- You have your starting position, now rock back and forth while your abs, glutes, and thighs engaged there will be a point where your hands, and feet’s will nearly touch the ground.
- If rocking back and forth is hard, just hold you body in starting position.
Level – Intermediate
Another favorite exercise of mine. This is an advanced version of sit ups… doing sit ups reps after reps tends to bore the person but jack-knife level up’s this game.
Muscles engaged – Jack knife will be targeting Transverse abdominis, Rectus abdominis, Obliques, Glutes, and Lower back.
How to do jack-knife
- Lie down on the ground with your face up staring at the ceiling, and your legs extended while your arms extended overhead on the floor, keep them close to your ears. Contract your abs and press your low back into ground.
- Point your toes, squeeze your thighs together, squeeze your glutes, and simultaneously lift your legs and your upper body section off the ground, reaching with your hands forward while bring your leg towards your hand so that your body forms shape of a V.
- Keep your core engaged as you slowly lower yourself to return to starting position.
Doing these core strengthening exercise every alternate day will skyrocket your core strength. Whenever you’re at gym and might hit dead-lift, it will be targeting your different muscle group but to get that rod off the ground you will need core strength and these core strengthening exercise will help you.
Chance’s are low of you doing these core strengthening exercise after a serious workout or after some physical but not looking after your core can increase risk of you getting injured when doing powerful motion’s with your body. Don’t underestimate your core, your core is like “mitochondria” it’s your power house, and aiding you in your overall fitness.
Try to add these core strengthening exercise in your workout routine and you will see.
Feel free to tell me your favorite core strengthening exercise in comment section.