10 Core Strengthening Exercises You Can Do At Home
Keeping a strong core is essential to all of us, athletes or mums alike. Whenever we don’t have time to hit the gym, we can easily practice core strengthening exercises that will keep us healthy, mobile and fit.
Understanding Our Core Muscles
Many of us think of our core as mainly our abs. This is not only simplistic but inaccurate. Our core involves many muscles that are engaged in every movement. As per Andy Waldhem, the five components of core stability are Strength, Endurance, Flexibility, Motor Control, and Function. Put simply, favoring certain group muscles in workouts and neglecting others is rather useless (and detrimental to your body and balance).
Think of a strong core as the backbone of your life. Being able to move, sit, stand, walk, lift objects,… The mere fact of initiating movement involves your core.
The 5 major core muscles:
- Glutes (but also hips and thighs)
- Erector spinae (Back muscles from the neck to the sacrum)
- Quadratus Lumborum
Those 5 core muscles and minor ones contribute to our stability and posture. When you are looking for core strengthening exercises to do at home, focus on series that work the 3 planes of motion, lateral, frontal and horizontal.
Functional Core Strengthening Exercises
Crunches have received a bad press but they do work, they are very effective when it comes to strengthening your core. You can also add specific exercises such as Lunges and Squats and other lower body exercises.
- Crunches – Lying flat on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Putting your hands on either side of your neck, roll your shoulders off the floor and hold for a moment before gently rolling back. Crank it up with a pedaling movement of the legs.
- Vertical leg crunches – Same as above only your legs are crossed at the ankles
- Raised knee-in – Lying on your back, arms to your side, palms on the floor, keep your back flat on the floor and flex your knees, one after the other towards your chest.
- Clam shells – Of all core strengthening exercises, this one is often considered the best for working the glutes (and easy for beginners).
- Lying side crunches – Lie on your right side, your legs on top of each other, your knees bent, put your let hand on the side of your head and crunch to your side and slowly bring your shoulders back down. Switch side.
- Oblique V-ups – You are on your right side, your legs together but slightly forward, your right hand is on the mat and your left slightly touching your neck, get up on your hip and butt making a V. Switch side.
- Standing side kicks – Standing up, feet apart the width of your hips, extend right leg to the side at hip height, hold it. Switch side.
- Planks – Get into pushup position, your legs stretched and your elbows directly beneath your shoulders. Hold in place, everything as tight and straight as possible.
- Side planks – Stand on your forearm directly below your shoulder, your legs are straight and your feet together, lift yourself up, keeping everything very tight, hold it and do not let your hip drop. Switch side.
- Superman – Lie down on your belly, your face toward the floor, your arms along our body and rise them up in front of you superman style, lift your arms and your legs and hold it. Be careful not to arch too much
As a general rule you breathe out during the hardest part of the exercise. Exhale during abdominal workout especially crunches, it helps tighten the abs.
Before doing any type of exercise, stretch and warm up by doing jumping jacks and running in one place
Do at least 15 reps of each exercise before switching sides or starting a new one.
Strengthening our core means working on more than abdominals and buttocks, upper body and lower body workouts will also contribute to a stronger core, a better posture and an overall stronger body. These core strengthening exercises can be done anywhere, at home, at the office, when traveling. Whenever you have a minute, you can do a quick series. An easy way to stay fit with minimum time investment.
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