Is your core lacking in strength?
The core is one of the most important parts of the body, yet it tends to be the toughest to really build up. This is especially true if you’re trying to lose weight while building up your endurance through strength training.
Luckily, we put together a list of the best core workouts for strengthening our body’s literal center. And many of them are totally gym-free and can be done at home.
Check out these killer core workouts!
Seven Awesome Core Workouts To Try Today
Some of these core workouts may look easy, but we promise your core will definitely be engaged.
7. The Cat-To-Cow
Also known less eloquently as the Hairball Workout, this core workout is great because it targets your pelvis, abs, and back.
To do a cat-to-cow, start by getting on all fours. Your knees should be aligned with your hips and your hands should be flat on the ground in alignment with your shoulders.
Inhale while looking up and arching your back. Try to “lift” your coccyx and push your shoulders forward.
Exhale while pushing yourself away from the ground and arch your spine upwards, letting your head hang towards the floor. Typically, 10 reps of this is ideal.
It’s important to remember to breathe with this exercise as well.
6. Hip Bridges
Also known as the butt lift, this core workout is a staple in many professional trainers’ workout regime. The hip bridge can help strengthen your lower and upper back, abdominals, and glutes.
To do a hip bridge, lay flat on your back. It may be wise to use a workout or yoga mat for this one.
Bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the ground. Push your hips upward and tense your glutes. The goals is to make your stomach, pelvis, and top of the thighs straight.
Slowly bring yourself down. For starters, try doing ten reps or so.
5. Forearm Planks
Ah, the trusty plank. The mother of all core workouts.
Nothing wrecks your core, especially your abs, quite like the simple plank. Widely considered to be the most effective core exercise out there, the plank gets its full core-demolishing power by resisting movement and rest. The plank also comes in many varieties.
One particular variation of the plank is the forearm plank. This core workout is great because if you have a tendency to hurt your wrists while working out, you don’t need to use them at all.
To do a forearm plank, simply get into a pushup position. Instead of supporting your weight on your hands and wrists, support your weight with your forearms flat on the ground and upper arms perpendicular.
Keep your back and legs straight by tightening your core. Hold for about thirty seconds or so or until failure.
It’s important to stretch your shoulders before this exercise. Remember to tense your glutes as well.
You can do a side variation of this core workout as well facing the side and lifting one arm into the air.
4. The Plank Jack
Have you ever heard of a plank jack? It’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s a jumping jack mixed with a plank.
This may sound kind of silly, but the plank jack is actually a great way to target the legs and back with a bit of movement.
To do a plank jack, get into the regular plank position with your hands flat on the ground.
Jump your legs up and apart to form a V shape with your legs, then jump them back to the original position.
Do this for eight to ten reps. Remember to keep your shoulders parallel with your hands and stretch your shoulders well before starting this core workout.
3. The Mountain Climber
This core workout not only targets your full core and thighs, but it also serves as a great cardio workout as well.
To do a mountain climber, start off by getting into the pushup position. While squeezing your abdominals, lift a foot and bring it towards you, bending your knee near your chest.
Go back to the starting position and do the other leg. Ten reps is a good start for mountain climbers, but you need to go fast to get the cardio benefit.
For this particular core workout, your hands really need to be below your shoulders and you’ll need to actively try not to use your hips to take the brunt of the workout. It’s a core workout, remember that.
2. The Farmer’s Walk
This core workout is a great way to keep your back and posture in check.
To do a farmer’s walk, you’ll need a pair of fairly heavy dumbells or a carry bar.
Hold one in each hand and keep your arms at your sides. Straighten your legs, back, and abs. Pull your shoulders back and be mindful of your overall posture.
Walk approximately ten steps one way then ten steps back to your original position. Do this without deviating from your original posture.
1. The Basic Crunch
Whether you like doing crunches or not, you have to admit that they are versatile core workouts.
Got back problems? Try doing crunches on a yoga ball.
Want to target your lower abs? Try doing crunches and an incline.
The crunch is fairly easy to figure out. Lie flat on the ground with the knees bent and feet flat on the ground. With your hands behind your head, use your abdominal muscles to pull yourself up off the ground.
Try doing this ten to twenty times. Remember to not go all the way up into sit up territory, which can be harmful or strenuous on your back.
If you’re having trouble keeping your feet on the ground, try getting help from a friend or tucking your feet underneath something for more stability. You can mix up crunches quite a bit– if you want to target your love handles, try doing alternating crunches on either side of the body to target that area.
How was our guide to seven killer core workouts? Tell us about your favorite in the comments below.