If you thought you needed a fancy machine for a strong core, then think again.
Just because you may not be able to drop to the floor in a split second to do 50 crunches doesn’t mean that you should ignore your core! A strong midsection is not all about having rock hard six-pack abs. Every time you do laundry, carry groceries, or get out of bed in the morning you are relying upon your core to be the centerpiece of your strength.
It is very common for those that don’t do core often to have a lot of upper back tension or even lower back issues since your core is located in your posterior chain. By strengthening your core, your chest will be more upright and your spine will be strong, which will relieve some pressure on the remaining portion of your back.
Whether you are just beginning to shine a spotlight on getting more fit after taking some time off or are just a fitness newbie, forming a solid core will boost your stability, balance, and overall posture. Our team at Relentless Fitness has done some research and came up with some of the best core exercises for beginners that will allow yours to build strength for more advanced activities.
Bird Dog Crunch
Targets: Abs, Hamstrings, Shoulders, and Glutes
If you haven’t learned this already, stronger abs don’t just happen overnight. Before you give this exercise a go, it is so important to activate your core. Start on the floor on all fours with your hands directly positioned underneath your shoulders with your hips in a perfect line with your knees. This will be your starting position. To begin, lift your right hand and extend it straight out in front of you while keeping it at shoulder height. At the same time, lift your left leg and extend it straight back until your body is a perfect line. This line should stem from your right fingertips to left toes. Once you feel comfortable, bring your left leg down to touch your right elbow underneath your stomach. Extend your leg and arm out again and then repeat this using your opposite arm and leg. Five reps of each side is the perfect exercise to kick off strengthening your core!
Having trouble? If this exercise is too difficult for you just starting off, simply lower your arm and leg as low as you can until you are able to raise your arms and legs up and down to the floor.
Targets: Abs, and possibly Hip-Flexors
If sit-ups are performed incorrectly, they can cause much more pain than they are actually worth. To start, sit on the floor with your knees bent and your heels touching the floor and your hands positioned on either side of your head. Lie back until your back is flat on the floor and then ride back up with your heels still on the floor and your knees bent. Continue this for 1 minute and then repeat again! Start with 3 rounds at first and then build up from there!
Having Trouble? Is keeping your core and back engaged a difficult task? Slowly lower yourself as far as you can without discomfort and then work up to lowering all the way down to the floor. Until you have flawless form, there is no need to go all the way back.
Modified Bicycle Crunch
Targets: Obliques, Rotational Muscles
For this exercise you will begin in the same position as you would for a traditional sit-up, sitting with your knees bent and heels flat on the floor. Position your hands on either side of your head
and then bring your right knee and left elbow towards one another. With a simple and gentle twist, return to your starting position and then repeat the same movement with your left knee and right elbow. Continue this exercise for a minute straight and then take a 20 second break to recover. Repeat the exercise for 3 times at first and then build! Before you know it you will have the strength to do 7 or maybe even 8 rounds!
Having trouble? This is simply a more difficult sit-up, so if this movement is tough practice on perfecting the sit-up!
Standing Bicycle Crunch
Targets: Obliques, Rotational Muscles
This is truly a fun one and an exercise that can be completed anywhere, especially if traditional crunches are not your cup of tea. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands placed directly behind your head, with your core engaged, raise your right knee and lower your left elbow toward each other. Return to the starting position and then repeat this on the opposite side. Once you complete five reps take a little break and then repeat 3 times.
Having trouble? If maneuvering your upper body downwards is too hard, simply lift your knee to your chest while keeping your upper body still. Alternate your legs while doing this and before you know it your core will become stronger and stronger!
Since your core muscles are truly the powerhouse of your body, strengthening them is so very important! Just take 15 minutes out of your day to practice these exercises and before you know it your balance, stability, posture, and strength will increase. For more tips, just reach out to our team who can coach you through any and all workouts!