You're likely to be bored if you have been doing nothing but planks and crunches for your core, and that will cause all your progress in the ab department to stop. Core training is like all other body parts. Variety is key, both in terms of the programming and the exercises. This article will provide both.
Although these eight exercises may be a bit more difficult than others, they still deliver real results. You can add one or more of these exercises to your core routine, or you can try one of the four quickie workouts to quickly trim your waistline.
1. Standing Resistance-Band Twist
Standing on the end of a resistance bracelet, with your feet slightly wider than your hips, and core braced, place your hands on the ground. Grab the middle of the resistance band with your right hand.
As you extend your arms out in front of your body at shoulder height, actively pull the band apart while twisting your torso as far as possible to the right. Slowly return back to the beginning. Do all the reps on one side and then switch sides.
Core Cues To increase tension, choke on the band to make the music shorter/more difficult.
"You can also add [an extra element of] balance to the exercise by elevating your heels off the ground," Tracey Mallett (creator of Pilates Barre On Demand and BootyBarre) says.
2. Oblique Crunch and Twist
Standing with your feet slightly wider than your hips, your toes pointed outwardly, bend your knees and form a shallow squat. Your left hand should be placed behind your head with your elbow extended. Now, extend your right arm out to the side, about shoulder height. Keep your hips and shoulders straight, and bend your right arm to the side so that your right ankle touches your left. Return to the beginning, then turn your torso right to reach your arm behind your back. Return to the middle. Do all the reps on one side and then switch sides.
Core Cue Hold a dumbbell in your extended hand to make this move more difficult, Mallett suggests.
3. Clam Side-Plank Hold
Your left side should be flat, with your elbow under your shoulder and your right hand on the hip. To lift your hips and legs into a side plank, bend your knees 90 degrees. While keeping your feet together, simultaneously lift your right knee and make a clam. Tend for 10 seconds and then lower to the ground. Do all the reps on one side and then switch sides.
Core Cue Lift your hips forward and lift your legs into side plank.
4. Plank for Head, Shoulders (HSKT), Knees, and Toes
With your hands under your shoulders, hold a plank and keep your hips, hips, and heels aligned. As you hold the plank, tap each other's head once with each of your hands. Next, tap your opposite shoulder with each hand. Next, place your left knee under you and tap it with the right hand. Next, pull your left knee under you and tap your toes using your right hand.
Core Cue Keep your hips low and square when reaching under yourself.
Summer Montabone says that changing your foot position can make this move easier. The wider your feet are, the more stable it will feel. The closer your feet are, the more difficult it is.
5. March Banded Reverse Plank
Place your hands behind you and tie a resistance band around both of your feet. With your fingers in front, place your hands behind your head and drive your hips towards your feet. As you hold this position, move one knee in front of the other and keep your feet flexed.
Core Cue To keep your hips from sliding, squeeze your glutes.
6. Plank Step-Through, Kick
With your hands under your shoulders, hold a high plank position with your hips, heels and head aligned. Your right foot should be raised to the side of your right leg, with your right foot touching your left foot. Keep your right knee bent and your foot flat. Now lift your right leg and pivot on your left hand. Next, pull your left leg under you. Keep your left leg extended straight ahead, about an inch from the ground. You can reverse the steps and return to the beginning.
Core Cue Start slowly and increase your speed as you learn the pattern.
With your arms extended and legs bent into an X, lie face up. Your lower back should be pressed into the floor. Brace your core and then raise your legs a few inches off the ground. As you hold this position, alternately reach your opposite hands to your opposite feet and touch them above your midline.
Core Cue One common error is to allow your lower back to touch the floor. This could lead to back strain. If you feel your form is slipping, rest for a moment, then re-position yourself.
8. Figure 8 of the Kettlebell
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, place your kettlebell in front of you. Your glutes should be pushed back. Next, bend your knees and do a half-squat to grab the kettlebell with your right hand. As you move the kettlebell under your right leg, keep your back straight. Keep your chest up and lift your head. The kettlebell should be wrapped around your leg from the front. Next, bring it back under your legs and then pass it to your right. For more reps, wrap the kettlebell around your leg to the front. Next, turn it under you and back through.
Core Cue You should use enough momentum to keep your kettlebell moving, but not too much so that it pulls you from your position.
4 Quick Core Workouts
1. Xtreme Tabata
The following exercise should be completed in 8 rounds.
The first Oxygen Mag article was 8 Out-of the-Box Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
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