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Best Core Exercises

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

Want to get lean, rock-hard abs but don't want to spend hours at the gym or loads of money on a trainer? Below are 5 quick, easy core exercises you can do at home to help you build a strong core and lean mid-section.

I love these exercises because they begin to burn the core muscles immediately, which tells you you're working your muscles from the first rep. Making each rep hurt helps target the muscle and make the exercise quick and effective.

If you're advanced or can do these exercises with ease, try adding some weight. Variations are also key when doing abdominal exercises, as it helps involve different muscles and keeps the exercises exciting. Try twisting, turning, or adjusting your repititions as indicated in each exercise guide below.

There is no wrong way to do these core exercises. If it hurts your abs, you're putting in work. However, follow the guides below and you'll get the most out of the core exercises and be on your way to lean, rock-hard abs. Build them into your regular workouts to see results over time.

1. Russian Twists: Russian twists build control of the core and target the obliques. To do them properly, keep your back straight and feet off the ground, and abdominals tucked towards your spine. Add variety and difficulty by cycling your legs or crunching or both.

2. Toes to the Sky: Toes to the sky work the lower abs near the waistline, helping to suck in the natural bulge in the belly. Start on your back with your legs perpendicular to your body, and reach your toes up, lifting your butt off the ground. Add variety by taking your feet all the way to the ground, then bringing them all the way back up and lifting to the sky. You can also bring your legs down to the sides, or twist at the top. The variations help work the full range of your core muscles.

3. Alternating Hands to Toes: Alternating hands to toes works the abdominals and obliques, as well as the quads and hip flexors. Start on your back with your arms extended above your head on the ground. Lift your left leg and right arm, touching at the top, then return to the starting position and do the same with the right leg and left hand.

4. Mountain Climbers: Everyone's favorite core exercise is mountain climbers. Mountain climbers is an extremely effective core exercise because they target the abdominals, obliques, lower back, and hip flexors. Did you know they also build strength in the chest, shoulders, and arms? Start in a plank position, and keep your back straight and head up. Bring one knee at a time to your chest. Do them fast or slow and controlled. Add variety by bringing your knees to same side elbow, or across your chest to the opposite side elbow.

5. Bird Dog Plank: The bird dog plank, and as I like to call it, the alternating abdominal stretch, stretches the core as opposed to contracting it. Start out in a plank position. Lift your right arm and left leg off the ground, and reach them up to the sky while keeping them straight. Aim to feel a stretch in your mid-section. Add variety by holding your leg and arm at the top. You can also modify the exercise by starting in a table-top position with your knees on the ground, or on your stomach. The bird dog plank builds control and stability for the entire body.

To see all the exercises, including varieties, check out the video below.

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