Core strength isn’t just about getting a sleek and sexy six pack — it’s the foundation for the strong and efficient movement of your entire body. We’re not just talking abs here. Your core is basically all of the muscle groups from your sternum to your pelvis. Training them can help relieve back and neck pain, improve balance, prevent injury, and can even strengthen your respiratory system! Check out our Strong Core Showcase for some of our favorite exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home — no gyms or equipment needed!
These beauties are killer on the lower abdominals and obliques. Begin by sitting on your sits bones with your upper body lifted at a 45 degree angle to make a V shape with your thighs. You can keep your feet planted on the floor or raise your legs parallel to the floor. Press your palms together in front of your chest or stretch them out forward towards your knees. Then rotate your torso to the right, back to center, then to the left, and back to center. This is one rep — do two to three sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Flatten your lower abs with leg lifts — Start by laying on the ground propped up on your elbows with your legs straight in front of you. Keeping your legs straight and toes pointed, lift them as high as you can or until they are perpendicular to the floor. You can lift both legs at once or alternate one at a time. For a bonus thigh toner you can also do this exercise while criss crossing your feet as you lift and lower. Don’t let your feet touch the ground while you’re completing your set! Do two to three sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Lie on the floor with your arms reaching forward and your legs in the air with knees at a 90 degree angle. Now begin extending your right arm overhead while lowering your left leg over the ground. Then alternate sides with your left arm stretched overhead and your right leg straight out. This is one rep. Do two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Get ready to feel sore all over because you’re about to climb a mountain. Begin in plank pose. Then bend your right knee and bring it as close as you can to your right elbow. Return to plank pose and then repeat on the left side. So simple yet so effective — do two to three sets of 8 to 15 reps.
Bird Dog Crunch
The Bird Dog Crunch is a kind of modified version of the Mountain Climber. In this exercise you begin on your hands and knees in table top pose. Then, like the mountain climber, you bring your right knee to your right elbow, return to tabletop, and then repeat on the other side. It’s a little bit easier to do while still being super effective on your obliques. We recommend the same number of sets and reps for this one.
Mountain Climber Twist
Speaking of obliques — here’s another modification to our favorite Mountain Climber! Beginning in plank pose, bring your right knee to the opposite elbow, and return to plank. Then repeat on the other side. This one’s a bit more challenging so start out with 8 to 10 reps per set — 2 to 3 sets.
Admittedly this one may be the most challenging of all the exercises in our showcase — but we also think it’s the most fun to do! Begin in plank pose either on your hands or on your forearms. Then, like you’re doing a jumping jack, separate your feet with a hop and bring them back together. If this is a bit too challenging, you can also modify it by stepping your feet apart and then back together again. It’s still a great core workout as long as you focus on keeping your back straight!
We hope our Strong Core Showcase has inspired you to try some new and fun moves to shake up your workout! You don’t need to rely on boring old crunches to improve your core performance and get the six pack of your dreams.