How often do you work your core?
It is recommended that you do core exercises at least 2 times a week.
Working your core muscles is just as important as exercising other muscle groups and definitely deserves your attention.
So many folks completely skip core because it's fairly difficult, or think that it's not needed. However, there are many reasons why you need to exercise this muscle group.
We're going to break down the best core workouts that will be sure to help you build up a solid core. Not only because it looks good, but because you need a strong core for many reasons!
Why Do I Need a Strong Core?
It's important to have a strong core because your body needs it! This muscle group is often forgotten about or thrown to the back burner, but there are so many benefits to working this muscle group!
Improved mobility and balance:
-You probably don't think about it, but you use your core muscles far more often than you think.
-Let's name a few. You use your core muscles when sitting up on the couch, a chair, getting out of bed, going to the bathroom, keeping your balance when walking, standing, bending over, and so much more.
-The core is key to your body moving, standing, sitting, and keeping your body stable.
Better at Physical Activities:
-It's also important to have a strong core if you enjoy physical activities and sports.
- Think about it, if you play golf, softball, baseball, soccer, football, or swimming, you are using your core muscles. The better your core, the better you will perform because almost every sport uses core muscles in key movements.
-In golf, softball, or baseball you use your core to swing the bat.
In soccer, football, or swimming you use your core to keep your balance whether you're running, or performing swim strokes in the water.
Improves Your Exercise At The Gym
- If your core is built up and strong you will be able to lift more at the gym.
-It can also help you avoid injury when lifting heavy.
-Think about it, you use your core for stability during almost any lift that you do. The stronger the core, the better you will be perform.
-Your cardio will also be improved because not only will you have a strong stability and balance, but you will be able to perform cardio for longer. When you move, your core muscles naturally are being worked. If they are strong, you will be able to exercise longer.
Good Posture And a Healthy Back
-A strong core will lead to good posture and a healthy back.
-In order to sit up straight or walk without slouching, you need to have a strong core. By having strong core muscles, leading to good posture, you will have a healthy back because poor posture and weak abs often lead to lower back and spine issues.
- If you have back pains and slouch all the time, consider strengthening your abs and see what happens!
Improved Job Tasks and At-Home-Chores
-Another benefit to having fit abs is the improvement of your job tasks and your ability to do chores or yard work better.
-Many people have to lift things, bend over, sit upright, or stand for long hours on the job. This can be fairly exhausting if you're out of shape. By strengthening your core, each of your job duties will seemingly get easier and you'll feel less fatigued!
- Your chores at home will also be easier for you. Whether you're cutting the grass, trimming bushes, mulching, cleaning the house, vacuuming, etc. Your life will be easier if you have a fit core. Like I've talked about, it is your core muscles that dictate the difficulty of your movements and stability. The stronger the core, the easier your daily chores will be.
You Look Better!
- Of course, another benefit to working your core muscles, is to look better.
- Since 5th grade, everyone and their cousin has wanted to have abs. Well, you have to work to get them. Not only do you have to work your ab muscles, but you also have to have a low body fat by eating in a calorie deficit. If you don't know how to eat in a calorie deficit, revisit an earlier article of mine.
Exercises to Strengthen Core
Now that we've talked about all the reasons why you should be adding core exercises to your lifts, let's talk about how you can work this muscle group.
First, when should you be hitting your core?
It truly doesn't matter.
I prefer to hit my core at the end of 1-2 of my workouts during the week. If you prefer to hit your core at home or before bed, then do it! Do whatever works best for you! Because the cool thing about strengthening your core, is that you can do it almost anywhere. You don't need a gym membership to work this muscle group.
Hanging Knee Raises or Lying Knee Raises
The concept of this exercise is as easy as it sounds, but trust me, it'll be tough to perform.
-Hanging Knee Raises
In order to perform hanging knee raises, you must be hanging from a pull up bar, or something that's in the air.
While hanging by your arms, you must use your core muscles as to bring your knees-up to chest height level. The key is to slowly bring your knees back down in a controlled motion for a full pinch.
Avoid swinging your body around because this will take away from the amount of core muscle you use.
-Lying Knee Raises
Unlike hanging knee raises, this can be performed anywhere. Find a comfy spot on the ground and do a similar concept as above.
The goal is to lay flat with your legs fully extended. Next, slowly bring your knees-up and towards your chest. You will then want to slowly extend your legs back to being straight. Again, this ensures you are fully pinching and utilizing your core.
For this exercise, you will want to lay on your back with your knees bent upward and your feet flat on the ground.
Place your hands on your head (I hold mine near my temple region) and only using your core muscles, lift your body to your knees and slowly bring your body back down. This is one crunch.
If you want to make this workout more difficult, hold a weighted medicine ball or dumbbell to increase tension on your core.
In order to perform a plank, you will start by laying on your stomach. Next, you will lift yourself up by placing you elbows and forearms to
the floor, and by using the tips of your toes. By keeping your back straight, this should create a lot of tension on your core. Hold this for as long as you can.
A plank is a very effective core workout and if done correctly can use almost all of your ab muscles!
Ab Wheel Roll Out
This is one of my favorite core exercises. Unfortunately, you will need to have an ab wheel to perform this one.
If you have an ab wheel, great! Let's get started.
To begin this exercise, I want you to kneel. Yes, be on your knees almost like you're going to bow down to a king. Hold the ab wheel in front of you with both hands and slowly wheel it away from you, while staying on your knees. After you slowly wheel it out, similarly, bring the wheel back to starting position as slow as you can. By performing these exercises slowly it makes sure you are working your core to full potential.
Add Core Exercises To Your Arsenal!
Hanging knee raises, crunches, planks, and ab wheel rollouts are my favorite core exercises. If you perform each of these at least twice a week, your core strength will rise very quickly.
There are so many benefits to having a strong core as we already talked about, so just give it a try and see how it changes your life!
Not only will you look good, but you will have stability and balance unlike ever before!
If these exercises don't work for you, don't sweat it!
There are so many core workouts out there. Just find what works for you, as this works for me!
What are your favorite ab exercises? Have you tried any of these?
Comment below and share!
Founder of myshakercup.com