5 Core Workouts to Do Right After Cardio

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The perfect workout regimen varies with every individual. How people should rotate cardio and strength training depends on several factors, mostly goals.

“Men often prefer to do weight training before cardio because there is some cardio in resistance exercises, and thus they burn more calories,” Babidiye Robinson, who has more than 30 years of experience providing fitness training, from Midtown Trainers, says.

See: Trainers Share the Top Weight Loss Mistakes People Make at the Gym

You may oxidize a little more fat during the cardio portion of your workout if it comes later, but you can’t do any high-intensity strength training if you don’t want to risk injuries. Most trainers prefer to start with some light jogging, biking or several minutes on the elliptical to warm up the muscles.

Pilates

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Pilates is a full-body workout with an emphasis on the core. “This is my favorite workout for the core,” Makato Robinson, also from Midtown Trainers, says. “It includes the entire abdominal wall and it doesn’t separate the muscles,” she adds.

Another plus is that Pilates consists of functional exercises. People use their own and do moves that improve the overall balance and coordination of the body. TRX programs are a good example of functional training as well. It focuses on strength exercises that increase endurance and flexibility so your body has a wide range of motion. All of this helps people perform everyday activities easier.

See: Try These Exercises to Enhance Your Flexibility

The workout is basically a series of movements that increase elasticity of the back, core, hamstrings and hips.

Planks

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Planks, an extremely effective isometric exercise, are great because they use your own bodyweight to maintain the stability of your entire core, which is exactly what the core muscles are supposed to do, and prevent back pain.

See: 15 Planks Variations for a Killer Core

Babidiye says that planks with the arms and legs fully extended are best for the core. The farther away you are from the center of the body, the more muscles you’re recruiting, making the move more difficult, she adds.  Planks are great because you maintain stability, which is exactly what the core muscles are supposed to do. Add leg movements to make a plank even more challenging, Babidiye says.

Roll up, roll down

The Roll Up works all four abdominal muscles at once. Trainers like to use a dumbbell or medicine ball and do it for 1 min.

See: Best Core Exercises You're Not Doing...But Should

Lay on your back with your arms over your head; bring them forward; roll your spine slowly, keeping your navel pulled into your spine; reach for the toes. Do at least 8-10 reps. You can see the exercise in this video.

“It’s important to work from the bottom up,” Makato says. “Go deep first and then to the surface. Otherwise you just work the top abdominal wall.”

Twisting

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“Any rotation exercises work the internal and external obliques, which are the muscles that shape your waist,” Babidiye says.

See: 16 Reasons Your Belly Fat Isn’t Going Away

Twisting exercises are also great for digestion. This is one of the top reasons why people like to do yoga. Compressing the colon in certain ways can really help the body get things moving.

Scissors

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This is a great exercise that works lower abdominals. Babidiye and Makato both highly recommend it. The key is to use your abs to lift the legs. Relax you back. “Fully extend your legs if you want to get more out of it,” Babidiye says.

See: 25 Abs Moves Anyone Can Do

Lie on your back with arms at your side; pull navel into the spine; lift both legs up at once until they are perpendicular to the floor; slowly lower back down. Do not let back arch up off the floor. Add a scissor kick vertically and horizontally up a few inches (legs stay straight and move up and down or side to side and crisscross each other). Repeat at least 15 times.

More readings:

The 25 Best Exercises to Tone Your Abs (and None of the Moves Are Crunches)

The Best Exercises You Can Legit Do at Your Desk

Workouts Top Trainers Do When They Only Have 15 Minutes

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