Best Core Exercises You're Not Doing...But Should from Best Core Exercises You're Not Doing...But Should

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

Everyone wants to wear the fitness badge of honor – a six pack. The good news is that everyone has it; it’s just hidden beneath all the fat. The bad news is that toning the muscles and losing the extra inches off your waist is actually hard work and it takes a lot of determination. “I see people approaching it in a way that rarely yields results,” Dustin Bogle, a fitness expert at Fit Body Boot Camp, says. “Performing hundreds and even thousands of crunches in an effort to trim your midsection can be a huge waste of time,” he adds.

CrossFit sit-ups

Progressing oneself to be able to do 20-30 full sit-ups on the floor in cross-fit style is the one best core exercises Tanner Schultz, personal trainer and owner at Functional Fitness, recommends to his clients. “My approach to doing full sit-ups is always a surprise to clients and it gives them hope,” he adds. The key is to do sit-ups correctly. Otherwise, they are not safe for your back. Keep your spine straight during the entire motion while contracting the abdominal muscles from full extension to full flexion. See how in this video.

Variations of planks

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“Planks work the entire abdominal wall,” Schultz says, which is why gym-goers should add them to their routine. You 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. They are some of the hardest abs exercises; however, people don’t usually do anything but the standard version. More effort is needed for a killer core

Stability ball pulses

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Some trainers recommend stability ball pulses as part of an effective upper body and core workout. They are also called prone plank pulses. You can see them in this video. Place your elbows and forearms under the shoulders in the middle of a stability ball. Squeeze your glutes and tighten the abs. Lift your body off the floor with your toes and forearms holding you up. Push hips toward the ceiling. Hold at the top of the motion for a moment.

Boat pose knee extensions

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This is also an isometric ab exercise that includes a dynamic component for the muscles of the lower abdominal muscles. Start in boat pose with your calves parallel to the ground. Gently lower the tips of your feet to the ground by flexing your knees. Tap the ground very lightly and then immediately extend your knees to return to the starting position. Repeat for 15-60 seconds.

Deadlifts

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The truth is, Bogle says, you can work your abs on every single exercise by bracing your abs. “Activate your core while you perform squats, presses or deadlifts and you will have sore abs for a couple days,” he adds. The deadlift is a very effective exercise for losing fat because it’s intense. Do it properly: Hold a bar or dumbbells at hip level; lower the bar as you move your butt back andkeep your back straight at all times, then return to the original position pushing your hips forward to stand up. 

Goblet squat with reaching out

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This is a lower-body exercise that increases strength in the legs. But if you hold a kettlebell or a weight to your chest and then push it out in front of your chest as you squat down as deep as you can, you’re going to feel the burn in your abs. Your arms should be fully extended and your back must be straight at all times or you risk injuring it. If your feet are turning out on the bottom of the squat, you can elevate the heels a little bit.

Bird dog

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It may not look like much, but this exercise will really work out your core. Start by getting on all fours. Your back should always be straight. Reach out with one hand and extend the opposite leg. Engage your abs to maintain balance. Hold for a few seconds and switch. Repeat each side about 15 times. Make it more difficult and do a Bird Dog plank, which is a little more challenging because you’re relying on your toes for support as opposed to your knee.

Walkouts

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This is a strength training exercise for intermediate level. It works the abs and obliques, in addition to the triceps and shoulders. It helps improve total core strength through an entire range of motion. Start by standing. Your feet should be a hip-width apart. Bend over and place your hands on the floor. Shift the weight onto your hands as you start moving them forward. Tighten your core and glutes. Always keep your back straight.

Russian twists

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Russian twists are a great bodyweight exercise that is far more superior and intense than crunches. It targets your oblique muscles. It’s ideal for people who are new at working out and want to target their core. Sit on the floor; bend your legs at the knees. Assume a V-shape from. Fully extend your arms. Twist your torso to each side and keep your arms parallel to the floor as you hold a medicine ball. Move your hands to the opposite hip but don’t let your shoulder blades drop.

Leg raises

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Lower-leg raises are great for the abs. McLean says. They are a great beginner’s strength exercise. “I like lowering the opposite leg to the ground because it’s low intensity,” he adds. Make it a little more challenging by adding weight by holding a dumbbell in between your feet.

U-Ups

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Begin lying on your back with your arms extended over your head. Keep your core tight and engage your abdominal muscles to lift your upper body off the ground, while also lifting your legs as high as you can to form an imaginary U shape. Pause for a beat and then slowly return to the starting position. Reach your fingers towards your toes for a V-shape exercise, which is also very difficult.

Burpees

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Burpees are one of the best exercises out there but they can  be very difficult. This is not a reason to skip them. “I have people do all the movements that put together the burpee, but slower and perhaps a few reps of each,” says Alayne Rowan, personal trainer and a fitness instructor. Begin standing, do 2-4 squats, and then place your hands on the ground or on an elevated step or box. Walk – don't jump – your feet back until you are in a plank position. Hold for 5 seconds and complete 2-4 push-ups. Hold plank again. Walk or step your feet wider than your hands and hold the low squat position (hips down chest up).

Rolling reach

The Roll Up works all four abdominal muscles at once. “I like to use a dumbbell or medicine ball and do it for 1 min,” Shane McLean, certified personal trainer at Balance Guy Training, says. 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.

Lifting weights with one arm

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Performing an exercise with the arms doesn’t mean the core is not activated. Many people do side bends, but McLean says he is not a fan. Many trainers do not and won’t ever recommend them to clients. “But I like lifting with one arm at a time.” When you work one hand, arm or a leg at a time, the opposite side has to stabilize so you don’t bend, which means your side muscles are hard at work, he adds.

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