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5 great Core Exercises

Updated on May 29, 2014

When I think of the core muscles group, I think abdomen. But the abdominal muscles are only a very small group of the core muscles. Still, it is a great place to start. When you think "core", think about an apple. Where would it be without its core, its center? Our core muscles extend from the hip to the shoulder, They are what keeps us upright and able to move on two feet. When strengthened, these muscles help control movements, transfer energy and shift body weight and provide support.

Why core?

For me, I feel that everything starts in my stomach. It is my center and the part that sits closest to my heart. When I internalize, it is in my stomach. When I am nervous or scared, I feel it in my stomach. When i am happy or excited, i feel it...guess where? My stomach.! Keeping this and the physical factors listed above in mind, know that strengthening your core muscles, can also help you to strengthen your core, your being. i have used the princilples of strenght training to get me through a difficult or frightening time. I am a person who tends to hyper-ventilate in extremely stressfull situations. Learning and practicing core exercises has really helped me to regulate my breathing. And then there is Yoga and Pilates as well as Martial Arts. All are core oriented. All are disciplined. I for one, enjoy the structure and discipline, not to mention the added benefits of being fit!

Number 1

The basic plank position is a great way to start your exercise routine and get you warmed up. it is something that can be done daily and takes no prep or equipment. Even when I am in a hurry, I plank for one minute!

Benefits? Try it and see how many muscle groups you are using! Great for the abdominals, shoulders and legs. Good for learning control.


Number 2

Squats

There are several different types of squats you can do but for the best results, you can do Full Squat Lifts. Before you do these, please check with a trainer. If you are a beginner or doing this at home, you can use light or no weights. I do several different types of squats and I do use a light weight bar, as well.

Benefits?

Buns of steel, of course! Among others, including thigh, calf and back strength.

Number 3

V sits.

V sits can be done with knees bent or legs straight. Some people like to hold weights for added strengthening. You begin in a sitting position and raise your legs. Hold for several seconds, bring them down slowly and repeat. These are great for strengthening your spine and help maintain good posture.

Benefits?

strong abs, obliques and hip flexibility

Number 4

Hip lift

Again, several variations but the basic premise is to lay on your back and slowly lift your hips off the floor, holding them up for several seconds.Slowly roll them back down and repeat. Some people do these by bring their legs up and some keep their feet flat on the floor.

Benefits?

abs and obliques.

Number 5

Lunge twists.

Again, there are several variations. Some people do these with free weights or a medicine ball. Other people do these with body weight only. Some people walk with these lunges, others are stationary.

Benefits?

quads, gluteus and core

These are only 5 core exercises. there are many more that can be done and each of these have several variations. In addition, there are many different exercises that are not catagorized as core exercises but are still important to do in order to maintain good physical fitness.

Enjoy a little workout music!

Disclaimer

I am not a fitness expert and am presenting these simply as exercises that I personally like and do. If you are just starting out with an exercise routine, please check with your doctor and consult a fitness trainer before you work out. These can be dangerous to your health and can cause severe damage if done incorrectly. My personal routine was developed by a trainer.

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    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Cathy for checking out my hub! You are right. These are fairly doable. Thanks so much for the vote and share!!

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 5 years ago from NJ

      Great information, not overwhelming and informative. I am sure this information will help many people.

      voted up and shared!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thanks, Bill, for checking. I have been a little busy at work and will be until the beginning of January. Today was my big OneSight event so I will be writing about that soon!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I hadn't see anything by you in a few days, so thought I would check to see if I missed anything...turns out I didn't. :) Hope you are well.

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, grumpiornot, for stopping by and reading and commenting. Not sure if I am "normal" but I am definitely not a fitness teacher!!

    • grumpiornot profile image

      grumpiornot 5 years ago from South Africa

      Great article - the fact that you are not a fitness teacher adds value to your writing in my opinion because it educates from the perspective of a "normal" person rather than a fitness professional. Thanks!

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      It's crazy isn't it, Amy? How easily we can break. Abs are critical and mine are a soft mushy wreck right now :( Thank you so much for stopping by! I always love to se your pretty fave here on my hubs and always appreciate your input. When I read your comment i was reminded of something one of my docs taught me a long time ago. Unfortunately, I only remember to do it every couple of years and for some reason have never turned it into a regular routine. Maybe that will be a new goal for me! But basically all it is, is tightening and loosening your stomach muscles. He recommended using the time we sit at stoplights to time it!

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I never realized, Randi, how much the abdominal muscles support the back until I tore a ligament in my lower back while working out with too much weight. During the acute phase of pain, which lasted roughly 2 years (really), I was unable to exercise, as everytime I tried, I ended up where I started...in pain. A vet who treated my dog and who had injured his back, told me to start strengthening my abs and to concentrate on holding them taut until it became habit. Now, whenever I have a flare up, I think about what he told me and as soon as I tighten my abs, my back recovers quickly. Human nature being what it is, I get sloppy. Your excellent article is a reminder and I am holding my abs taut as I leave you this comment. Awesome information, Randi!

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you Valleypoet for reading and your great comments! You hit the nail on the head....focus. It's all about focus! Thank you for your votes! :)

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 5 years ago

      A great hub...I have read previously that core exercises are really important and require a lot of focusing on, especially in the beginning when you first start out...I have never fully understood the reason why...until now..thank you for sharing...voted up:-))

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Dale

      Thank you! I couldn't agree with you more on all of your obsevations. I will add one more to your first comment, as well. For me, core exercises helped not only in a physical sense but they made me feel sexier because I was more confidant!

      Thank you so much for your support!

      Randi

    • Inspired to write profile image

      Dale J Ovenstone 5 years ago from Wales UK

      btrbell Great hub

      Incidentally, core exercises are also essential for sexuality, in other words, strengthening below the belt line as well as above & for keeping energy moving (instead of stale, built up & static old stuck energy) throughout your body, especially the lower extremities & internal organs adding vibrancy & vitality to those areas, also essential for digestion of food intake.

      It's great that you mention about times you have experienced 'freight or nervousness' core exercise helps deal with the emotional aspects of your turmoil by focusing into the pit of your stomach with the idea of concentrating your breathing to remain/regain calmness & collectedness, allowing your emotional state, & therefore, your physical reactions & responses to aid you in a more valuable way within such run or fight incidences, very helpful article indeed thanks for sharing.

      Regards Dale

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Martin for reading and commenting! Swimming is a great way to stay in shape. Are you able to swim now?

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for sharing this. With a pool 4 block away. I was a swimmer.

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Bill! You have a great weekend, as well!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent suggestions! I do these as part of the yoga I do, so I'm covered.

      Have a great weekend Randi!

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks for the reply btrbell- in looking for success on a site like hubpages it's not the internal viewing figures who will be your long term source of traffic- but search engines such as Google which can help develop your hubs into an income over time.

      I far that you'll have to start again from scratch with your images

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      CyclingFitness, thank you for reading my hub. I'm sorry,I don't know what type of success you are referring to. This hub is part of a series on the exercise and fitness in general and myself in specific. I appreciate your taking the time to read my humble hub. I will definitely checkout those hubs on citing sources, thank you.

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      lol! They are! My one minute planking is the looongest minute ever!

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Nice hub although while the info is ok I fear that it has been done so many times and on so many websites that your chance of success may be limited.

      A lot of people confuse doing core exercises with doing sit-ups as core work is often more regarding stability and functional movement patterns than sculpting the perfect 6 pack.

      Please Be aware - You cannot simply state 'Google Images' as the source as you will likely be stealing someone elses images that they have either paid for or generated themselves and thus have copywrite (I also have a feeling your V Sit chosen picture isn't actually a V Sit). There are a number of hubs on hubpages that will show how to correctly source and cite the sources of images.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Let me try again--that being said, they are difficult!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      "being"

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      That beinf said, I must say--they are difficult!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Hi Gypsy! Planks are my definite go to exercise. I was also using lunges quite a bit both walking and solitary but since I have broken my foot, i can't put as much weight on that ankle :( thank you for reading and for your votes!

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 5 years ago

      Useful hub. I started doing planks a few months ago and it has made a difference. I still have a problem with lunges though but I will keep at it. Voted up and useful.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Audrey! Not to worry. Core exercises are pretty much the same things we've been doing for years but with a newer age name! Good for you for doing them!

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you Ruchira! I have found that for me, when I can bring meaning and purpose to something, it just works better!

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Sorry Melissa (not Nelissa!)

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Hey Carol, thank you! I agree! I must do them in the morning or I won't do them later. Added bonus? They get me up and moving and more inclined to eat a healthy breakfast! Thank you for the votes and share!

    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Cris...so happy to see you here. I am glad these seem good for you! I will be sharing more and I look forward to havin a new workout buddy! Thank you so much for your votes and your enthusiasm!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Whew! I was relieved to see that I do most of these!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      I agree with your logic about training those core muscles.

      Am aware of some of them, thus will bring them in my everyday stretches. Thank you for this awareness hub.

      voted up and interesting!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      These are great so I am bookmarking and going to do them every day. For me I need to do them every morning before I get busy with other things. Thanks for the great pictures. Voting up and Sharing.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Nelissa, thank you so much for visiting! I agree, so much of this can be done while you watch tv. I keep my hand weights right on the coffee table so I can easily grab them.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Great tips! Absolutely sharing, pinning and printing for myself. I need to work on this. I honestly have been neglecting to exercise (and too much junk and convenient food) and I can feel the need now...this hub is perfect timing.

      Voting up and useful. Thanks Rand.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 5 years ago from Minnesota

      These are great core exercises and you have really good photos. I like the fact that they don't require any special equipment AND if I clear out enough space in front of my couch....I can do them in front of the tv! I already have the bad habit of watching too much tv, so I might as well do something useful while I'm watching!