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Core Workout

Updated on July 20, 2012

It doesn't matter what you're training for or what your fitness goals are, you have to train your core. . It’s not enough to do just crunches and sit-ups. You have to train your abs, low back, hips and glutes to work together to build a solid base of support. These muscles make it possible for you to turn, bend, run, and stay strong throughout your day. Or when these muscles are weak, they’re the ones you can blame when you hurt your back or when you’re not able to produce enough power throughout your workout. The best core strengthening exercises are ones that work the torso as one solid unit and engage many muscles. Train your core with the following exercises three times a week and soon you’ll start to see the difference.

The first three exercises are static exercises, meaning there’s little movement involved. The constant tension forced upon your muscles creates muscle strength and endurance. The next three exercises are dynamic exercises, requiring you to move in order to build stability. Follow those exercises with four Swiss ball exercises, using the Swiss ball to create an unstable environment.

Number 1 - The Plank

This exercise works your entire core, and recruits some upper and lower body muscles. Lie down on your stomach. Lift your body off the floor with your forearms. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight position and hold for 15 seconds.

Number 2 - The Pushup Plank

A more challenging plank because you are in a pushup position with your weight resting on your hands. You are now engaging your chest and biceps more to support your core.

Number 3 - V-Sit Hold

This exercise targets your abdominal muscles and improves your balance. Lie on your back and bend at the waist as you extend your legs and arms into the air to form a “V”. Hold for 15 seconds.

Number 4 - Twisting Crunch

One of the most effective exercises, as well as one of the most challenging because it hits all of your stomach muscles. Lie down in a crunch position; raise your torso so your shoulders are off the ground and twist side to side.

Number 5 - Windshield Wipers

This is a challenging exercise. So build up to the full progression of it. Begin on your back with your arms extended and legs raised until they are perpendicular to the floor. Keeping your feet together, slowly lower your legs side to side. Keep your low back in contact with the floor.

Number 6 - Twisting Supermans

This exercise engages your low back so it is critical that you make sure you engage your abs and only go as far as you feel comfortable. Lie on your stomach. Raise your torso off the floor with your hands behind your head. At the top, twist your shoulder and head to one side, twist to the other side.

Number 7 - Plank on Swiss Ball

This variation on the twist engages more balance and stability muscles. It also engages the glutes and the hip muscles. There are two possible positions that you can perform this exercise and depending on which movement you choose you engage slightly different muscles. You can either place your forearms on the swiss ball with your feet on the floor or you can place your feet on the ball with your forearms on the ground.

Number 8 - Lying Glute Pushup

As in the name of this exercise, this move gets your butt and back muscles fired up. Lie on your back with your feet resting on top of a Swiss ball. Push down in your heels to raise your glutes off the floor as high as possible. Roll your feet out to form a straight line.

Number 9 - Ball Tucks

This move targets your main abdominal muscles and your upper body. Place your hands on the ground and slowly bring one foot on the ball, engage your core and place your other foot on the ball. Keep your hands in place and slowly bring the ball into your chest. Pike your hips to ceiling and then slowly roll the ball back out.

Number 10 - Swiss Ball Woodchop

This exercise if performed standing up. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart, holding the ball in front of you with straight arms. Rotate at the waist and bend the knees, swinging the ball close to the ground by your right foot. Twist the ball back up and rotate to the other side.

Number 10 - Swiss Ball Woodchop

This exercise if performed standing up. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart, holding the ball in front of you with straight arms. Rotate at the waist and bend the knees, swinging the ball close to the ground by your right foot. Twist the ball back up and rotate to the other side.

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    • jbrock2041 profile imageAUTHOR

      jbrock2041 

      6 years ago from Park City, UT

      Thanks Patty for your comments. Sometimes the pictures are the hardest part.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 

      6 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Interesting and Useful for those looking to stay in shape!! Great Pictures too!!

    • jclaffee profile image

      Jesse Claffee 

      6 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      Excellent Hub! Isometric contractions (performed in exercises like the plank) are often overlooked. You've done a great job at depicting these neglected exercises and explaining why they're vital. You obviously know your stuff. Thanks!

    • susiebrown48 profile image

      susiebrown48 

      6 years ago from Clearwater, FL

      Well - written, good advice. I personally am amazed at how long a minute can seem when you are in the plank position. The time goes so slowly!

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