How to get a Strong Core | Top 6 Core Workouts to Get Fit
How to Build Strong Core Muscles, The Best Six Core Workouts to Get Fit
Have you ever tried to build a strong core and realised how boring some of the methods can be, whether its the ab wheel, endless sit up's or crunches its hard to stay motivated when it comes building core muscles and toned abs.
Its also important to see the benefits of a strong core, its not all about having a six patch or washboard stomach.
A six-pack may look great on the surface, but in order to have strong core muscles, you need to focus on more than just the abs. The obliques (muscles at the sides of the abs), lower back, and glutes all work together to form a kind of corset around the midsection, keeping the body stable creating a strong core while working out.
What are the Benefits of a strong core?
The core and supporting core muscles are the foundation of your body. It is the base of all movement and stability. A strong core can help you to improve your posture, reduce back pain, prevent injuries, and increase your athletic performance.
A strong core also helps to improve other areas of your fitness as well such as gaining muscle mass or losing weight, and strengthening your core will help to build a better foundation for more complicated exercises like squats and deadlifts.
What muscles make up your Core?
The rectus abdominis is the core muscle that makes up the six-pack on your abdomen. It’s a long, flat muscle that runs down the center of your stomach and along both sides of your spine.
The transverse abdominis is an important muscle to know about because it is one of the muscles that helps to stabilise the spine. The transverse abdominis can be thought of as a corset for the spine, and it is sometimes called “the corset muscle”.
The external obliques are the core muscles that run down the side of the abdomen and help to stabilize the torso. They also work with other muscles to twist, bend and rotate your trunk.
The internal obliques are muscles that are located on the side of the abdomen and wrap around the body. They help to rotate and flex the trunk, which is why they're also known as "side-benders."
The quadratus lumborum is a muscle that connects the iliac crest of the pelvis to the 12th rib. The quadratus lumborum muscle is important for stabilizing your body during movement, and it's often used when you need to lift something heavy or bend down to pick something up.
Hip flexors are the muscles that bring your thigh towards your torso. They are located on the front of the hip joint and they attach to the iliac crest and pubic bone.
The main function of hip flexors is to move your thigh forward, backward, or to rotate it inward or outward. Hip flexors also stabilize your pelvis during walking and running.
The Best ways to build a strong core?
It goes without saying to build a great core and abdominal area your doing to have to strengthen all parts of your bodies core undertaking core exercises and building and training each muscle to get the very best results.
We have created a list of some of the best core exercises to undertake that will ensure you engage your core properly improving deep core muscles to build a solid entire core strength during your core training.
Here are six amazing core exercises to build a strong and toned core:
1: The Plank
The plank exercise can be done at any fitness level and is one of the very best exercises for strengthening your core and back muscles, which comes in handy when trying to perform other core exercises that require a lot of core strength, such as a squat or pull up.
It also come with a range of other benefits such as improved arm, chest, and shoulder strength.
How to undertake a plank exercise?
When doing the plank, make sure your shoulders are in line with your heels and your elbows are beneath your shoulders. This will help you avoid arching your back. It's important to stay relaxed and breathe while doing this so you don't get too tense. The goal is not to squeeze but to stay braced whilst you engage your core at the high plank position.
Plank exercise steps
- Lay on your front with your feet together and straight legs
- Push up with your hands
- Bring your arms under your chest so that your elbows are at a 90 degree angle
- Create a straight line from your shoulders to your heels
- Keep good tone and hold tight your abdominal muscles
- Breath in a controlled manner and hold for as long as possible
2: Side Plank Dips
The side plank core exercise with additional of side dips is a great way to improve core strength, working both the internal obliques, external obliques and the hip flexors, it is a great way to get those toned side abs everyone wants.
This exercise also works your shoulders, glutes and quads, giving you a well-rounded workout that is great to improve you overall body health.
How to undertake a plank exercise?
The side plank dip is a great way to work on your core and your obliques. To perform this exercise, you will need to start in the side plank position. Then slowly lower your body down until you are parallel to the floor, and then raise yourself back up.
Side plank & dip steps
- Start by getting into a plank position, but on your side.
- Put on of your elbows on the floor and brace those abs.
- From this position, touch your left hip to the floor then return back to starting position. This counts as one rep.
- Work the other side by touching your right hip to the floor and return back to starting position.
- Complete 10 reps then change to another side.
3: Deadbug Exercise
This is a great way to fire up your core muscles. By contracting your lower abs, hip flexors, quadratus lumborum, rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis muscles.
The dead bug is a very simply exercise and one which will allow you smooth and controlled movements which often bring bigger gains and development of your core strength.
Deadbug's do require a bit of coordination, but with a bit of practice you'll be able to do them with ease.
How to undertake a dead bug exercise?
Coordination is key with the dead bug exercise and you will want to workout in a slow and controlled manner to get the very best from the exercise, helping to build core strength across the whole abdomen area.
Have a look at the following video to see how the dead bug exercise works
Dead bug exercise steps
- Lay flat on your back on the floor, preferably using a yoga mat.
- Extend one arm straight behind you just above the ground, whilst simultaneously stretching the opposite leg out so its hovering just above the ground.
- Bring your arm and leg back to the middle with your other arm and opposite leg.
4: Mountain Climbers
This exercise is not only great for creating defined abs its also great at improving your whole core strength and improving your upper body tone with condition benefits for your legs and shoulders.
Mountain climbers are an excellent exercise because they target so many different muscle groups at once. They are also easy to do and they can be done by anyone of any fitness level - you just have to make sure that you go slow enough so that you don't put too much strain on your joints.
How to undertake mountain climbers exercise?
Mountain climbers are a pretty simple exercise to undertake and should come as second nature they are often called hill climbers instead which is because its almost like your climbing a hill at the angle you undertake them at.
Its key to up the temp with this exercise and as such they should really be called mountain joggers.
Mountain climbers exercise steps
- Start by pulling your right knee into your chest.
- Then, switch legs and do the same thing with your left knee.
- Remember to keep your hips down as you run your knees in and out as far and as fast as possible.
- Alternate between inhaling and exhaling with each leg change.
5: Glute Bridge Exercise
Glute bridges or hip raises are a popular exercise that can be performed anywhere. They are not only beneficial for your glutes but also for your core, lower back, and hamstrings which help to make hip raises an ideal workout for improving lower body strength and balance.
Glute bridge are a great way to improve the strength of your lower core and upper legs, which will bring a range of balance and strength benefits. Glute Bridges can be performed without weights simply by lying on the floor or by using weights such as a barbell.
How to undertake a glute bridge?
Hip raises or thrusts are very easy to perform, but it makes a massive different when you complete them in the proper way, improver technique can risk back problems, so lets see how to undertake a glute bridge.
Glute bridge exercise steps
- Start by lying on your back flat on your yoga mat
- Keeping your shoulders and Feet flat on the floor
- Lift your hips towards the celling in a controlled manner
- If using weights hold the bar across your hips to add resistance
- Then lower yourself back to the starting position
- Aim to complete 8-12 reps over several sets
6: Reverse Crunch Exercise
The reverse crunch is an excellent starting exercise to help strengthen and tone the lower abdominal muscles. It's a great way to get your legs involved in the workout while also targeting that hard-to-tone area. Additionally, this move will lead into more difficult progressions like leg raises, hanging leg raises, and eventually, toes to bar.
It works in the opposite way of a normal crunch your going to essentially raise your legs rather than your shoulders. Let find out how to do this exercise.
How to undertake a reverse crunch?
Standard crunches aren't the best when it comes to core strength building, they tend to put too much strain onto the lower back without actually exercising the core muscles.
Reverse crunches are a much better exercise for improving core strength and developing abdominal muscle, and they are pretty simple to undertake utilising many of the same methods of the standard crunch, let see how they are undertaken.
Reverse crunch exercise steps
- Start by lying on your back with your knees slightly bent and your legs hovering above the floor
- Keep your shoulders and arms straight and on the floor
- Raise your legs in the air whilst bringing your knees towards your face into a crouching position
- Keep your abs tight and move in a controlled and slow manner to maximise the benefits
The Perfect Beginners Core Workout
As a beginner or advanced gym goer, you can start by incorporating these exercises into your workout routine to get a great core workout.
Once you feel comfortable with them, gradually make each exercise more challenging by adding weight or increasing the intensity!
We would recommend the following routine to undertake all of these great core exercises.
- The Plank - 3 reps to get you warmed up, try and hole them for as long as you can
- The dead bug - 3 sets, do as many as you can each set in a slow and controlled manner, aim for at least 10 reps
- Reverse Crunch - 3 sets, do as many as you can each set in a slow and controlled manner, aim for at least 10 reps
- Glute Bridges - 3-5 sets, do as many as you can each set and be sure to hold each lift for at least 15 seconds
- Mountain Climber - 3 sets of 30 reps or even better try and go all out for 30-60 seconds - these will work up a sweat
Side Plank & Dips - to end the session, we will undertake a gentler exercise of the side plank with added dips, Try and complete 3 reps and hold as long as you can, try and complete 10 sets of dips during each rep.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to finding the best way to strengthen your core, although by following the best core exercises in this article you should be able to workout with your core engaged and be on your way to achieving the core strengthening results you desire.
The key is to start from wherever you are and then gradually progress from there. There are plenty of core exercises out there to try, and once you build up some initial strength, you'll be ready to tackle more advanced techniques. Remember, your core is crucial for all kinds of exercises and helps with supporting your upper body, lower body and full body strength so get out there and give it a go!
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