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As you already know summer is quickly approaching, and that means bikini and swim trunk season! Especially due to the pandemic, I’m sure a lot of folks are trying to work their core more than ever!
Best Core Workouts
I completely sympathize with the struggle to tone and shape one’s abdominals. That’s why I wanted to write this article to help folks get that much closer to having rock solid abs and share some of the best core workouts!
Some Safety Notes
Before we get into the actual core exercises, I want to take some time to talk about things to avoid when performing core movements.
Crunch with your core muscles, not your neck. Many folks use their necks to complete movements such as crunches and sit ups. This not only defeats the purpose of the exercise, but can strain your neck muscles since you’re asking your neck to carry the weight of your entire torso.
With this being said, if you feel your neck muscles pulling and/or straining, stop moving, regroup, and try the exercise again.
If you find that after trying again, you’re still experiencing some kind of strain, then I highly recommend modifying and/or changing the exercise.
Speaking on strain, you don’t want to strain your back while trying to work your core either. For example, if you’re planking and feel your back doing most of the work, I would stop, regroup, and try to engage the glutes and core muscles. If this cannot occur, I would modify the plank to on the knees. If back strain is still felt in this position, I would change the exercise all-together.
In short, neck and back strains are never a good thing to experience when attempting to tone and shape your abdominals (they are really never a good thing to experience ever and should be avoided at all costs).
This is one reason it’s so important to make sure you’re engaging the correct muscles when doing any kind of physical activity. Furthermore, it’ll help one reach one’s goals more efficiently and effectively.
Fad diets are a NO GO!
I have heard of so many diets advertising “lose 20 pounds in a month!” or “Lose stubborn belly fat in a week!”
While these types of diets can yield results, in my experience, they rarely yield lasting results.
Furthermore, often these diets and programs aren’t the healthiest options either. They can contain too few calories with too intense a training regiment which can lead to lack of nutrition, injuries, overtraining, decreased organ health, fatigue, nausea, extreme hunger, and mood swings.
With this being said, I’m a big believer in formulating a sustainable, more moderate approach that can yield long lasting results while keeping the individual’s short term and long term health always in mind.
Slow, steady, and consistent wins the race when it comes to most things, including fitness!
Don’t forget the glutes and QL!
I’ve worked with many folks that think crunching, planking, and doing bicycles are all one needs to tone and shape the abs.
However, there are actually many muscles that compose our abdominal network. For the sake of this article, I’m going to speak in layman’s terms when referring to the different parts of the core-the lower abs (below the belly button), upper abs (under the ribcage), obliques (inside the hip bones), the glutes, and the QL (where love handles like to hang out).
To fully tone and shape the core, it’s important to hit all of these muscles consistently.
I have seen people that have chiseled top abs, but lower and QL aren’t really toned at all. Same thing can go for arms. Someone’s biceps can be huge, but their triceps can be non-existent.
Again, it’s important to work each muscle group evenly and sufficiently to have an overall, well-balanced aesthetic and to be a fully functional and mobile human too.
Take Daily Opportunities To Work The Core
Most folks are pretty busy. With this being said, it can be hard to find time to workout during the day.
That’s why it’s important to take daily life opportunities to engage the core.
For example, when picking something off the floor, squat down, get your weight on your heels. There- you just engaged your glutes and lower abs!
When you’re working at your computer put a yoga block between your thighs and squeeze. You just worked your inner thighs, glutes, and lower abs.
When you’re watching TV, start a plank challenge!
There are so many missed opportunities to incorporate fitness in our daily lives. It really comes down to thinking creatively and taking the moments to workout when we can.
Best Corework Equipment
Here is a list of some of my favorite corework equipment-medicine balls, bosu balls, rollers, TRX, ankle weights, stability balls, and sliders.
One doesn’t need equipment to work the core, but some equipment can help healthily challenge the body and keep workouts feeling fresh!
The Best Core Workouts and Exercises
Below is a list of my favorite core exercises. Feel free to mix them in with other workouts or perform them on their own.
Remember not all workouts and exercises are safe for everyone. If you have any questions, please consult a medical professional.
All of the below exercises can be done for reps or time. Weighted or unweighted too. Have fun, be mindful, and let’s get toning and shaping!
- Russian Twist
- Glute Bridge
- Butt Blasters
- Cobra and Superman
- Leg raises
- Fire Hydrants
- Scissor Kicks
- Flutter Kicks
- Calf Raises
- Toe Taps
- Dead Bugs
- Body Saws
- Bodybuilder Planks
***Please note, that there are way more core exercises than these. This list was provided to get you thinking. Also, some of the above exercises work the legs and arms as well as the core.
I hope this has given you all some helpful information regarding corework and some of the best core workouts, and that you all achieve the summer bodies that you have always dreamed of!
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out here.
As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned!