No equipment. No drama. Just an awesome core workout.
Last week I shared some of the dirty secrets behind amazing abs. (Spoiler – it’s not all about the six-pack.) This week I want to put core theory into practice on the mat with some of my favourite bodyweight exercises. You don’t need anything to give these moves a try, just yourself, your favourite workout gear, and enough room to roll out a mat. Building a strong core is a key foundation for a healthy body, supporting every type of workout and activity. Whether you’re a dancer, a runner or a lifter, you need a core you can depend on.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s hit the mat and build some core strength.
Vertical Leg Crunch
Give your regular crunch a little more oomph with this easy variation. Lie on your back with your legs straight up at a 90-degree angle with your body. (You can bend your knees if you find this difficult at first.) Then contract your abdominal muscles to raise your torso towards your knees. This really fires up the upper abdominals and is a great opening move for your core workout.
This is a simple way to hone in on the lower abdominals and feels much more intense than it looks. Lie on your back with your hands by your sides, toes pointed, and shoulders slightly raised. Now lift both legs and kick up and down like you’re swimming the backstroke. Keep your legs close to the ground but never touch it for the most intense workout.
A classic core move, the Russian twist offers lots of variation – allowing you to easily raise or decrease the intensity of this obliques focused workout. Sit on your mat with your feet on the floor and legs bent. Bring your hands together and lean back until your body is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Now twist from your core towards the right, and then the left. Alternating sides with each movement. Decrease the difficulty level by bringing your back closer to your knees and increase the difficulty level by leaning further back or raising your feet off the floor.
It’s easy to neglect the muscles of our core that don’t make up a killer six-pack. But stabilising and strengthening the muscles in your back is essential for core strength and protecting yourself from injury. Superman is deceptively difficult but practice often and you will soon build up strength and stamina. Lie on your stomach with your hands stretched out in front of you. Slowly lift your arms, legs, and chest off the floor (mimicking that famous superhero pose). Hold for a few seconds, release, and repeat.
The plank is often held up as the ‘king’ of core workouts. And, while classic planks do help with core conditioning, I like to add a little more bang to this exercise to get more from a workout. Start in a forearm plank, forming a straight line from shoulders to heel. Now hop your feet out wide and then back into the centre. This works the entire core, glutes, legs, arms, and shoulders, creating a challenging movement that will have you working up a sweat in no time at all.
I hope you’re inspired to get down and crunch it out in the next few days. If you want to build a strong core and are looking for professional advice and support, the team here at FitFusion PT have your back. Get in touch to find out more about our group classes and one on one personal training services. Our awesome team work with you to create a smart fitness plan that really works. Next week, it’s all about nutrition, when I discover if what you eat can help you achieve a killer core. Until then, you wonderful people, stay amazing.