5 Core Strength Moves

Let’s get one thing straight – everyone wants that amazing 6-pack of abs!  These 5 exercises are just one step to get you in that direction.  The most important part of getting that 6-pack is going to be diet based.  You’ve probably heard the saying, “abs are made in the kitchen.”  Well, they really are made there!  That being said, it is so important to strengthen your core muscles.

Most people only focus on the abdominal muscles, and typically that’s even only the front abdominal.  Occasionally the obliques are targeted, but not as often.  The lower back muscles, however, get neglected.  These are hugely important in stabilization.  If you have pore posture it’s most likely a result of an imbalance in your core muscles.

My favorite thing about core exercises is that they require no equipment and can be done anywhere – at home, in the office during a lunch break, at the park, or at the gym.  Of course, every exercise can be altered to make it more difficult (or easier).  Ab exercises can also be done everyday because they do not require as long to recover as other major muscles (such as your leg muscles).  Start with 2 sets of 10 of each move and work your way up to 3 sets of 20 of each move!  These can be done any time of day and spread out throughout the day if needed.

Crunches:
  • Start with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Hand can be placed behind the head or crossed over the chest.
  • Lift up so that the shoulder blades come off the floor.
  • Be careful not to pull on your neck when you lift up off the floor.
  • Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
  • Repeat!

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Leg Lifts:
  • Lay flat on your back with hands by your side.  If you need to modify this exercise, you can place your hands under your butt for added support to your lower back.
  • With your legs straight, raise them straight up so they are perpendicular with the floor.
  • Slowly lower them to the ground until they are about 6 inches from the ground.  Be careful not to arch your back and keep your abs tight during this part.
  • Slowly raise your legs back to the starting position.
  • Repeat!

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Supermans:
  • Lay flat on your stomach with your arms raised up over your head.
  • There are several variations for this move.  For this particular variation, raise your left arm and your right leg into the air.
  • Lower both at the same time.
  • Now raise your right arm and left leg into the air.
  • Lower both at the same time.
  • Repeat!

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Bicycles:
  • Lay flat on your back with your hands on the back of your head (or crossed over your chest).
  • Being careful not to pull on your neck, raise your legs off the ground about 6-12 inches and your upper body so that your shoulder blades are just above the ground.
  • Bring your left knee towards your chest as you bring your right elbow towards that knee.
  • Straighten your left knee as you bend your right knee towards your chest.  Alternate so that your left elbow is now reaching towards your right knee.
  • Repeat!

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Bird Dog (or Flying Dog):
  • Get on all fours, keeping your back straight.
  • Slowly straighten your right arm above your head as you straighten your left leg out.  Be careful not to arch your back and raise your arm and leg too high.
  • As you raise your arm and leg, pay close attention that you are not rocking your weight excessively from side to side.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Raise your left arm above your head as you straighten your right leg out.
  • Repeat!
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