Core exercises are key to improving your stability, core strength and posture which in turn helps movement and prevents injuries, particularly to your back. When most people think of core muscles, they think of abs, but did you know the core is made up of more than 12 different muscles? They include both deep core and outer core muscles and support your spine and pelvis in your day to day movements.
Remember when starting any new exercise, start at a beginner’s level and work your way to advanced once you are stronger at each stage. Starting at an advanced level can cause an injury – or make you so sore you can’t even laugh!
Here are the Top 5 Core exercises to try if you want to commence operation 6 pack!! Hehe!!
- The High Plank – there is no doubt the plank is one of the top 5 if not the top!
– Muscles worked – Core muscles (Transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal/external obliques), Anterior Deltoids (Shoulders), Pectoralis Muscles (Chest), Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves
- Swimmers to Superman – this can be done in stages, lying in prone position (face to floor) where we start alternating arm/legs both coming off the floor, then by raising your chest off the floor leaving feet on the floor to more advanced raising simultaneously both feet and chest off the floor and bringing elbows back.
– Muscles worked – Core muscles (Obliques, transverse abdominus)Erector spinae, Glutes, Hamstrings, Latissimus dorsi (known as “lats), Shoulders
- Ankle Touches – Lying supine (on back), knees bent, feet on floor, back flat and lifting shoulders forward (not curled) and touch your hands to ankles alternating side to side.
– Muscles worked – Obliques, transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus.
- Bicycle crunches – key to maximise don’t rush this exercise! Lying supine, lift legs off ground approx 90 degree angle to hip and knees joints, hands behind head and top of back off floor. Use your obliques to form a crunch motion bringing opposite elbow to knee and alternate, straighten opposite leg.
– Muscles worked – rectus abdominis, obliques, leg muscles and hip flexors.
- Bridge/Hip Raises – this is a good old one and most of the time we think we are just doing it for our glutes – but not so! On your back, knees bent, feet on floor, raise your hips to the sky. The key with this is to switch on your core and keep activated until you reach the floor, release your muscles then repeat. Hint for women to help strengthen our pelvic area is to switch on your sphincter, pelvic floor, lower abdominals which we often call turning on your belt.
– Muscles worked – transverse abdominus, glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae.