When you talk about strengthening your core, it’s not just engaging in exercises that shape up your abs. You’re also talking about improving your spine health and strengthening your back muscles.
Your core is made up of more than just the abs, it also includes the back muscles and the muscles around your pelvis. When you work to strengthen your core, you are improving your posture and improving the major muscles that help to support your entire body.
Sit-ups and crunches aren’t going to cut it anymore. It’s time to work on exercises that target all the important muscles of your core and boost overall core strength and stability.
Best Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
Improve your physique and build strength with these effective core strengthening exercises.
1. Hip Bridges
Hip bridges work to boost strength and stabilize your core while also improving your posture and reducing lower back pain.
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Place your arms beside you and try to touch your heels if possible.
- Gently lift your hips up high as high as you can and pause.
- Hold this bridge for three breaths and gently lower down.
- Repeat for 60 seconds.
2. Side Plank
Side planks subtly target the smaller core muscles that are often forgotten about. As you engage the core muscles to build strength you will also come out with a stronger set of abs.
- Start by laying on the right side with your feet stacked on top of each other. Place your right forearm directly underneath your shoulder, perpendicular to the mat.
- Keep your core tight and engaged and lift your hips until your body is in a straight line and pause.
- Hold this pose for about 30 seconds and switch sides.
Supermans help to build strength in the upper and lower back and also tone your glutes and hamstring muscles.
- Lie on your belly with your arms and legs extended out and keep your core engaged. You can place a small pillow or a folded blanket under your hips for added support.
- Raise your arms off the floor and back and hold for three breaths.
- Next, raise both legs off the floor and hold for three breaths.
- Repeat raising both your arms and your legs at the same time and hold for three breaths.
- Perform supermans for 30 to 60 seconds.
4. Hollow Body Hold
An exercise used by gymnasts, hollow body hold will maximize your overall performance during squats, handstands and other full body movements while strengthening your abs and surrounding muscles.
- Start by lying flat on your back and engage the abs by pulling your belly toward the floor. Your arms and legs should be extended out straight and your toes flexed.
- Gently lift your shoulders and legs off the ground and raise your arms, shoulders and head. Make sure that your lower back is touching the mat.
- The main goal of this exercise is to find the lowest position where you can hold your arms and legs without touching the floor, making sure your lower back is still in contact with the floor.
5. Single-Leg Abdominal Press
Single-leg abdominal presses are a popular exercise among individuals who need to improve their core strength.
- Lie on your back and bend your knees to plant your feet firmly on the floor. Keep the core tight and engaged.
- Lift your right leg off the floor and bend your knee and hip to 90 degrees. Place your right hand on top of your right knee.
- Use your abs to pull your knee toward your hand while simultaneously pushing your knee down with your hand. Make sure your arm is straight.
- Hold this position for three deep breaths and release.
- Switch sides and repeat.