If you're looking to step up your begin your fitness game, including your core is a must.
As part of our at-home fitness series, we've created short and easy workouts that will target different muscle groups.
What is my Core?
The term "core" is used to describe your abdominal area. In other words, it is the midsection of your boy and includes all your muscles in the front, back, and sides. Exercising your core can help protect the rest of your body and support your spine.
Five Core Movements (To Start)
In addition to targeting your upper and lower abdomen, planks also engage your glutes, arms, and shoulders. It's a great bodyweight exercise for more than just your core. There are many variations of planks, but we're going to start with the most basic one.
How to do it: Place your hands on the floor so that they are directly under your shoulders, with your feet shoulder width apart. It's similar to a push-up position. Next, squeeze and engage your core, glutes, and legs. Make sure your neck is in a neutral position by looking at the floor in between your hands. Hold the position for at least thirty seconds. Or, if that's too long, start with a shorter hold and work from there. Make sure you're breathing normally and not holding your breath. Depending on how long you're holding your planks for, you should be doing in between 4 to 8 repetitions. But go at your own pace! You can watch a video on how to plank here.
Crunches focus on your upper abdominals. There are many variations of crunches, but for now, we'll explain a basic crunch.
How to do it: Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and hands behind your head. With your chin in a neutral position and looking up, lift your upper back up off the floor. You can do 3 to 4 sets of 20 to 30 crunches. You can watch a video on how to do crunches here.
3. Bicycle kicks
Bicycle kicks target your lower abdominals and oblique muscles. This name's exercise is bicycle kicks, because it looks like you're riding an invisible bike -- while on the floor.
How to do it: Lie on your back with both legs extended and hands folded across chest. Pull your right knee in toward your chest, while twisting left shoulder toward right knee. Return to your starting position and repeat with other knee and shoulder. You can do 3 to 4 sets of bicycle kicking for 30 seconds. Watch a video on how to do bicycle kicks here.
4. Russian twist
Russian twists target your obliques, and if you'd like, you can modify this exercise by holding a weighted ball or kettle bell.
How to do it: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Hold your arms straight out in front of your chest, with palms facing down. Lean back so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Twist to the right as far as you can, hold it, then reverse the movement and twist to the left. You can do 3 to 4 sets of Russian twists for 30 seconds. You can watch a video on how to Russian twist here.
5. Flutter kicks
Flutter kicks target your lower abdominals, which can be hard to refine and strengthen.
How to do it: Lay on your back with both of your legs extended and tuck your hands underneath your glutes. Lift both legs off the floor just a few inches, and alternate kicking each leg up and down. You can do 3 to 4 sets of flutter kicking for 30 seconds. You can watch a video on how to do flutter kicks here.