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Cut To the Core

Try these five core-cutting exercises to pave your way to astonishing abs and super core strength

If you’re weary of doing crunches upon crunches in attempt to tone and strengthen that tummy, you’ve stumbled upon familiar ground. Crunches do have their place in a workout, but welcome to the 21st century where we now reap the benefits of decades of research and knowledge about the human muscular system and how to best tone and sculpt targeted muscle groups. There are so many more ways to build up your entire core than the basic crunch. We have gathered five of the best fool-proof and results-oriented exercises (that you can do at home!) to send you well on your way to ABSolute strength and a rockin’ core.

Cut To The Core

  1. Oblique Ball Twist

Control, control, control. This exercise demands that you be a control freak. Don’t let the ball touch the ground!

Have in Hand: Yoga mat (if on a hard floor), stability ball

How It’s Done: Lie on your back with your arms out in a ‘T’ shape, palms facing down. Position a stability ball between your feet and extend both legs straight up in the air, just above your hips, knees slightly bent. Slightly squeeze the ball, engage your abs tightly, and press your ribcage onto the floor as you move the ball to the right, lowering both legs towards the floor (as far down as you can without touching the floor). Come back up to the center, do the same move toward the left, and repeat the cycle for 60 seconds.

  1. Kickbacks

This move builds great strength and control at the core, and, don’t tell your abs, but your glutes are invited to this party, too!

Have in Hand: Yoga mat (if on a hard floor)

How It’s Done: Get on your hands and knees and pull your abs very tight (think belly button into your spine). Toes on the floor, raise your knees so that they’re just hovering above the ground. Bring your right knee into the chest and kick it back in a slow, controlled motion, remaining engaged at the core. Bring it back in and repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

  1. Towel Plank and Knee In

A super core move, bringing the knees back and forth to your chest will help you obtain balance and work your abs as well!

Have in Hand: Exercise towel or any small towel

How It’s Done: On a hard, smooth floor, get into a plank position (push-up position with hands on floor; body in a straight line from shoulders to ankles). Place your feet on a small towel. Keeping one foot on the towel, slide your foot up along the floor so that your knee comes up to your chest. Slowly slide your foot back to the starting position and repeat with your other leg to your chest and back down to the starting position. Make sure to engage your core completely throughout this exercise. Repeat for at least 60 seconds, increasing your time as you gain strength.

  1. Reverse Crunch

This move rocks because not only is it super effective in defining those abs and obliques, but is easy on your neck and back too.

                Have in Hand: Yoga mat (if on a hard floor)

How It’s Done: Lay down with your legs shoulder width apart. Your legs should be at a 90 degree angle; and your arms should be straight down beside you. Engaging your abs the whole time, bring your knees toward your face and your feet toward the sky. Roll your pelvis up and back down again, hips coming up off of the floor and going back down. Repeat this exercise for at least 60 seconds.

  1. Plank Hip Dips

Why another plank move? The plank alone works wonders for balance and strength. Adding a little extra oomph to it amps up your ab game. Try these dips for ab and oblique definition.

                Have in Hand: Yoga mat (if on a hard floor)

How It’s Done: Get in the familiar plank position (with elbows down this time). Your toes planted firmly into the ground, twist your hips so that your left hip slightly brushes the ground, then twist around so that your right hip touches the ground. Maintain great control of your movements and fully engage your core throughout. Repeat for at least 60 seconds.

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