The Best Exercises To Tighten Your Core
A toned mid-section is what most women strive for when they set goals for their fitness and weight loss. You have probably heard the term “Core Training” often in the last few years. Core exercises have gained a lot of attention in helping us achieve that tight midsection we so desire. It has been confirmed over the years that doing basic crunches and sit-ups are not the only exercises required in achieving a tight and defined midsection. Aside from the proper diet, staying away from excess sugar and junk, your ab routine must include exercises that will engage your core.
Core muscles include the abdominals, lower back, hips and glutes. In addition to an attractive midsection, a strong core is truly the foundation of all movement in your body. By improving your strength in this area, you will have better mobility, better posture, less back pain and improved performance in any sport or activity.
Core training can be done anywhere and there are many different exercises to choose from based upon your fitness level and goals. A simple core circuit performed 3-4 times per week, is all you need to strengthen and tighten your midsection.
The best exercises are those that target multiple muscles in each move. Core exercises can be intensified with the use of weights such as dumbbells, medicine balls or any other small weight.
Here are my top 5 favorite exercises for a complete Core Circuit. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and repeat for a total of 3-4 rounds. This circuit is great for the end of a cardio workout or as a warm up for your workout that day.
- Full plank with spider knee/knee cross – to start you will alternate each leg. Bring your right knee out toward the right side, then take that same knee and cross underneath you toward your left shoulder. Then take your left knee toward the left side and cross underneath you toward your right shoulder. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Dumbbell plank walks with a pushup – with both hands on dumbbells (you can do this without weights if necessary), do a pushup and then plank walk to the side 3 times and pushup again. Then walk to the opposite side 3 times and do another pushup. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Weighted Star Abs – lying flat on your back with 2 light dumbbells in each hand, palms up and legs wide apart, take your right hand and cross over toward your left leg. Then sit up to bring your left leg and right arm together. Lie back down, then cross your left arm over to meet your right leg and sit up to bring them together.
- Elbow plank oblique hop – in a plank position on your elbows, jump your feet up to the right side, touch knees to the ground and then back to start and then up to the left side, touch knees to ground and repeat.
- Leg raise/crunch with leg extension – lying flat on your back, leg raise and when your legs are just a few inches off the floor, bring knees to chest and sit up so that your back is off the floor. Knees are close to your chest. Then repeat.