The core is comprised of four different parts. Here are 10 of the best exercises to tone, tighten and strengthen each of the parts effectively.
- Sit-ups on a stability ball. A stability ball takes the regular sit-up to a new level. You are now lowering your upper body beyond a parallel position. This increases the range of motion, which offers more benefits. You need to remember to exhale while contracting your core muscles on the upward phase and gently inhale when you slowly lower your torso back towards the ball.
- Planks. The plank should be performed gradually and with the right form for you to achieve the best results. Tighten your stomach by pulling your naval towards your spine to strengthen your core. The correct form of the plank is performed by holding a push-up like position, placing all your weight onto your forearms, elbows and toes. Lowering your hips to bring your body into a straight line is the correct form.
- Side bends with dumbbells. This exercise targets both the internal and external obliques. By adding a dumbbell, you are able to more effectively strengthen and sculpt the obliques. To make things even more difficult place your free arm bent over your head. Keep your head in neutral position, engage your core and inhaling as you bend to the side only as far as it is comfortable.
- Bicycle crunches. This is of my personal favorite core exercises. Not only are you targeting the obliques but the rectus abdominus and traverse abdominus as well. Here the quadriceps and hamstrings get quite the workout too! Contract your core muscles by pulling them into your spine to ensure all core muscles are engaged.
- Russian Twist. The Russian twist is a very effective exercise that strengthens and tightens all four parts of your abs. When you feel like you need to make this exercise harder, add a dumbbell or perform the Russian twist on a stability ball. The twisting motion is the key to this exercise. Be sure to pull your waist and lower abs in towards your spine for the most benefit, whilst keeping your hip flexors relaxed.
- Flutter kicks. This is a superb exercise that targets your lower abs, hips and thighs. It burns calories and is an excellent cardio core workout that is a must in your core routine.
- Superman’s. The superman’s engages your abs and also strengthens your back. In order to strengthen your core, engaging your back is vital. This exercise has you lifting your arms and legs off the ground as if you were flying. Remember to exhale as you lift up and inhale and tighten your core in as you lower.
- Bird dog crunch. This exercise strengthens your lower back as well, all the while helping your body to learn to balance and find stability. It is a great one to put into your routine for an overall body workout!
Multifius and erector spinae
- T-lateral ball roll. This one is tough but very effective at strengthening your core. It will target almost every torso muscle in your body. A great exercise to add to your routine if you also want to target your lower back!
- Sidelying knee lifts. Deep core and back muscles including the multifidus support your spine to keep you upright and supports your lower back. This exercise helps to improve your posture and strengthens your core all at once. A non-traditional core exercise you should definitely add to your routine.