Having core strength is of utmost importance. Your core gives your body stability and, as a result, proper balance, which helps prevent you from falling. When you exercise your core, you are training the muscles in your abdomen, lower back, hips, and pelvis to work in unison. In strengthening your core, daily activities such as walking, running and sitting become much easier.
Some people think that to strengthen their core, they need to spend money going to the gym, but this is not so. All you need is a little floor space in your home and you’re all set. Here are eight core exercises you can do while staying at home:
1. The Plank
To begin, place your hands directly underneath your shoulders, just slightly wider than shoulder width. Position yourself as if you’re about to perform a push-up. Press your toes into the floor and squeeze your bottom to provide stability to your body. As your legs are working as well, be sure not to hyperextend your knees. Find a spot on the floor, about a foot in front of your hands, and focus your gaze upon it. Hold your position for 20 seconds. As you become more comfortable in the plank position, you may try to hold it for longer, as long as you aren’t breaking your form or forgetting to breathe deeply.
2. Bird Dog Crunch
Begin by getting on all fours, with your wrists directly in line underneath your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips. Draw your right arm in front of you, while simultaneously moving your left leg back, keeping your back flat and hips parallel to the floor. Imagine you’re pressing your foot into the wall behind you. Now, pull your right elbow and left knee in to meet near the center of your body. Squeeze your abdominals inward while performing this. Repeat this cycle several times until you’re ready to switch to the other side.
3. Inverted Crunches
Inverted crunches are done with the use of an inversion table. They’re extra-effective because you’re working against the force of gravity. However, with an inversion table, you have the ability to reduce the difficulty of the exercise simply by changing the incline angle. To work your core with inverted crunches, lie on an inversion table and tilt it to the upside-down position. Now, perform a traditional sit-up, moving upward as far as you can. Try holding your body upwards for about 10 seconds. Perform several repetitions, if possible.
Are you in need of an inversion table? Check out these inversion table reviews for guidance.
4. Mountain Climber
Get into a plank position, making certain to evenly distribute your weight between your hands and your feet. Make sure that your hands are shoulder-width apart, with your back flat, abs pulled in, and your eyes looking forward. Now, pull your right knee into your chest as tightly as possible. Bring this leg back out into the plank position. Next, bring the opposite leg tightly into your chest and back out again. The idea is to lengthen your knees out and bring them back in as fast as you can, making the mountain climber an excellent cardio exercise.
5. Leg Lift
Lie on your back with your arms placed on the floor by your side and your legs extended out in front of you. With your legs kept together, raise them upward toward your head, keeping them straight out in front of you. Stop raising your legs when they have reached a 90-degree angle with your body. Next, slowly lower your legs back down to the ground. While doing so, keep your back flat on the floor.
6. Down Dog Abs
Begin by getting on all fours. Place your palms on the mat in front of you, shoulder-width apart. Raise your hips upward, actively pushing your weight into your heels, while reaching your tailbone to the sky. Allow your head to relax, eyes looking at your feet. Now, to do down dog abs, lift your right leg into the air. Next, bend your right knee and bring it toward your right elbow. Now extend your right leg outward again. Bring your right leg into your body, toward your left elbow. Extend your right leg back out again. This represents one rep. After repeating several times on the right side, move to your left leg.
7. Dead Bug
To get ready for the exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, with your arms resting beside you. Feel yourself sinking into the floor. Now, extend your arms toward the sky and bring your knees over your hips. Slowly extend your right leg out straight. At the same time, drop your left arm back behind your head. Both your arm and your leg should never actually touch the ground. Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position. Switch sides, and bring the opposite arm back and opposite leg outward. Repeat the process as many times as you can.
8. Warrior Balance
Begin by getting in a standing position. Lift your right knee upward, toward your hips. Bend your elbows, placing both of your hands near your shoulders—this is where you start from. Allow your hips to act like a hinge and bring your arms out forward, while simultaneously extending your right leg behind you. Be sure not to lock the knee of the leg you’re keeping straight. Pause for a moment before returning to where you began. Perform several repetitions on one side and, then, switch to the other leg.
Working your core doesn’t require an expensive gym membership or a lot of time. Just a few minutes a day of one or several of these key core exercises, and you’re already on the road to a stronger, healthier you! Just make sure to observe proper form at all times to avoid injuries, as well as to maximize the benefits the said exercises have to offer.