Core strength is a vital part of overall fitness, and can be considered as a long-term investment in your health and well being. It will be of benefit to you and your body no matter your age, so there’s really no reason not to work on improving your overall core strength and abs. We have a fantastic routine that is geared toward your abdominal muscles and also giving your core a serious workout. What’s even better is that it can be performed anywhere you feel comfortable, as it doesn’t require any particular equipment or even weights.
The routine itself is quite basic, but when executed correctly and with good form, it is a really effective workout. Ideally you should perform the 4 exercises back to back with a one minute break before completing the round again. 4 complete rounds will result in a really good ab and core strength workout.
1. Hanging Leg Raises
This exercise will test your abs as well as help strengthen your upper body, including your arms, shoulders and grip strength.
- Start out with a good grip on a bar, with both of your arms extended fully, shoulder width apart
- Here comes the hard part – raise your legs in front of you before lowering them under control. Ensure that the rest of your body is stationary and avoid swinging your arms, hips or legs in order to trigger those stabilising muscles!
2. Side Plank
This movement tests multiple muscles simultaneously and is great at targeting your core, your internal and external obliques. What’s vital is that you maintain correct technique whilst holding the position. It may be the case that you can only hold for 10-15 seconds whilst starting out, but as you become more regular with the exercise that this time increases.
- Start by lying on your right side. Place your left foot on your right foot, whilst keeping your legs straight
- Keep your below directly under your shoulder before slowly lifting yourself up and spreading your weight across your body onto your right leg and right arm
- Whilst performing movement, engage your core. Be sure to avoid pushing your hip too far forward or back – you want to keep your body in a nice straight line
- Keep the position held correctly until failure, before slowly and gently relaxing
- Repeat the movement for 5 total cycles
- Post-exercise stretching will help oxygenate your muscles
3. Reverse Curls
A great exercise that uses body-weight, the reverse curls will help keep your lower abs and entire core strong. The lower abs can often be overlooked easily, so this workout will help you get back into a routine of keeping them tested. You may want to start out a little easier, and work your way up to a comfortable level at first. Be sure to pay attention to your body, and if you feel any discomfort or pain when performing the exercise, stop!
- Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your palms on the floor, face down, for support, or use a bar
- Picture that you are attempting to push your lower back down into the floor in order to stop your back from arching. You will want to tilt your pelvis slightly to make contact with the floor and breath in deeply
- Raise both of your bent legs until your knees are directly over your hips, ensure your feet and shins are parallel to the floor. This is the starting position.
- While exhaling, raise your knees toward your chest and slowly bring them back to starting position. It may seem like a small and simple movement, but when performed with correct technique, you will certainly feel it!
4. Mountain Climbers
Another compound move that will give you a tough but rewarding workout! Not only will you be training your core and abs, but you’ll also be raising your heart rate.
- Begin the exercise in a high plank position. Move your right knee under your torso, keeping your toes from laying flat on the ground
- Move back to the starting plank position
- Switch leg and repeat. Keep this movement going as if you are running on the spot. Aim to do this for 30 seconds or about 10 steps on each leg, whichever you find most challenging.