What makes a strong core? While the general assumption is to have a defined six pack, this doesn't necessarily mean that your core is strong.
Core strength is crucial for you to perform all workouts, increase your mobility and also lets you get the most out of each session. Knowing how to strengthen your core also means you waste less energy. We have put together a list on how you can get started.
Before we start
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to learning how to strengthen your core. While the workouts that we suggest are a start to help you start targeting and controlling your core muscles, it's crucial to consult a physical therapist to assist you in finding the best way that works for you. Always remember to keep exploring the various workouts until you find one that works for you.
This full-body exercise does not only strengthen your arms, shoulders, glutes, legs and back but it is a good workout for your core. When doing this workout make sure that your core is braced at all times. Start with 30 seconds and gradually increase the time the more you get used to it. Begin with your hands below your shoulders and your knees aligned with your hips. Straighten your legs with your feet hip-width apart to keep you balanced and keep your core engaged. Try not to hold your breath and repeat without swaying from side to side.
Dead bugs are a simple yet effective way for anyone looking to get their core strengthened. Lie on your back with your hands stretched upwards and your knees at a 90-degree angle above the ground. Using the opposite hand to the opposite leg, straighten your leg and bring the opposite arm down. Keep your leg a cm off the ground with your core braced. There shouldn't be an arch in your back. Remember to breathe.
By lying on your back, extend your legs and keep your heels hovered above the ground. This is a good workout when it comes to core stabilisers. Place your palms on the ground to help you stabilise yourself. Squeeze your glutes and raise your legs so that they hover above the ground. Begin to raise one leg slightly higher than the other and switch to the next leg.
If you are looking for ways to switch up your workout, without always relying on high-intensity workouts to get the job done, pilates could work for you. This low-impact exercise is a great way to strengthen your muscles and improve flexibility. You can aim to do 45 minutes to an hour-long beginner's workout before moving to the more advanced routines. Focus on form and not speed when it comes to this.
Start by getting into a plank position with your hands below your shoulders. Keep your core braced. Try not to slump towards the ground but keep your back straight throughout the workout. Lift your right knee towards your chest. For a more advanced challenge, you can bring your knees to your elbows. Continue alternating your legs by doing one set of 20 reps. The more comfortable you get the more you can increase your sets.
Start with being on all fours and keeping your core tight throughout the movement. Lift your left leg until it is parallel to the floor and reach with your right. There should be a straight line running from the bottom of your left foot to the right hand. Repeat the movement on the other side while steadily breathing.