Did you know that your core muscles are involved in basically every movement you do throughout the day? Even while you’re sitting, proper posture requires strong core muscles.
Building a strong core is a must for improving your overall fitness level, avoiding pain, and let’s face it, ripped abs just look dang awesome!
Despite doing crunches and sit-ups until your face is blue may be your favorite thing to do, that will not build the strong core foundation you need.
Because of the importance of these muscles, we are giving you 5 movements for developing a toned core for you to incorporate into your regular exercise routine in order to strengthen and tone this area of your body.
Planks are a very simple exercise and can be done anywhere. Planks target your abdominal muscles, quads, and even your shoulder muscles. You can also increase the intensity by stacking some weights on your back.
So if you can remain in a plank position for multiple minutes without breaking a sweat, throw some weight on your back to really give yourself a good workout.
Also, try different variations of the standard plank like putting your feet up on a chair or doing around the moon planks, which are done by lifting each limb off the ground for three seconds each in a circle (right leg, left leg, left arm, right arm).
2. Side Planks
Side planks are also very simple and target the muscles of the oblique area, thighs, and shoulders. Like standard planks, you can also increase the intensity by placing your feet on a chair. Once you conquer the standard side plank, try doing other variations such as weighted lateral hip lifts or lateral plank leg rises with weight.
3. Kettle Bell Swings
Kettle bell swings are a more advanced movement that will train your abs to avoid hyper-extension. Our abdominal muscles are designed to stop our upper body from bending too far backwards.
Performing full kettle bell swings forces your abdominal muscles to contract to prevent the kettle bell from moving too far behind your head. This exercise also requires the use of other core muscles and engagement of the rest of the muscles throughout your body.
Kettle bell swings also have a few different variations. During a normal kettle bell swing you bring the weight all the way above your head as opposed to a Russian kettle bell swing where you only bring the weight to eye level. You can also try one handed variations. Give each a try and mix them up during your workouts.
Next up on the list is the king of core exercises and arguably the best movement for anyone trying to develop a solid core: the deadlift. The main muscles worked are your lower and upper back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings, while requiring you to engage every other muscle group in your body during the lift.
Other variations of the deadlift are sumo deadlifts, straight leg deadlifts, and sumo deadlift high pulls. Deadlifts are a must for increasing core strength and increasing overall power.
5. One Arm Barbell Deadlifts
One arm barbell deadlifts are an awesome variation of the regular deadlift that will target your oblique muscles. They are done by standing to the side of a weighted barbell and gripping the bar in the center. The movement is very similar to regular deadlifts, but with all the weight focused on the oblique muscle. Be sure to warm up with a lower weight to get used to the movement before going on to heavier reps.
Incorporating these 5 exercises into your routine will help you develop a toned core to get you ready for summer and overall better health. Strengthening your core with these movements will also set the stage for other more complex core movements.
A strong core will help you avoid lower back injury by giving it the support it needs. So get to it, strengthen your core, and achieve your ideal shape!
By Wes Young