By Bethan Townsend
A strong and stable core is the foundation for good health and fitness. Your core needs to be in the best possible condition so you can work your other muscles effectively, improve your posture and feel the benefits of better body shape and weight.
Here are three simple exercises you can use to work out your core and build strength.
Whether the Russian twist is actually from Russia is often argued about in exercise circles but whether it is or not, it will give your core a real work out. Follow these three simple steps:
- Sit on the floor (or mat) with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lay your hands at your sides. Then, lift your feet three inches from the floor and lean back to help keep your balance.
- Keep your feet off the ground and then reach and touch the ground on your right hand side and then your left hand side, you will feel the pull in your abs.
- Repeat the exercise for as many reps as you can manage. Aiming for 30+ is a good start to give your core a real work out. If you want to push even harder you could add a medicine ball or kettlebell into the mix, adding weight to your workout and push your core even harder.
Split Leg Arm Reach
This exercise is going to really test your balance and stamina. Starting with just 5 or 10 reps is recommended if you’re new to exercise but building up to 20+ will give your core the full workout it needs:
- Start on your hands and needs with your legs and arms positioned perpendicular to the ground
- Extend your right arm and your left leg at the same time, stretching them fully until they are parallel to the ground. Keep the line from your arm to your leg as straight as you possibly can
- Return to the start position and repeat the exercise, changing sides when you have carried out your 10-20 reps. You will feel this exercise in your abs, glutes and also your hamstrings.
A regular plank will do great things for your core but a side plank will take it to the next level. It engages muscles which are often not worked out in other exercises and is ideal alongside the first two exercises listed here:
- Begin in your regular plank position, on your forearms, keeping your whole body in line.
- Roll onto your right forearm and extend your body upwards, reaching up with your left hand.
- Press up hard through your forearm, keeping your hip up off the ground and then hold the position for as long as you can, as long as 60 seconds if you can manage it, and repeat 2-3 times.
Work these routines into your regular workouts and you’ll soon feel the results in your core and an improvement in your general fitness.