Core strength is important for athletes and non-athletes alike. For starters, it is essential for stability and injury prevention. Many exercises can help improve your core strength, but some are better than others. With this in mind, we’ve compiled some amazing exercises in this guide. Remember, Cairns’ best gym and fitness centre will help if you lack experience or confidence.
Although they hurt, planks are the gold standard for a strong core and can be done anywhere. To do a plank, simply get into a push-up position – but instead of lowering your body to the ground, you stay suspended with your elbows bent and arms straight. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds depending on your fitness level.
If you want an extra challenge, you can do side planks, where you prop yourself up on one elbow while the other arm is extended in the air. This time, hold for 10-15 seconds and then switch sides.
Mountain climbers are a great exercise for toning your core, as well as your arms and legs. To do this exercise, get into the push-up position and bring one knee up to your chest quickly alternating sides. Do this for 30-60 seconds depending on your fitness level. If you’ve done mountain climbers before, you’ll know that they hurt, so this is a fantastic way to truly test your core strength.
That’s right – cycling is another brilliant core exercise that really challenges your abdominal muscles. Whether you invest in a traditional bike or a cycling machine, the steady turning of the pedals will help strengthen your core. Aim to cycle for 15-20 minutes, but if you want an intense workout, try doing sprints on the bike or increasing the resistance so it’s tougher to pedal.
This classic core exercise is still one of the best – it works to target your abdominal muscles, and you can do them anywhere – no equipment needed. Lie on the floor with your knees bent in towards your chest and place your hands near either side of your head for support. Tighten your stomach muscles as you lift your shoulders off the ground then slowly lower your body back down. Aim to do 3 sets of 20 crunches, and if you find this too easy then try adding a twist or holding a weight in your hands for added resistance.
Bird Dog Crunch
This move works your core and your balance skills – start on all fours with your hands below shoulders and knees below hips. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep your back flat as you reach forward with one arm while the opposite leg extends straight behind you. Return to starting position then switch arms and legs; this can be made harder by adding a crunch at the end. Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each side.
You know the traditional crunch, but the reverse crunch is an effective variation to build your core. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet off the ground. Gently lift your hips towards the ceiling while squeezing in abdominal muscles and then lower back down without touching the floor. If possible, complete 3 sets of 10 reps.
Next, we have the superman pull. Start by lying face down on the floor with your arms and legs extended out straight in front of you and behind you respectively. Lift both your arms and legs simultaneously, hold for a second, then release back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times for 3 sets.