A strong core is not only important for sports but for daily activities as well: lifting children, going up and down the stairs, carrying luggage, moving heavy objects, etc. A strong core will help prevent injuries, improve posture and overall strength. Here is one of my favorite routines to strengthen the core muscles and it can be done at home, in the gym or at the office! Enjoy!
Consult a physician before starting this or any exercise program.
Beginners: 1 set of each exercise
Everyone else: 2-3 sets of each in a circuit
Core Front plank: Support your body on your elbows and forearms. Keep your body straight like a plank: abs, hamstrings and butt tight. Shoulders relaxed. Breathe. Hold 60 seconds, tightening your entire body.
Core Right and Left Side plank: Similar to the front plank but on your side: support your body on your right elbow and forearm, shoulders relaxed, hips off the floor. Keep your body straight like a plank: abs, hamstrings and butt tight. Hold 60 seconds, tightening your entire body. Repeat left side, 60 sec.
Core Bird Dogs: Get down on all fours. Core muscles tight, head in neutral position. Exhale as you simultaneously raise your right arm and left leg straight up so that they are parallel to the floor. Hold a beat and repeat other leg/arm. Focus on feeling all of the muscles contract from your finger tips to your toes; the back muscles, abs, butt, shoulders. 15 times alternating each side.
Core Super Wo-Man: Lie flat on your tummy. Simultaneously raise both arms and both legs up as if you were flying like “Superman!” Lift them as far as you can, contracting the muscles in your back, legs and arms. Hold 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Core Windshield Wipers: Lie on your back, legs straight up at ninety degree angle to your hips. Feet over your hips. Abs tight, palms facing down on the floor. Gently lower and then raise your legs in a windshield wiper motion from side to side. Contract your abs as the legs lower to each side without letting your feet touch the floor. 20 reps.
Core Swim: Lie flat on your stomach. Simultaneously raise your right arm and left leg upward, hold a beat and repeat other arm/leg. The motion is similar to swimming. Repeat 15 times each arm/leg.
Core Kicks: Lie on your back, pelvis up off the floor, core tight, arms crossed over your chest. Kick the right leg up and then the left leg, keeping the hips in a fixed position the entire time. 15 times each leg.