Every great workout routine includes an intense core workout designed to improve core strength and tone the abdominal area. While it’s important to focus on your core at least once a week, there’s no evidence that daily core work will give you washboard abs and a flatter stomach.
What you do need to remember about targeting your core muscles is the variety of muscles that make up the core. That means selecting exercises that focus on your abdominal muscles as well as your obliques.
Here are five incredible core exercises to help you tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles!
Planks are great stationary exercises for stimulating the core muscles and building endurance in the abdominal muscles. This exercise requires you to hold a position similar to a pushup but holding the position on your elbows instead of your hands.
To build endurance, you should be holding this position as long as possible while keeping your body flat and stable. If you’d like to target your obliques as well, you can perform side planks on each of your elbows.
Planks can be made easier by holding the “up” position of pushups or made more difficult by holding a plank with your feet elevated.
Leg raises are an incredible exercise if you’re looking to target the lower section of your abdominal area and your hip flexors. Lying flat on your back on the floor, you’ll raise both of your legs to a 90-degree angle and then return them to the floor.
To get the most out of this exercise, you should be making every effort to keep your legs straight throughout the exercise. This exercise can be made significantly more difficult by gripping a dumbbell between your two feet and performing the exercise as normal.
Crunches are much easier to perform than sit-ups but provide somewhat similar benefits. When you’re performing crunches, you should be making sure that your feet or legs remain stationary while you bring your head and neck upwards.
The form is most important when it comes to performing crunches. Placing your hands behind your neck or head or purely for support purposes and you should not be using your hands or arms to help bring your upper body forward.
To make crunches more difficult and yield greater benefits, you can hold a weight or dumbbell at your chest as you bring your upper body forward.
Bicycle crunches require a similar form to regular crunches but place more of an emphasis on the obliques. This exercise requires alternating movements of your legs and arms in order to work on the oblique muscles.
That means as you bring your right knee inward, you’ll extend your left leg and rotate your left arm inward. You’ll then alternate the movement to hit both sides, one after the other.
Russian twists are the easiest oblique exercise to perform. You’ll sit on the floor and allow your feet and upper body to hover. Then, you’ll rotate your upper body to the left and right while holding this position.
This exercise not only targets your obliques with the rotational movement, but also requires some effort from your lower abs to keep your legs elevated throughout the exercise. If you want to make this exercise more difficult, you can hold a weight or dumbbell in your hands.
If you want a six-pack or just more tone in your core, you need to make sure you’re doing exercises that focus on the core muscles. There are plenty of exercises that you can choose from to target every area of your core, which gives you more control over your exercise routine!