Who does not want a strong, toned midsection? A well-defined core never goes unnoticed.
While in the gym or at home, we grab a mat, lay on our backs and start crunching believing we’ll reach our goal in no time. But, is it effective? Can we get a toned midsection by crunches alone?
The answer is no!!
When it comes to core training, it right trick is about creating movement and not preventing it. There are many exercises that will help you get more out of your sweat. Here are 8 of the best ones.
8 Best exercises to strengthen & tone your core
Plank is one of the highly preferred warm-up exercises recommended by gym experts. It is every fitness trainer’s favorite for a reason. Plank engages all muscles of the core. They are the rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques, multifidus, erector spinae and hip flexors.
Get into standard plank position. Your torso should be straight, and your body should be in line starting from ears to toes. Do not sag or bend. Hold this position for 15 – 60 seconds.
Now trying lifting one arm out in front of you, hold for 10 seconds and repeat for the other arm. And keep alternating. You can perform the same trick for both the legs.
- Side Plank on Elbows
Next is side plank. A wonderful reason to add it to your exercise regime is it strengthens the hips, reduce lower-leg pain and knee injuries.
Lay on your right side on the floor. Rest your head on the right arm with feet stacked on top of the other. Keep your legs straight and make sure your hips are facing forward.
Slowly slide your right hand near your until your elbow reaches the right shoulder. Balance yourself on the elbow and feet and keep the hips lifted toward the ceiling. Your body should be stiff from head to toe and face forward. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
Now gradually lower your hip to the floor and rest 30 seconds. Repeat three times. Alternate and repeat the same on the other hip.
- Feet-Elevated Pushups
The old school workout routine, pushups, should be on your consistency list. To intensify it further, you can even mix things up. A good trick is to lift your feet while doing your pushups. It will shift the center of gravity towards your core resulting in better upper-body strength.
Get a bench around and do your pushups by placing your feet on it. The lower back should be flat and firm and make sure your hips do not sag. Use a higher surface to intensify your move further.
- Barbell Overhead Press
Another trainer approved way of building a strong and ripped core is by pressing a heavy object. Fitness experts at Fit O’ Clock (best gym in Raja Park, Jaipur) is in huge favor of this exercise. While on the position, the core helps you transfer energy from the ground to your arms.
Place the barbell on your shoulders and collarbones. Next, use your hands to grab it slightly outside the width of your shoulders. Place elbows in front of the bar. Now, you need to push the barbell vertically. Once done, shrug your shoulders while you are at the top of the movement. Gradually go back to the starting position. Repeat.
- Land Mines
Land Mines have many advantages. As a rotational move, it is perfect for your core. Because you will be exerting pressure on sides of your obliques, you will end up with great shoulders.
Your gym must have a special socket where the barbell is supposed to be placed while doing landmines. If not, don’t worry. You can make a few iterations. First, you’ll need an unloaded barbell. Place its end on a heavy plate (as a pivot) on the floor. Now, go to where the barbell is facing you. Hold it with both hands and arms should be straight. Lift if over your head making an arch by lowering down on the other side. Repeat with your left side.
- Stability Ball Stir the Pot
This one too offers multi-benefits. It tones the overall core including the obliques. Here’s how it is performed.
First, you need to get into the standard plank position. Forearms should be on the stability ball. Next, strengthen your core and with your forearm start rotating the ball in a circular motion. Continue your movement till you reach the starting point. Take the ball and rotate it in the other direction. Continue the same for 15 reps.
- Crunchy Frogs
In crunchy frog, you bring your knees up so that your lower abdominal muscles feel the crunch. You need to balance yourself using the core. So, you know where you are heading, right?
Sit gently on the floor and stretch both the legs out in front of you. Lean a bit back and gradually lift your legs off the ground. Now, bend your knees and raise your arms to about chest high.
At the same time, bring knees close to the chest and stretch your hands forward over your knees. Separate your arms and bring back your knees to the original position. Repeat for 30 reps.
- Seated Leg Lifts
Sit gently on the floor and stretch both the legs out in front of you. Lean back slightly. The core should be engaged. Place both hands on either side of your glutes. Stop to take a deep breath. Now, lift one leg six inches off the ground. Hold the position for about 5 seconds and bring it down. Repeat the same with the other leg. Continue for one minute straight, take 20 seconds break, repeat for five rounds.
Note: Even if you are already following a program at your gym (try the best gym in Jaipur), there is no harm incorporating these exercises as well. And if you are not just there yet, these will definitely give you a good start towards your goal.