Five Core Exercises Every Woman Should Be Doing
A strong core will have a positive impact on almost everything you do. With a weak core you are at a higher risk for injury as your overall body will not be as stable as it would be if your core was strong and tight.
An unstable core is like a skyscraper with a weak foundation. You see, the core holds everything together. Eventually, if you don’t strengthen your core muscles, something may bring your body crashing down.
When you have weak core muscles, an injury may occur during sports, exercise, or even from something as simple as picking up your kids the wrong way. For this reason, it is imperative that your core is strong and stable.
So, what’s the best way to strengthen your core then? Well, here are our my top five recommendations for core exercises. Perform these at home as part of your regular exercise routine and you will not only be be feeling stronger than ever, you’ll look great too.
My Top 5 Recommended Core Body Exercises for Women
1. The Plank Pose
The plank pose is a simple exercise that targets all major core muscles. In addition to building a toned and stronger mid-section, the plank improves posture, elongates the body, and builds strong wrists and arms. To perform the plank:
- Begin by facing the ground with the forearms and toes on the floor.
- Keep the spine straight and the body firm. Be careful to avoid sagging in the middle. Remember to keep the core muscles engaged. The body should be literally, like a plank.
- Relax the head and neck, and look down at the floor.
- Hold for a count of 10 seconds to start. Don’t forget to breathe normally. Increase time as strength improves.
Variations include: Plank with Leg Lift, Plank with Arm Lift, Side Plank
2. Stability Ball Knee Tuck
The stability ball knee tuck is a slightly more advanced core building exercise that works all major core muscles, including the lower back and quads. To perform the stability ball knee tuck:
- Begin on all fours with your abdomen resting across the stability ball.
- With your arms directly under your shoulders, slowly walk your hands forward until your feet come off the floor and your feet rest atop of the ball in plank position. Remember to keep your core tight.
- Exhale and slowly pull your knees into your chest. The ball will roll forward. When your knees are under your hips, lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- Hold for one breath before straightening your legs and rolling the ball back until you return to plank position.
Bridge exercises are perfect for strengthening the muscles of the lower back, hips, glutes, hamstrings, and abdomen. In addition, bridge exercises work to improve core and spine stabilization. To perform a basic bridge:
- Lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your hands by your sides.
- With your feet directly below your knees, tighten your abdominal muscles and raise your hips until they create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds and then repeat.
- Try Single Leg Bridges for added difficulty.
4. The Russian Twist
The Russian Twist is a traditional, yet effective, core building exercise that targets the abdomen, primarily the oblique muscles. To perform the Russian Twist:
- Begin in a sitting position, with your feet flat on the floor.
- Slowly lean back until your abdominal muscles are engaged.
- Remember to breathe as you rotate your torso from side to side, pausing for a count at the end of each rotation.
- Perform 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps.
- To increase difficulty, try holding a weight.
Lunges? Yes, you heard right. While generally regarded as a lower body exercise, lunges also help strengthen and stabilize your core. What you’ll love about lunges is that you can strengthen your glute muscles for a sexy butt while simultaneously working your core. However, to get the most core work out of lunges, be sure to keep your upper body straight and tall and your abdominals engaged. To correctly perform lunges:
- Stand with your legs together and your arms at your sides.
- While standing tall, step forward with one leg and lower the body until both knees form 90° angles. The front knee should be directly over the ankle and the back knee should be directly beneath the spine, forming a straight line from the knee to the top of the head.
- Push off with the front leg and return to the starting position.
- Repeat with the opposite leg and complete 2-3 sets of 8-12 lunges per leg.
Variations include: Weighted Lunges, Side Lunges, and Overhead Lunges