Core Workouts: 5 Exercises That You Can Do Right Now

Core workouts are vital to the success of any exercise program. They strengthen the deep core muscles of the back, pelvis and abdomen, and help your body sustain the impact of workouts directed at other muscle groups. Without strength at the core, you are much more likely to suffer muscle strain from your other exercises.

Focus on breathing throughout this workout. The breathing should be relaxed and deep. Consciously tighten the transversus abdominis during and relax it at the end of each rep. You can perform the exercises on a yoga mat or on a carpeted floor. Start with 3-7 reps and build up to 10-15.

Ab Crunch

This abdominal crunch is performed lying on your back on the floor with feet up against a wall. The thighs come straight up from the hips and the knees are bent so that the calves are horizontal and feet flat against the wall.

Cross the arms over the chest (don't have them behind the head, this can strain the neck). Tighten the abs and raise the head and shoulders off the floor. Hold for 2-3 breaths and relax down.


Away from the wall, lie on your back on the floor with knees bent up and feet flat on the floor. Arms are stretched out along the floor with hands flat for balance.

Raise the hips until the body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees, keeping the shoulders on the floor. Hold for 2-3 breaths and relax down.

Abdominal Press

Start in the same position as for the bridge. Lift the left leg and bring the right hand against the left knee, keeping the head straight and the right shoulder on the floor. The left arm remains stretched out on the floor for balance.

Press the knee and hand against each other. The abdominal muscles should be working to try to bring the knee up toward the shoulders and the hand just provides resistance. Hold for 2-3 breaths then repeat on the other side.

You can also do a two-leg abdominal press. Bring the knees up together and press them against both hands.

Pelvic Twist

Again on your back on the floor with the knees up and arms stretched out along the floor, take the knees to one side and down toward the floor. Keep the head straight and both shoulders firmly on the floor.

Don't let the knees go down further than is comfortable. If you are very flexible you may be able to take them all the way down to the floor without raising the opposite shoulder but most people will need to stop before that. You should feel a stretch but no strain or pain.

Hold for 2-3 breaths, then bring the knees back up and repeat on the other side.

Side Plank

Lie on your left side and raise yourself up so that you are resting on your left forearm which is flat on the floor. The left foot is on the floor and the right foot is on top of it. The legs are straight.

Raise yourself up on the forearm so that the body forms a straight line from feet to head. Hips are up off the floor. The right arm is relaxed against the right side of the body. Tighten the abs.

Hold for 2-3 breaths and repeat on the other side.

For a more intense side plank, instead of raising yourself on your forearm, balance on the left hand only. The left arm is straight and the shoulders much higher in the air. Again the body must form a straight line through the hips. You can also raise the right hand, stretching the right arm up so that the two arms form a cross with the body.

Always seek advice from your physician before starting any exercise program, and for core workouts especially if you have ever had any back trouble.

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