Core exercises are essential to any workout. They help you with balance, core strength, and also it’s nice to wear a crop top every now and then without feeling so self-conscious. With summer coming up and all this time on our hands, working out has become a great hobby for some of us. Even if you’re not that much a workout junky it’s nice to have an exercise routine to keep you happy, healthy, and ready for summer.
Core exercises are a great addition to your exercise routine. If you can’t get to the gym nowadays, or if you just want to start with the basics when it comes to working your core, we have a list of some great at-home core exercises that will get you ready for summer. So clear out your basement or living room, and let’s start working our core.
1. Leg Raise Crunches
Crunches, on their own, are one of many easy core exercises. However, you can add extra elements to your crunches to make them more challenging and to get more out of them. For this exercise, start by laying on the ground and raising your legs so your body comes to a 90-degree angle. Start doing your crunches and try to keep your legs raised up. Do these for about 30 crunches.
Pro-tip: When you’re doing your crunches, avoid strainer your neck by trying to keep your fingertips on the sides of your head not behind your neck. Remember to focus and lift with your core with your and not your neck.
2. Cross High Knee Twists
Yes, you can do core exercises standing up! You can change up your core workouts from just the traditional crunches with any fast, repetition exercise that focuses on the core. For this exercise, start by standing up with your right foot slightly behind you and out to the side. Next, bring your right knee across your body to chest. Set your foot back on the ground behind you. Do this in a fast, repeating motion about 20-25 times. Switch to the left leg and do the same for an additional 20-25 times.
Pro-tip: The core workout all comes from the twist in your upper body and the balance it comes from bringing your leg up and down continuously. Focus on your core by starting slow and then picking up the pace once you’ve mastered the motion.
3. High Plank Shoulder Touches
You could just do a regular plank, that would give you a good workout. However, it can be extremely boring and mundane to do it over and over again. Mix things up with this exercise. Start by coming to a high plank which is basically a push-up position. Next, lift your right hand up to touch your left shoulder and place it back down. Do the same with the left hand and tap your right shoulder. Start slow and then pick up the pace. Do this for about 30 seconds and feel the burn in your core.
Pro-tip: After doing this for a while, you’ll body will begin to sway or lean all on one side. Try to keep your hips down and your body centered when you lift up hands. Not only will the plank itself strengthen your core, but you’re essentially taking it to the next level by balancing on one arm each time.
4. Mermaid Twists
When you do your core exercises, you can’t forget your obliques or the sides of your torso. This can be easily done with this exercise. Start by laying down on your side with your feet stacking on top of another (hence the word “mermaid” in the name). Prop yourself up on your right arm extended all the way out. Raise your left arm to the sky. Your body should look like a “T” standing on its side. You could hold this position and feel the burn this way, or for an extra challenge, take your left arm and dip it under your torso for the twist. Reach it back up and repeat. Do this about 30 seconds on each side.
Pro-tip: This does require some balance and therefore practice. So, don’t get discouraged it is not an easy one to do!
5. Plank Runner
Get those legs moving while you’re also working your core with this exercise. Start by coming to a high plank for a push-up position. Bring your right knee to your chest, and set your leg back alongside your left. Do the same with the left and then start to pick up the pace to a almost a run. Do this for about 30 seconds straight.
Pro-tip: This can be difficult at first or you might feel like you’ll run out of steam quick. To avoid stopping completely before the 30 seconds is up, just slow down so you are still you’re bringing your knees to your chest and holding a firm plank. Take it easy, it’ll get easier the more you do it and the stronger your core gets.
6. Russian Twists
You’ve probably seen these done with a kettlebell or a medicine ball. However, these can still be done at home with a few adjustments or you can simply grab something heavy in your house and use that. For this exercise, you’ll start by sitting with your legs out and knees bent. Lean back and lift your legs a couple inches off the ground so you’re feet are just hovering. Bring your hands to a fist and join them together at your core. Twist your core so that your fists attempt to touch the ground on either side of you. Do this in fast or slower motion for about 30 seconds.
Pro-tip: You should feel this in your sides or obliques right away. If you do decide to use a weighted object, be sure it is not too heavy as you might strain these muscles. If you want to make it more challenging, twist faster and for longer.
7. Criss-Cross Leg Raises
This is a simple, easier core exercise. Start by laying down on your back. Place your hand under your but and raise your legs up a few inches off the ground. Start to scissor, or criss-cross your legs as you slowly raise them up so your body comes to a 90-degree angle. Do the same as you come back down. Do this for about 30 seconds.
Pro-tip: The slower you go, the more you will feel this in your core. Although it may seem easy to do, it takes a lot of balance and core strength. All of your core including the top, center, and sides are being worked!
8. Belly Toe Taps
This one is a good one if you need a little break or need a core exercise that is a little bit easier. Start by laying on your stomach with your arms crossed to act as a pillow for your head. Lift both of your legs up so they are hovering a few inches above the ground. Start to tap your feet together over and over again. Do this for about 30-40 seconds.
Pro-tip: It can be easy to use your legs or your arms to do most of the heavy lifting. Make sure your core muscles are the ones that are being used the most. This exercise is also similar to “Supermans” which also make a good alternative if you’re not feeling the toe taps.
9. Chest Raises
While you’re laying on your stomach, you can also add in another core exercise. This one is kind of like a reverse crunch. Start by bringing your fingertips to the side of your head. Begin lifting your chest off the ground as high as you can. Slowly bring your chest back to the ground. Repeat about 25-30 times.
Pro-tip: Be sure not to strain your back by coming up to high to fast. Similar to the crunches, you just want to come up enough to work your core. Focus on your core and not your back to do most of the work. Use your feet and legs to anchor yourself and push off.
10. Boat Pose
Why not throw a little yoga in your workout. Boat pose is a classic core exercise and is very popular in any typical yoga session. Start by sitting with your legs out and knees bent. Lean back, and raise your legs up. You can keep your legs bent or straighten them so your body comes to a V-shape. Hold this pose for about 20-25 seconds.
Pro-tip: It can be easy to hunch your back when you get a little tired in this pose. This causes stress on your neck, shoulders, and back. Try to keep you head up and chest out, and back straight. Again, keep the focus and strength coming from your core.