Fitness and Diet

Core exercises : 8 exercises for a stronger core *no crunches*

We’re aware of our beloved crunches….The one where you have to lie on your back to do it. The one everyone believes will get you a stronger core, AKA 6 packs. Yup, I’m sure we know all about it, or maybe not. Crunches are great core workouts but do they always have to be done to get a toned belly? No, they do not.

So here’s what many people don’t know (even fitness experts), you can work on your core muscles without leaning towards crunches. Why? Because it isn’t the only exercise you can do to target your abdominal muscles (the “six-pack” muscles) and obliques (side abdominal muscles). There are other exercises for a stronger core such as planks, Russian twists, side planks, and much more, and somehow crunches always seem to hitch a ride. Well, not anymore,

In this article, we’ll explore 8 core exercises to help you achieve a stronger, more stable, and more resilient body, without doing crunches. 

The benefits of core training 

Core exercises are crucial for your overall strength and stability. They can help improve your posture, prevent injuries, and make you perform better in various physical activities. It’s like building a stronger and tougher “gut”. 

Key takeaway 

Building a strong core is the key to unlocking a stronger, healthier, and happier you. And you can do so without the traditional crunches. Your rectus muscles are the foundation of your body’s stability, balance, and movement. Therefore, including them in your fitness routine can improve your posture, reduce back pain, enhance athletic performance, and boost your confidence. 

In this article, we will explore the best core exercises to help you achieve a stronger, more stable, and more resilient body.

8 exercises you can do for a stronger core.

A lady performing a core workout.

1. Plank

This exercise involves holding a push-up position, while you support your body on your forearms and toes. It engages multiple core muscles simultaneously. This makes it a great exercise to build those abs muscles. 

2. Russian twists

For this one, you must sit on the floor, lean back slightly, lift your feet off the ground, and twist your torso from side to side while engaging your obliques. Russian twists are an intense and effective method to burn belly fat and build abdominal muscles. 

3. Leg raises

You’ll lie on your back with your legs straight, lift them towards the ceiling, then lower them back down without touching the floor. This exercise will engage your lower abs and build your core muscles. 

4. Mountain climbers

You will start in a plank position, and drive your knees in towards your chest alternately. It’s like running on your hands. What makes this exercise great is that it not only engages your core but also gives you cardio benefits.

5. Flutter kicks

To do this you will lie on your back, straighten your legs, and lift each of your legs in small, quick motions. However, while doing it, don’t stare at your feet but a few inches above to avoid straining your eyes and neck. This will work on your lower abdominal muscles and help you achieve a stronger and defined core. 

6 . Dead bug

Lie on your back, with your arms extended towards the ceiling, and legs in a tabletop position. Then lower your opposite arm and leg towards the floor without arching your back. You can go at a slow or fast pace, it all depends on your energy and fitness levels. However, a fast or slow pace will still help build your core muscles and give you results.

7. Side plank

Lie on your side on one forearm and place one foot directly on top of the other, with your weight evenly distributed between both feet. Then lift your hips off the ground and hold it steady. This targets your obliques and helps with overall core stability. This exercise can be incorporated into your routine to challenge your core muscles and enhance your workout.

8. Superman

To do this exercise, you will lie on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you,  your legs straight, then you lift your arms and legs off the ground and hold it steady. Just think about how you would fly if you were Clarke Kent! 

Standing core exercises 

If you don’t like to lie on your back, get on your arms, and so on, you can try standing core exercises. They still work pretty well so you don’t have to worry about effectiveness, you’re still going to get those core muscles. 

If you want to start training your core muscles or just want to incorporate it into your routine, you can try these standing core movements like: 

  • Standing side bends
  • Russian twists while standing
  • leg lifts while standing
  • standing knee raises. 
  • Superman
  • Standing woodchoppers 
  • Kettlebell swings 
  • Step-ups 
  • Goblet squats 
  • Marching in one position 
  • Wall sits 
  • Farmers walk

These exercises engage your abdominal muscles while standing, and also help improve your balance and stability. However, you have to remember to maintain proper form by not hunching or slouching to get the best results. Instead, focus on engaging your core throughout the movements for an effective workout. Standing abs exercises are a great way to add variety to your routine and target your abdominal muscles from different angles.

Frequently asked questions 

How can I progress to an advanced core training?

If you want to take your core training to the next level, you can gradually increase the difficulty by adding more challenging movements or adding extra resistance. For example, you can try increasing the reps for each exercise, holding the positions for a longer period, or including more complex movements like combining different exercises into a single routine. 

Additionally, you can mix things up by using equipment such as resistance bands, stability balls, or weights to make your workouts more intense. However, it is imperative that you always pay attention to your form and gradually increase the difficulty to continue challenging your core muscles effectively.

How can I incorporate equipment into my core workout?

To add equipment to your core workouts, you can try using things like resistance bands, stability balls, or weights to add resistance and intensity to your exercises. For exercises like Russian twists or leg raises, you can use a resistance band to increase the intensity of your core muscles. Also, you can use a stability ball if you’re doing exercises like Planks or Mountain climbers to engage the muscles in your core.  

That said, it is important to experiment with different equipment to see what works best for you. 

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