We are continuously bombarded with images of "perfect" bodies in today's world. Every time we log onto social media, some fitness influencer shows off their six-pack abs or hourglass figure, which is enough to make anyone feel discouraged.
But here's the thing: you don't need a perfect body to be fit and healthy. Having strong core muscles is more significant than having rock-hard abs. Strong core muscles help you maintain good posture, protect your spine, and prevent injuries. A strong core can make everyday activities—like carrying groceries or climbing stairs—easier.
So how do you get a strong core? Below are five moves that will tone your abs and build core strength. Do them three times a week on alternate days for best results.
Related Article: 10 Signs You Have a Weak Core Strength and How to Fix It
5 Move Ab and Core Routine
Ab workouts are essential for a strong, healthy core. But let's be honest, they're not always the most exciting part of a workout routine. That's why Krissy Cela, fitness trainer and co-founder of EvolveYou, has developed a 5-move ab and core routine that will leave you feeling challenged, engaged, and, most importantly, motivated to keep coming back for more.
Cela says, "I wanted to show you this awesome routine for targeting every muscle of your core!"
The six-pack muscles (abdominals) are made up of four main groups, including the rectus abdomen, transverse, internal obliques, and external obliques. If you wish to know which exercises work these different parts, we've listed them below!
Are you ready to get started? Let's go!
1. Rectus Abdomen: Reverse Crunch
A reverse crunch helps tone the rectus abdomen and improve core strength. While it may seem like a pretty simple move, the reverse crunch can actually offer several benefits.
These crunches can help improve posture by strengthening the muscles that support the spine. Additionally, these can help ease lower back pain by stretching and lengthening the muscles in the back and can also help improve balance and coordination.
How to Do It?
- Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Place your hands on the floor beside you.
- Use your abs to curl your hips off the floor and towards your chest, then slowly lower them back to the starting position.
2. Transverse: Commando Push-Ups
The commando push-up is an all-inclusive exercise that works out your shoulders, chest, and arms while strengthening the core and can be done anywhere!
You might want to use a mat so you don't hurt yourself if working out on hard surfaces, but other than that, there's nothing else needed for this tough workout routine, just body weight alone (and maybe some open-handed strikes).
How to Do It?
- Place your forearms (wrist to elbow) on a yoga mat and extend both of your legs behind you, resting on the toes.
- Inhale. Exhale. Release the right forearm to place your hand stably on the mat straight below the right shoulder and push up onto your right hand.
- Now, release the left forearm in order to place your hand stably on the mat straight below the left shoulder and push up onto your left hand.
- Ensure to keep your core engaged.
- Inhale. Release the right hand and lower the forearm towards the mat, then similarly release the left hand to the starting position.
- Thats ne rep
- Repeat for necessary reps
3. Internal Obliques: Side Plank Dips
Do you want to work your internal obliques and get that six-pack you've always dreamed of? Say hello to side plank dips! This simple yet effective exercise works the muscles along the sides of your abdomen and your serratus anterior (the muscle that runs along the sides of your ribs).
Not only does it tone your core, but it also strengthens your shoulders, arms, and legs. Plus, it can help improve your balance and coordination.
How to Do It?
- Stack your legs while lying on your left side and your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Keep your free hand on your hip.
- Straighten your body and legs. Your hips should lie on the ground, and your feet should be together.
- Brace your core and pull your hips off the ground until your body is in a diagonal line and you can balance on your forearm and feet.
- Return your hips to the ground slowly. Repeat on your right side.
4. External Obliques: Reverse Mountain Climbers
You know that mountain climbers are a great cardio workout. They get your heart rate up, and they make you sweat. But did you know that they offer multiple incredible benefits for your external obliques? That's right, those muscles on the sides of your waist give you that sexy hour glass shape.
Reverse mountain climbers are an excellent way to target your external obliques. By contracting these muscles as you exercise, you can help tone and sculpt your waistline. In addition, they can also help improve your posture and alleviate back pain.
How to Do It?
- Legs should be straight while you lay on your back.
- To create a straight line from your head to your feet, place your arms on the ground and lift your hips.
- Bring one knee nearer your chest while maintaining a firm core and buttocks.
- Straighten this leg while simultaneously jogging by bringing the opposite knee close to your chest.
- Keep going with this flowy pattern.
- Make sure your hips and back don't slump when performing this action.
5. Russian Twists Work All Four
The Russian twist is a deceptively simple core exercise that provides plenty of benefits for your midsection. It helps improve your balance and coordination by forcing you to engage your core muscles to stabilize your body.
In addition, it strengthens your obliques, the muscles that run down the sides of your abdomen. It is notably important for athletes who need to generate powerful rotational movements, such as tennis players and golfers.
But even if you don't play any sports, having strong obliques can help improve your posture and protect your back from injuries.
How to Do It?
- Sit on the floor, and bend your knees and feet flat on the ground.
- Your upper torso should be at a 45-degree angle with the floor as you lean back.
- Maintain a straight back. Put your hands in front of your chest and tense your abdominal muscles.
- Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in the middle if you're using one.
- Step back with your feet raised.
- Turn your arms in that direction. Try your hardest and advance as far as you can.
- Repeat the steps on the other side.
Related Article: 60-Minutes Explosive Workout: Perfect Abs With Cardio and Resistance
1. What is the most effective core strengthening exercise?
There is no one "most effective" core strengthening exercise. However, some exercises that may be effective include crunches, planks, Russian twists, and bridges.
2. How do beginners build core strength?
The best way to build core strength will vary depending on your fitness level and goals. However, some tips for beginners include starting with simple exercises like crunches and planks and gradually progressing to more challenging moves as you get stronger.
Additionally, make sure to focus on quality over quantity; take your time and focus on squeezing your abs muscles during each exercise to get the most out of them. And lastly, don't forget to breathe! Taking deep breaths during each core exercise will help you stay focused and energized.
The Bottom Line
The five moves we’ve outlined are a great place to start, but plenty of other exercises may help you achieve the core strength and abs you desire. Mix them up often, and keep challenging yourself if you want to see results.
And most importantly, have fun! Working your abs doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, when you start seeing the progress you make, you may just find that toning your midsection is one of your favorite activities. Ready, set, go! Give these five moves a try, and let us know how they work for you.