4 Simple Bodyweight Exercises for a Stronger Core

Although the temperature has been climbing for months, this weekend’s Summer Solstice officially kicked off summer. That perfect beach body may still be on your mind, but your abs are good for way more than looking good. Your core actually improves performance and breathing, maintains balance and stability, aids in movements, and protects your internal organs. Most core exercises also strengthen the lower back and hip flexors, which improves posture. 

Luckily, a stronger core doesn’t have to come from hundreds of crunches or fancy equipment. If you have 15 minutes, check out these four bodyweight exercises at home, after a run or at the gym. 

Bicycle Crunch

Lie on the back with legs raised off the ground. Place hands behind head to support the neck. Raise right knee towards chest while twisting left elbow toward the knee. Pause for one second and return to starting position. Repeat on opposite side. Keep the lower back on the ground and avoid pulling the back of the head. Repeat 15 times on each side for 3 – 4 repetitions.

Modifications: There are many modifications for easier variations. Keep left leg bent with the foot flat on the floor and the right ankle supported on that knee. Raise the left elbow toward the right knee.

V-Sit Isometric Hold

From a seated position, lean back keeping the upper body tall and the neck in line with the spine. Avoid rolling shoulders forward. Place hands behind knees and raise feet off the floor. Straighten legs to a 45° angle. When balanced, raise hands parallel to the thighs. Keep legs together and straight. Hold for 5 seconds. Release and repeat for 15 – 20 repetitions.

Modifications: For an easier variation, bend the knees.

Lying Toe Touch

Lie flat with legs raised toward the ceiling. Avoid locking the knees. Crunch the abdominals, raise the shoulders and head off the ground, and reach fingertips to toes. Pause here for 2 seconds and slowly return to the start position. Do not worry about touching the toes. Raise as far up without straining the head and neck. Repeat 15 times for 3 – 4 repetitions.

Progressions: Raise a weighted plate, dumbbell or medicine ball towards toes.

One-legged Lying Toe Touch

To progress the lying to touch, alternate legs. Lie flat with one leg raised toward the ceiling and the alternate leg raised six inches above the ground. Keep the feet flexed. Crunch the abdominals, raise the shoulders and head off the ground and reach the fingertips toward the toes on the raised foot. Pause here for 2 seconds, then slowly return to start position. Repeat 15 times. Raise the alternate leg and repeat exercise 15 times. Do this for 3 – 4 repetitions.

Progressions: Raise a weighted plate, dumbbell or medicine ball towards toes.

 

Contribution by Shannon Gordon

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