Building a strong core is vital. Every movement you make comes from your core, so building muscles there will help every workout and even everyday life much better. It also doesn’t hurt to have a nice, toned stomach. However, many people can get stuck in a rut of doing sit up after sit up without seeing the results they want. Here are some of the best core exercises that aren’t sit ups to help you build a strong middle.
This is like a sit-up on steroids. Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended. Using your abdominal muscles, simultaneously raise your legs and your upper body so that you can touch your fingers to your toes (or at least as close as you can get). Lower back down. Be sure to keep your back straight for maximum results.
Bicycle kicks will tone the sides of your body and your abs. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs out in front of you. Raise both legs off the ground. Bend one knee toward you while simultaneously lifting your chest and twisting your body so your elbow meets your knee. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
This exercise works your glutes and back, which are important parts of your core that sometimes get overlooked. Lie facedown on the floor with your arms and legs extended, palms facing the ground. Pinching your shoulder blades together, lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground. Slowly return to the floor. For an additional upper body workout, you can bend your elbows and pull your arms back while you’re in the raised position. Extend them back out and lower down.
The plank is essentially the mother of all core exercises. It works your abs, chest, back, shoulders, and it can easily be done anywhere. Place your hands on the floor directly underneath your shoulders. Put your feet out behind you so your body is in a straight line facing the ground. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep your body level. Make sure that your bottom doesn’t sag or stick up too high in the air. Hold for as long as you can maintain proper form. You can place your knees on the ground if you need a modification.
The plank is great because it’s such a versatile exercise. Moving while you do a plank adds a level of difficulty. Move from your hands to your forearms to work your shoulders. You can also do a “walking plank” where you walk your hands and feet a few inches in each direction.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent in front of you and your feet flat on the ground. Lean back forty-five degrees while keeping your back straight. Slowly twist as far as your can from side to side. You can hold a weight or medicine ball in your hands to make it more challenging.
Lie face up with your legs extended out in front you and your toes pointed. If you need to, put your hands under your glutes for added support. Lift your legs off the floor. Kick each leg a few inches at a time, alternating legs. You can raise your legs up and down as you kick for a tougher exercise.