Endless crunches, for example, are no fun. Right? And, again, not very effective. They'll increase the size of your abdominal muscles over time, but they aren't the most effective exercise at reaching deep into your core. They only strengthen small surface muscles, which doesn't actually create the appearance of abs. On a less superficial level, they won't strengthen the obliques and lower back muscles nearly as much as some other ab exercises will. And the importance of building up your lower back muscles cannot be overstated, since this is the number one way to prevent back pain later in life.
So today I'm going to talk about the best exercises for working your whole core, both to carve out some awesome abs, and for the health benefits! (Reduced risk of pain & injury!!)
And, not to worry, I'm only going to mention the exercises that are more FUN! I know that sometimes core workouts tend to be tedious…
Having fun with them is the best way to distract yourself from the burn…That's how to work out your core without wanting to quit.
My first fun, complete core exercise is the mountain climber. All you do is, you do a plank right up against the wall so that the soles of your feet are touching the wall. Then, you guessed it, brace back against the wall and start climbing it with your feet. Now you can choose to work your core in one of two ways; either just keep doing this tiny climb up and down the wall, or, when your feet are about the height of your head level, then alternate tucking knees into your chest, just like a regular mountain climber. To me, this is fun just because it's so darn challenging…and also hard not to laugh! Here's a tutorial on how to do it:
My next suggestion is to work with a group, add equipment, or otherwise make your session unique!
The workout program I participated in a while back, Transform:20, does all three!
For example, in this video of T:20 about two minutes in, you can see I'm sitting on the awesome Step. I'm doing a version of ab crunch toe touches…But what makes it more fun than regular crunches is the awesome GROUP I'm working with! The best way to learn how to work out your core is by joining the professionals.
Plus, being elevated by the Step makes this a much more effective exercise, and you can see the slight twist I'm doing targets the obliques.
Last but not least, I came across this awesome workout that you can do with a partner, like your spouse! Maybe you two aren't on the same fitness level but that's all the more reason to get up and do something like this!
You and your partner will both be on your back, laying opposite each other so you can touch the soles of your feet together. Then, you do a bicycle motion, touching your elbow to the opposite knee and working those obliques in sync with your partner.
Plus, the motion of pushing against them will target the lower back and pelvic muscles… well, now it just sounds like I'm saying something inappropriate, doesn't it? 😉
Whether you like working out in a group or alone, add in an extra ingredient like a wall, medicine ball, or a Step. That's how to work out your core, without getting bored and falling asleep in the middle!! 😉