8 Exercises to a Stronger Core

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/15/2010 5:00 PM   :  26 comments   :  16,583 Views

A strong core not only allows us to have the flat belly many of us desire, but it also helps with our posture. By developing a strong core, you may also find your cardio activities, such as running and swimming to be a tad easier.

But remember doing abdominal exercises alone will not give us the six-pack many of us long for--that comes from shrinking the belly fat that overlays the muscles which is achieved by following a healthy diet and doing some daily cardio-respiratory activity.

Please note that you do not need to do all of these exercises at one time, but you do want to focus on the different core regions, including the Rectus Abdominus, Transverse Abdominus, and Obliques.

Some of these exercises require a medicine ball, stability ball and BOSU trainer.

Abdominal Exercises

Primary Muscles: Transverse Abdominus Secondary Muscles: Rectus Abdominus and Obliques

Half-Kneeling Lift-AKA Hay Bailer

Obliques, Ab

Med Ball Rotation

Obliques, Abs

Side Plank

Rectus Abdominus, Transverse Abdominus, and Obliques

Single Bridge

Ball Plank

Windshield Wiper

Plank Twist on a BOSU

According to the American Council on Exercise, the Bicycle Exercise is considered to be the most effective abdominal exercise in developing a strong core as it works the three core regions-- the Rectus Abdominus, Transverse Abdominus and Obliques. And the best thing, you do not need any exercise equipment to do this activity.

Bicycle Exercise

For more abdominal workouts see Coach Nicole's 10-Minute Crunchless Core Workout Video and 15-Minutes Abs Workout Video

What is your favorite ab exercise? Have you seen improvement in your cardio activity by having a stronger core?


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Comments

  • 26
    loved the 10 minute crunchless core exercises. I've been looking for something to strengthen and stretch my belly/lower back area which hurts after I do functional activities after vacuuming or other home cleaning jobs. I wish there was a transcript to it so I could go back on www.dotsub.com and add the transcript as a "captioned" feature, because the YouTube "captioning" doesn't recognize many of the words and it comes out as gibberish. I had to follow along with "monkey see, monkey do" so hopefully I didn't hurt myself today! - 11/5/2010   2:49:24 PM
  • 25
    I am working on this too. But I have read on the net in many places that a strong core is built in the kitchen by what you eat. So remember that too. - 9/29/2010   1:57:49 PM
  • 24
    This is great, thanks! - 9/23/2010   11:40:57 AM
  • 23
    Looks like some great exercises! Thanks - 9/20/2010   10:52:07 AM
  • 22
    I truly believe in having a strong core, Thank you Nancy for the workouts. - 9/19/2010   6:54:59 PM
  • 21
    These are great. They target my area that needs the most work and a strong core helps balance, too. I do not have a BOSU, but it doesn't look as if it is really needed. I will try it without and see how I do. I do not have a medicine ball either; weights work just fine for what I do. I don't want to buy the equipment until/unless it is necessary. - 9/17/2010   11:31:51 AM
  • 20
    I have been really focusing on doing 3-4 ab exercises 6 days a wk for the past month and have lost 2.5 inches in my abs! Woo hoo! - 9/17/2010   8:50:01 AM
  • PURPLEPASSION77
    19
    My core? Can't even find it..lol My stomach looks like I'm still pregnant. I need to instill these excersizes into my memory. - 9/16/2010   2:47:53 PM
  • 18
    I need this. My core is weak and my posture is really bad. - 9/16/2010   2:23:49 PM
  • 17
    My core is very weak! I can't 3 reps of 2p sit ups with out my back hurting, and the longest I've gone a planti s probably 1 minute!!! And my upper body strenght totally sucks!!! I can't do a single push up to save my life!! I am slowly going lower every time I try tho. Thank you very much for such an informative article! - 9/16/2010   1:44:46 PM
  • 16
    thanks - I need these and i will add them to my repitoire - 9/16/2010   1:19:27 PM
  • PARKERCM
    15
    My core is weak and my posture is bad! This sounds like exactly what I need for a little self-improvement! Thanks. - 9/16/2010   1:04:58 PM
  • 14
    I was looking to save this one too! Why can't we? - 9/16/2010   12:39:12 PM
  • 13
    Why don't they let us save these posts to favorites anymore? this would be a good one to save. - 9/16/2010   12:26:57 PM
  • 12
    Plank is my absolute favorite core exercise. I've seen a remarkable improvement in my cardio abilities since working to improve my core strength. Both my running and cycling have improved as a result. Most people don't realize how much upper body strength a runner really needs. It's not just about the legs. your power house are your core muscles. When those are strong, everything else falls into place.

    - 9/16/2010   11:38:07 AM
  • 11
    Gentle windshield wipers, they help my lower back pain but i do them with good control. Helped my legs and hips too. Pat in Maine. - 9/16/2010   9:08:03 AM
  • 10
    When I started working out the first thing I notices was how week my core was. I have since improved in that area but it still needs work. I have noticed that the core is actually used in most workout exercises - even cardio. the only one of the above mentioned exercises I have actually done is the bicycle crunches but have done somewhat similar to some of the others. For those who have not tried the standard plank, try it, you will be amazed how much you'll feel it in your core - it looks easier than it is! - 9/16/2010   9:06:05 AM
  • 9
    Don't have a BOSU, medicine ball, or stability ball. Bicycle exercise, crunches, planks, bridge, superman, etc are my core strengtheners, and they seem to work pretty well. Maybe one day I'll bother to buy all those fitness gadgets... when the economy isn't in the toilet. - 9/16/2010   8:16:32 AM
  • 8
    i love plank twists. you can also do them on the floor or from a bench. thanks for the suggestions. - 9/16/2010   2:08:47 AM
  • 7
    Tony Horton's P90X is a great ab work out. U can start on P90 if u need something easier. LOL - 9/16/2010   12:36:00 AM
  • 6
    i have just started doing pilates exercise classes and am really starting to feel the benifits of much stronger core muscles - 9/15/2010   10:05:11 PM
  • SUGARSMOM2
    5
    I need to build my core and make it stronger and better . so this is one spot i have to work on . - 9/15/2010   8:50:07 PM
  • 4
    I think a poor core is what has to do with my dislike for anything that is high impact (except for running, I blame cement).

    That's why I'm doing pilates though!

    The ab series is the best! - 9/15/2010   6:22:42 PM
  • 3
    Wow, some of those look hard! I guess that's the point right? I know a normal plank right now I can only hold for about 15 seconds. Good stuff to work on. - 9/15/2010   5:42:08 PM
  • LIVINGONMYTERMS
    2
    The core is probably the weakest part of the body for most of us. I know it is for me. Doing crunches really bother my neck no matter where the hands are placed. These exercises may just work for me:-)) - 9/15/2010   5:18:31 PM
  • 1
    Having a stronger core is definitely something folks need to push for. I have seen a strong core help me avoid injuries around the house when I nearly trip or get caught on something. I also see it benefit my workouts because I'm able to lift and control more weight in my weight training. Having a strong core and working on it also made me more aware of my posture. Having better posture led to improvement in other fitness goals. So it all snowballs. - 9/15/2010   5:05:18 PM

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