When people hear the word core, they usually think of six pack abs. But it’s more than just washboard abs. Whether you’re an anatomy expert or not, we want to help you strengthen and shape that midsection. We scoured the web to find the best core exercises that featured on expert lists the most. But before we get to that, let’s talk about what makes up your heart.
The abs you see (or may be hiding) are the rectus abdominis. When people think of the heart, that’s what they imagine. But they don’t consider or know that the transverse abdominal muscles, multifidus, internal and external obliques, spinal erectors, diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles are also part of the picture. There are also bigger muscles that help too. You are basically a walking core.
That said, the thought of doing a few crunches won’t be enough. We need to make sure your rear is as strong as your front. Although the glutes, lats, and traps play an important role in this process, we’ll simplify here and focus in this article on the rectus abdominis, obliques, and lower back.
Okay, you’ll also see exercises involving the glutes on this list; experts know how important gluteal strength is for many reasons. We looked at 10 expert lists to find the consensus five best exercises for your core. Keep in mind that there may be many variations of the exercises in the list. And of course, we want to know which belly burning exercise is your favorite, so comment below to let us know!
The List: Top 5 Core Exercises, According to Experts
The plank and its many variations are an essential part of any core strengthening routine. It can be performed in a high (outstretched arms) or low (on the forearms) position. And we can’t forget the side planks to reinforce those obliques.
“Holding the plank position requires strength and endurance in your abs, back, and core. The plank is one of the best exercises for core conditioning, but it also works your glutes and muscles. hamstrings, supports good posture and improves balance,” writes Julie Diamond on SELF.
And if you’re bored with the standard front and side plank grips, don’t worry, with a quick web search you’ll find enough variations to keep you entertained for years.
Here’s a tip on positioning Very Well Fit: “To get into the pose, rest your upper body on your forearms and lower body on your toes. Keep your knees stiff and your abdominal muscles tight. Don’t let your hips drop or your upper back dig in between your shoulder blades.
If you’re new to the plank, you might want to start by holding the position for a while. As you progress, you can start incorporating variations so you don’t get bored looking at a clock.
2. Dead insect
The name matches when you see the positioning needed for the exercise. However, when your heart fires after a few reps, you’ll feel quite alive.
This exercise will help you build stability and core strength by having you work in an unstable position. BarBend notes that the Dead Bug is “a move that creates core instability by having you simultaneously reach your arm and leg to the opposite side.”
Women’s Health, speaking of core training in general, writes, “It’s also crucial for improving your balance and stability, creating balance in your body.” Performing contralateral exercises like the Dead Bug is a great way to build overall core stability and muscle balance.
3. Buttock bridge
Many people don’t realize how many problems stem from weak glutes. Knee and posture problems can sometimes stem from underdeveloped gluteal muscles. So, for overall stability, don’t overlook the glutes when thinking about core training.
“This pose activates your glutes to lift your hips, which helps train your core while toning your butt and thighs,” writes Healthline. Sounds like a lot for your money, and it is. Working multiple muscles in symphony not only challenges your body, but also burns more calories.
Men’s Health knows how important glute training is: “A strong core needs a strong set of glutes, but if you’re sitting behind a desk all day, chances are you’ll suffer from weakened glutes and lower back problems.”
This exercise can be done for reps, raising and lowering the hips, or for time, holding the top position and staying tight for a while.
4. Leg Raises
A common problem people have with these is pressure on the lower back when lowering their legs to the ground. To alleviate this, Runtastic reminds you to “lower your legs as low as possible without arching your back.” It can mean that your lineup isn’t the same as someone else’s and that’s okay. The hanging variation will mostly alleviate pressure in the lower back, but it is a more difficult version of this exercise.
Another way to reduce lower back discomfort while performing this exercise is to “bend the legs at the knees as you lift them,” writes Inverse. Bending your knees will allow you to flatten your back into the ground more than with straight legs.
5. Bird dog
The Bird Dog, also known as the Quadruped, is a favorite of many physical therapists and for good reason. This “works the erector spinae muscles (which help stabilize the spine), rectus abdominis, and glutes,” writes PureWow. You will have the advantage of working several muscles at once with this movement.
Two Important Bustle Callbacks: “Engage the core to stay stable. Maintain a neutral spine at all times. This is not an exercise that will make your abs scream in pain, so you will need to actively prepare yourself. Also, it’s easy to slip into a rounded posture while performing this exercise, so it’s important to maintain that flat back.
This is one of those pesky exercises that take away the excuses. It requires no equipment, so you can perform it in a variety of locations; you don’t need to access the gym.
- Russian twist
- turkish dress up
- Go out
- Bike Crunch
- Hollow Body Rocks or Holds
- Variants of wood cutting
Note: This article has not been paid for or sponsored. StudyFinds is not affiliated or associated with any of the brands mentioned and does not receive any compensation for its recommendations.
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