Strengthening your core is important for a number of different reasons, such as improving your posture and also reducing and preventing lower back pain. When you train your core you are enabling your abdomen, pelvis, lower back and hips to work in harmony. Core training will not only strengthen these muscles but over time it will lead to greater athletic performance in popular activities like running and cycling. When core training is carried out consistently and complemented by a suitable meal plan it could even lead to rock hard abs and maybe even that six pack you have always dreamed of. The great thing about the core exercises below is that they require no equipment and can be carried out in the comfort of your own home, all it takes is a little bit of determination and willpower.
There are many variations to this popular core exercise but essentially they are all tailored to engaging and strengthening your core muscles. To carry out a standard plank, get in to a press up position and place your forearms flat on the floor beneath you. Ensure that your toes are pointing directly to the ground for stability and hold for a period of time. You will be able to hold this position for increasingly longer periods of time as your core strength improves. Another popular plank variety is the star plank in which your arms and legs are stretched outwards and your forearms are raised off the ground.
Not only are burpees a good core strengthening exercise but they will also cause you to get a sweat on meaning they’ll provide you with an aerobic workout too. You will require a little more space for this exercise than you do for a plank as it requires quite a bit more movement. To carry out a burpee, begin by standing straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Then assume a squat position with the palm of your hands touching the floor. The next thing to do is to kick your feet backwards so you are in a standard press up position before completing a press up, kicking your feet forward and using your momentum to jump off the floor and down again. All that exercise equates to just one burpee rep but over time you will certainly find it a lot easier.
Jackknife sit up
The great thing about this exercise opposed to a standard sit up – which pretty much just works your abdomen – is that a jackknife sit up will also work a number of different muscles including your chest, obliques, calves and thighs. To do a jackknife sit up you start by lying on your back with your legs stretched out straight in front of you and your arms above your head with your hands touching the floor. By lifting your legs and torso towards each other simultaneously you can create a V shape. To complete the rep, lift your shoulder blades off the floor as you you raise your legs and bring your hands up your legs and then lower your arms, torso and legs until they meet the floor at the same time and then you’ll back in the original position.
Like many core exercises, the mountain climber requires you to begin facing the floor in the top press up position. Ensure that you keep your back in a straight line and then bring your right knee towards your chest and then back in to the start position. Then, carry out the exact same motion, but this time with your left leg. The next bit might take a little getting used to but you should then speed up this action, alternating legs quickly – just like you are running but with your hands planted firmly on the ground.
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