11 best core strengthening exercises you can do at home

11 best core strengthening exercises you can do at home

No matter where you are on your fitness journey, chances are you won't mind a little more mid-body definition.

Whether you have a six pack or a beer belly, this abs could probably be a little sharper. Not to mention developing more core strength is very important when it comes to improving your overall strength and athleticism, as well as protecting yourself from injury. [1]

Good news? Your abs and core muscles can take a lot of training.

Although most muscle groups are best trained with just two workouts per week, [2]you can train the press every other day to achieve a great effect. You don't even have to leave the house!

Here is my guide to the 11 best core strengthening exercises you can do at home without equipment.

1. Plank

Let's start with the board, which is the mother of all reinforcing rods.

The plank not only works your abs and obliques, it also engages those core muscles deep inside your body that help provide stability and strength. They can also reduce back pain and improve your balance and posture.

Get into a push-up position, feet behind your back, hands under your shoulders. Lock your arms and legs, tighten your core muscles, and keep your body tense (like a board!) for as long as possible.

For a more challenging variation, try doing a forearm plank with your arms out in front of you. Place your forearms on the ground for support, with your elbows under your face, not at shoulder level.

2. Side bar

To further hit your obliques, try this challenging variation: the side plank.

From a plank position, turn to one side. Raise up on your elbow and one leg, keeping your body straight and tense.

Remember to squeeze the body, holding this position for as long as possible.

Switch sides and repeat so as not to create muscle imbalance.

3. Reverse twists

Regular crunches are a great exercise, but when it comes to abs and core strength, you'll want to choose movements that are a lot harder.

When you can do 50 crunches without a problem, it's probably time for something new.

Reverse crunch gives a powerful kick to the lower abdomen and can be performed anywhere, anytime, just like a standard crunch.

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Lie on your back with your knees bent in a crunch position. Place your hands on the ground beside you and lift your pelvis by bringing your knees up to your face and then lower back down.

Engage your lower abs to work, not your back. Do several sets of 12-20 reps.

4. Swing legs

The lower abs are a problem area for many people, so we want to work them hard.

If this sounds like you, then the doctor has prescribed exactly what you need.

Lie on your back in a leg raise position with your arms by your sides or pressed to the floor. Raise your legs together about 6 inches off the floor, then alternately lower one and raise one a few inches in quick succession.

5. Raised Arm Squats

Imagine crunching, but much harder!

Lie on the ground in a seated position with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor in front of you.

Raise your arms to the sky and keep them elevated as you do several sets of squats.

Such a grip on the hands makes the movement extremely difficult and tiring. You will get a lot more benefit from this movement compared to traditional crunches.

6. L-seats

The L-Sit is incredibly difficult to do well, but if you can develop your strength here, the benefits are phenomenal.

To perform an L-Sit, you will need a stable surface from which to press. You can do them on the floor, but it will be a little easier if you can lift yourself up on a pair of dumbbells, two sturdy chairs, or something similar.

Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Place your arms at your sides, palms on the ground or surface, and press. Raise your legs into the air perpendicular to your upper body using the tension of your clasped hands.

Hold this position for as long as possible for an intense strength building workout.

7. Vacuum

And now about something else!

Working the anterior abdominis is easy, but there is another muscle group that is often overlooked: the transverse abdominis.

This muscle is not visible through the skin, but it is incredibly important in stabilizing your body, creating good posture, and keeping your belly firmly against your spine.

To strengthen this muscle and flatten your stomach, try a stomach vacuum. [3]

Stands straight and high. Exhale all the air from the body and at the same time pull the stomach in tightly. Imagine that you are pulling your navel into your spine again.

You will feel how the transverse abdominal muscles are involved. Hold as long as possible, rest and repeat.

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8. Star boards

Planks are too effective not to use several of their variations in everyday life.

The star plank used the same muscles as the traditional plank, but it was much more difficult to hold.

From a push-up or standard plank position, spread your legs and arms wide apart.

9. Boat Pose

Yogis know all about core strength, so if you want a tighter belly, you should take a page from their textbook.

Boat Pose is an extremely complex isometric technique that creates exceptional balance and basic strength.

Star seated. Rise up to your knees, then lift your feet off the floor until they are in line with your face. Balance on your buttocks, squeeze your torso and hold this position for as long as possible.

Your body should form a V and the only point of contact is your butt on the ground. Holding the boat pose must be extremely difficult!

10. Climbers

Ab training alone will not get rid of belly fat. But when you combine abs and cardio, you get something magical.

Climbers are for everyone if you want to blast your core and also get a good sweat.

Get into a plank position. Clasping your hands and body tightly, push one knee off the floor up to your chest, and then return to the starting position. Repeat quickly.

It should look like you're climbing a hill and should wear you out in seconds!

11. Russian Twists

Finally, let's give the obliques a little more love.

Take a sitting position and twist to the knees. From here, lean back so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor, clasp your hands in front of you, and pivot quickly from side to side.

You will feel how the oblique muscles of the abdomen tighten after a few repetitions.

For a more challenging variation, lift your feet off the floor, as in boat pose, while performing the movement, or pivot using a heavy medicine ball for added resistance.

Bottom Line

When it comes to six pack abs, the biggest piece of the puzzle is low body fat. This is best achieved by eating a sensible diet and building strength in your body.

However, if you're looking to improve your athleticism, overall strength, or even longevity, you can afford to train your abs a little more often - 3-4 times per week is ideal.

If you hit them hard enough, you'll probably notice a big improvement in clarity as well!

Endless crunches are one way to train your core, but there are so many better and harder moves you can try without even leaving your living room.

Give them a chance!

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