Working your abs and core isn’t just for the thing of the youth. Building a stronger core is vital to your overall health, mobility, and flexibility in your 50s and beyond.
The core is at the center of your body, and all your movements either originate or pass through the trunk, where your core is. Your core is quite literally the core of your movements.
A weaker core also affects your posture, balance, and stability. It can negatively affect your range of motion and mobility, which may detriment your independent life.
Whether you are just entering the 50s or well into your retirement, your abs and core are one area you can’t neglect in your training.
Not to mention, if you have a pot belly, core training can help reduce the excess visceral fat in your abdomen and boost your health. You may even tote six packs by the end of your training and enjoy your new, stronger physique.
Set all aside, if you are over 50, it’s critical to focus on strengthening your abs and core to age better and live a better functioning and more mobile life.
If you are on board, here are 5 abs and core exercises to do in your 50s and beyond.
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1. Jumping Jacks
It can be hard to see that jumping jacks are the ultimate core exercise, but it is. This old-school cardio exercise is a total calorie burner that engages your legs, arms, and core.
It’s a move that trains for hip stability, mobility, and coordination, all of which are closely tied to core strength.
How to perform the jumping jacks:
- Stand straight and back flat with your feet hip-width apart and hands by your sides.
- As you jump up, spread your feet wide and bring both hands together above your head. Jump again and bring your arms back to return to the starting position. Repeat for 20-30 reps.
Lunges are a lower body exercise that’s excellent for your core. This move challenges your coordination and balance, which calls your core to engage at a greater level.
This core engagement is key to stability and balance while lunging and stepping back.
How to perform the lunge:
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Brace your core, step forward with one foot, and land with your heel first. Keep the other foot planted flat on the floor.
- Bend your front leg and lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
- As you lunge, keep your head up and back straight. Press into the heel of your front foot to drive your body up to the starting position.
- Complete 10 reps on each side.
3. Push-Up to Row
The push-up to row exercise is the killer combo exercise for your entire core. It’s the ultimate move for anyone looking to strengthen the arms, back, chest, and core.
How to perform the pushup to row exercise:
- Place a pair of dumbbells about shoulder-width apart. Grab each dumbbell with your hand and get into the pushup position with your feet straightened back.
- Keep your back neutral and abs tight. Lower your body into a pushup. Pause at the bottom position and row one dumbbell to the side of your chest.
- Pause again at the top and bring it down to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side and complete 10 reps on each side.
4. Plank Saw
Plank is an effective isometric exercise that engages your entire core, back, and glutes. It also activates your posture stabilizing muscles, which help promote a proper posture.
But doing the same plank week after week gets boring and less challenging.
If that’s you, it’s time to upgrade your plank to the plank saw.
The plank saw incorporates a small movement to the classic plank, making it harder to hold the plank position. This added challenge forces your body to recruit more abs and core muscles to maintain the plank form.
How to perform a plank:
- Get down on all fours with your elbows on the floor and feet fully extended back. Align your elbows to be directly beneath the shoulders and rest your weight on the forearms.
- Keep your head relaxed throughout the exercise.
- Tuck in your abs and draw your navel toward your spine. Adjust your body so it forms a straight line from head to heels. Rock your body back and force with your elbows. It can be a small movement but perform it with control.
- Perform 10-12 reps.
5. Bicycle Crunch
This list isn’t complete without the best exercises for your abs and core. An ACE study on effective abs exercises named the bicycle crunch as the most muscle-activating exercise.
The bicycle crunch was also named #2 in the obliques category, making it one of the best exercises for the entire core.
How to perform the bicycle crunch:
- Lie flat with your legs straight and feet on the floor. support your head by placing your hands on the back of your head. Raise your head and shoulders slightly off the floor.
- Engage your core and keep your spine in a neutral position.
- Bring your knees toward your chest. Straighten your right leg while keeping the left leg where it is. Rotate your rib cage from your core to your left. Try to meet your left knee and right elbow.
- Return to the starting position and switch sides.
- Complete 10 reps per side.