Best core exercises

7 Best Core Exercises for All Levels, Science-Backed

Whether you are walking, running, sitting, or squatting, you need your core muscles to be strong.

Your core — which includes back, obliques, pelvis, and gluteal muscles — creating a stable platform for your arms and legs to produce efficient movement and force.

It’s also where our center of gravity is located. 

Because of that, your core needs to be strong, flexible, and stable. A weak or inflexible core can impair how well your arms and legs move, draining energy and forces from many of the moves you make. 

Some of the core muscles, especially those located closest to the spine, are primarily responsible for providing stability or preventing excessive movement that could place increased stress on our spine. Other core muscles, generally the larger and more visible muscles in the mirror, are primarily responsible for generating movement.  

For these reasons, core exercises should be part of your exercise program.

These seven core workouts in this report feature exercises that emphasize moves that will strengthen both your inner and outer core muscles.

Not only these exercises will strengthen your core, but they will also firm your abs, giving you a sleeker and flatter stomach. 

Pick a few 1-2 exercises out of the list and perform for 12-15 reps and 2-3 sets each.

Also, check out the 15-Minute Core Workout at the Bottom of the page. 

Aiming to lose some abdominal fat? Pair these exercises with a regular cardio routine and supplement your diet with these belly fat burning foods for faster, better results.

1. Dynamic Plank

Get down into a push-up position. Bend your elbows to support your body-weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to your ankles. Embrace your core by contracting your abs and rib cage.

Press your body up into the top position of a push-up by extending your arms one at a time. Pause then reverse the movement and return to your elbows. Do 10-12 reps for 2-3 sets.

2. Down Dog Leg Up

Begin in downward facing dog position, then raise your right leg to move into a down-dog split.

Bend your right knee and pull it toward your forehead. Straighten the leg back, tighten your abs then bring the knee outside your right elbow. Straighten the leg again, then bring the knee toward your left elbow. Do 10-12 times Reps for 2-3 sets. Switch legs and repeat. 

3. Mountain Climbers Cross-Body

Get down into a pushup position with your body forming a straight line from head to heels. Brace your core, pick up your right foot, and slowly bring your right knee toward your left shoulder.

Then quickly return to the starting position and alternate to the other side. Continue alternating between your left and right leg. Do 10-12 reps on each side for 2-3 sets.

4. Down Dog to Plank

From a push-up position with your arms and legs fully extended (wrists directly under shoulders). Brace your core and abdominal muscles.

Slowly exhale and shift your weight backward by pushing your hips up and back. Continue moving until your body forms an inverted V, allowing your head to hang loosely between your shoulders.

Keep your arms and legs extended, and be sure to maintain a neutral (flat) spine. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds. From downward-facing dog, move forward back into the push-up or plank position. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then continue back and forth for the prescribed number of repetitions.

5. Side Plank

Lie down on your right side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your right forearm so your body forms a diagonal line. Rest your left hand on your hip. Embrace your abs and rib cage and hold for 60 seconds, then switch side.

If you can’t make it to 30-60 seconds. Be sure your hips and knees stay off the floor.

6. Plank Jack

Get down into a plank position with hands aligned directly under shoulders and abs tight, body straight from head to heels. Bend knees and jump feet up slightly and about a foot to the right.

Jump feet back to the starting position and repeat to the left. Do 10-12 reps for 2-3 sets.

7. Horse Stance Dynamic

Get down into a kneeling position on all fours with your hands and knees hip and shoulder-width apart. Breathe out as you lift your left arm and right leg up until it is parallel to the floor.

In a controlled fluid movement, breathe in and bring them in underneath your body, rounding your spine up towards the ceiling. As you breathe and move, imagine you are creating a ‘bellows’ effect in your stomach. Do 10-12 reps for 2-3 sets.

Repeat the same steps using your right arm and left leg for the same repetitions.

The Takeaway

These seven exercises will strengthen your core muscles and help your body move and function better. 

They are easy to perform and can be done anywhere using just your own body weight, without needing any fitness equipment.  

To get started, add one or two exercises from the list to your daily workout. 

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