Core strength is critical to your overall health and well-being. These muscles found throughout the trunk of your body, involve multiple muscles from your neck to your pelvis, helping you to bend, lift, sit, stand, climb, balance, reach, and even walk. So, it’s worth your while showing your core some love every single day with specific exercises targeting this area. Practicing daily, simple core movements can significantly prevent injuries, improve your range of motion, boost strength, and maintain mobility.
To stay motivated in engaging your core muscles with specific movements every day, various core exercises keep it interesting. Each day, take about 10 minutes devoted to working on your core.
Below are seven ideal core moves (one for each day of the week), approved by fitness experts.
Work these moves in each day along with working on cardio, strength, and flexibility too.
- Sunday – Forearm plank
Maintaining a plank position takes endurance and strength in your back, abs, and core. It’s one of the best moves for core conditioning and works muscles in your glutes and hamstrings, helping to improve posture and balance.
How to do:
- Rest forearms on the floor. Have elbows directly under your shoulders with your hands facing forward, keeping your arms parallel.
- Extend your legs out behind you with your toes resting on the floor. As a result, your body will look like a straight line from your shoulder to your toes.
- Keep your head and neck in a neutral position and gaze at your hands.
- Hold the position for at least a minute or more. Repeat five times.
- Monday – Sideways twist
This is a great move to engage your abs and oblique’s and warm up your spine.
How to do:
- Sit with knees bent in front of you, flex your feet, and keep heels on the floor.
- Hold a dumbbell (between 3 to 8 pounds) at chest level, lean back until your abdominal muscles engage.
- Twist your torso slowly from right to left, keeping your core tight during the move. Do move up to one minute. Repeat five times.
- Tuesday – Bird-dog stretch
This move strengthens the core muscles, specifically the abdominals, lower back, butt, and thighs.
How to do:
- Begin on your hand and knees in a tabletop position. Place knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Maintain a neutral or flat spine by engaging your abdominal muscles.
- Raise your left arm and right leg, keeping your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor.
Lengthen the back of your neck and tuck your chin into your chest to gaze down at the floor.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower the left arm and right leg back down to starting position.
- Raise your right arm and left leg, holding this position for a few seconds. Then, return to the starting position.
- Do two to five sets of eight to twelve repetitions.
- Wednesday – Body weight workout
Using your body weight can also help strengthen core muscles. Doing lunges and squats are some of the best body weight workouts to maximize core benefits. In addition, lunges and squats help strengthen the muscles of your legs and buttocks. Be sure to prevent injury by keeping your back straight and tightening your abdominal muscles.
- Thursday – Yoga
Yoga is for you if you want to both strengthen AND stretch your core muscles. The benefits of this ancient move help you from head to toe. Regular yoga helps improve balance, flexibility, overall strength, mobility, mood, range of motion, reflexes, focus, and quality of life. Many static (still) postures require engaging your core muscles in order to maintain stability for the duration of the pose or stretch. Start off slowly and gradually on more difficult yoga poses if you’re a beginner.
- Friday – Hip bridges
A great place to start for strong core muscles is with hip bridges. A basic hip bridge move enhances core and spinal stability and strengthens your glutes and hamstrings.
How to do:
- Lie on your back, rest hands at your side, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Tighten your abs and buttocks by pushing your lower back into the floor.
- Raise hips, creating a straight line from knees to shoulders.
- Squeeze your core muscles, pulling your belly button toward your spine.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds
- Slowly lower your hips to the starting position
- Saturday – Flutter kicks
This deceptively easy move makes a huge difference in building core strength. Simply extending your legs and hovering your heels over the floor works core stabilizers while targeting the abdominal wall while protecting your back.
How to do:
- Lie on the floor on your back with legs straight and arms by your sides, palms facing down. Tuck your chin as if holding an egg under it throughout the movement.
- Engaging your core, lift both legs four to six inches off the ground with toes pointed away from your body.
- Raise one leg slightly higher than the other while lowering the opposite leg. Continue to move your legs up and down in a controlled, alternating fashion or fluttering motion.
- Continue this movement for at least one minute. Repeat five times.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.