What’s the core root of the problem with your weight loss, and how can you finally get those six pack abs you’ve been dreaming of for the past two years? As it turns out, being your healthiest and fittest self isn’t just about eating in moderation, exercising and decreasing your stress. It’s also about strengthening your core.
Developing a keen sense of responsibility for keeping your core strength—that part of your body that involves your back and abdomen muscles—in tip top shape, will lead you to be the happiest, and healthiest person possible.
Think about your core like this—it’s responsible for your improved swing during your golf game. It’s the essential part of your body that allows you to push through a 50 minute spin class successfully. And, it’s what you need to condition in order to flatten that mid-section of yours! Feeling fit? If you aren’t quite there yet, here are the top four ways to condition your core like never before!
The Modified Plank
When you incorporate the plank position into your daily workout, you’ll quickly develop abs of steel, and a strong core which will allow you to move, jump, and go through your day feeling balanced, strong and fit! Start the plank position by lying down, facing the floor, with your forearms used for balance and your palms on the floor.
Then begin to tighten your abdomen muscles and use them to push yourself off from the floor. Focus on making sure that your back remains flat and contract your abs so that your butt doesn’t curve upwards. Hold this position for as long as you can, not less than 20 seconds and if you’re able, up to 60 seconds. Lower yourself down to the starting position, and repeat.
The Side Plank
If you’re wondering why you have to do the side plank if you’ve already done the more common modified plank, here’s why: this one is a more challenging adaptation of the traditional plank, and will help you to improve your balance, while also strengthen the muscles along the side of your abdomen (which is equally as important as the muscles in front of your core)!
Start by lying on your left side, and by resting on your left forearm and elbow. Place your right arm on the side of your body. Now, as you prepare to balance, concentrate on ensuring that your knees, hips and shoulders are aligned. Breathe in, and tighten your abdomen muscles. Count to ten (or as long as you are able) and repeat on the other side.
If you need to strengthen your back, this is a great exercise to do as part of your daily exercise routine. Start by rolling up a small towel and as you prepare to lie down on your stomach, facing the floor, place your towel underneath your belly button. As you get ready to perform each set, put yourself in the position Superman would be in! Place your hands straight in front of you, as though you are flying. Tighten your glutes, and slowly raise your legs off of the floor, one at a time and hold for 3-5 seconds each. Repeat 5 times. Then, lift one leg off of the floor at a time, and repeat on each side.
Practice these daily conditioning exercises, and while you will feel the burn, you’ll also feel more energy, have better balance and become stronger in a shorter period of time. There’s true power in the core, and when you focus on strengthening it as much as possible, you’ll be able to turn, swivel, shoot, and transform your body—head to toe—to a tight and toned one you’ll be eager to show off!