Transform your midsection with the top five core exercises to help tone and strengthen your core.

1. Planks

Planks are a simple but effective exercise that targets the entire core, including the abs, obliques and lower back.

  • Start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body straight from head to toe.
  • Hold this position for as long as possible, keeping your abs and back muscles engaged.

As you progress, steadily lengthen the duration of your plank daily until you can hold it for 1 minute or longer.

2. Push-Ups

Push-ups work all the muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest and back to keep you stable as you press through the movement.

  • Start in a plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders.
  • Lower your body toward the ground in a controlled motion, ensuring your elbows stay close to you and your core remains tight.
  • Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat.

Try adding explosive push-ups to your bench warm-up routine. An explosive push-up is done by pushing off the ground as hard as possible and clapping your hands midair.

3. Sit-Ups

Sit-ups are a classic exercise that targets the abdominal muscles, including the rectus abdominis (the “six-pack” muscles) and the transverse abdominis (the deep abdominal muscles that support the spine).

  • Recline on your back with your legs bent and the soles of your feet securely planted on the ground.

  • Place your hands behind your head, and lift your upper body off the ground using your abdominal muscles.
  • Avoid bending your head and neck forward, and avoid pulling on your head with your hands.

Looking to up the ante? Consider giving V-sit-ups a try for an extra challenge. If you’re finding sit-ups too challenging, crunches are a great option.

4. Russian Twists

Next up — Russian twists. The Russian twist is an ideal exercise to condition and strengthen the obliques — the muscles on either side of your abdomen.

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. 
  • Securely clasp a weight, such as a dumbbell or medicine ball, in both hands while slightly leaning back, keeping your spine straight.
  • Twist your torso to the left and right, making sure to engage your obliques as you do so.

5. Squats

Squats aren’t only for legs and glutes — they also target the core.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground. 
  • Keep your back straight, chest up and core engaged throughout the movement.

Incorporating these five exercises into your routine helps you build strength, improves your posture and stability and increases your overall fitness level. If you’re looking for more guidance on building a solid core, consider speaking to a personal trainer who can devise a workout routine tailored to you.