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Strengthen Your Core With Exercises You Can Do at Home

Strengthen Your Core With Exercises You Can Do at Home

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Strengthen your core with exercises you can do at home using only a paper

Core muscles provide stability and safety during nearly every move, helping reduce back pain and protect you from injury.

Are you new to core exercises or looking for an effective way to tone up your abs without spending a lot of time at the gym? These moves will get you started on your quest!

1. Side Plank

The Side Plank is an effective exercise to build core strength. It works your obliques more than other exercises like crunches or sit-ups, helping reduce the risk of back injury.

There are various variations of this exercise, each targeting the core differently. By exploring all your options, you're sure to find one that works for your body type, fitness level and goals.

To increase the difficulty of this exercise, add movement. To do so, secure a resistance band to an anchor such as a power rack or squat rack.

2. Lunge

The lunge is an easy yet effective exercise that targets your lower body and core. Since you use this movement pattern daily, mastering its proper form is key for optimal effectiveness.

Lunges can be challenging, but if you're willing to put in the effort and learn how to perform them correctly, they will strengthen your legs, glutes, and hamstrings. Plus they're an excellent way to challenge your balance!

First and foremost, avoid lunging with your knee past your toes. Doing so puts undue strain on the joints and may even result in injury.

3. Squats

Squats are a widely popular bodyweight workout, used by athletes from sprinters to football players to ski jumpers. Not only do they build strength in the lower body and core (Krcmar, 2021; Lopez-Segovia, 2011; Pauli, 2016), but they can also strengthen muscles throughout the upper body (Pauli, 2016).

Squats are an effective way to burn fat, build muscle, and enhance balance. Furthermore, they stimulate hormones essential for building muscle mass and losing weight.

Squats are a simple exercise you can do at home, in any space. They can easily become part of your daily routine or even become the focus of an entire workout session!

4. Bird Dog

The Bird Dog, commonly referred to as the quadruped exercise, is a bodyweight move that works your core muscles (abdominals and obliques) as well as back. It's an anti-rotation exercise, meaning it engages your core so you don't lean side to side while performing reps, according to Hodges.

This move is an effective way to strengthen your lower back and abdominals, which may help alleviate low back pain. Additionally, it improves shoulder mobility and balance.

To perform this exercise, get on all fours on an exercise mat with your knees under your hips and hands about shoulder-width apart. Lift one arm in front of you and the opposite leg behind you; then switch sides after each repetition.

5. Lunge-to-Squat

The lunge-to-squat is an excellent exercise to strengthen your core and add more cardio into your workout. You can do it with dumbbells or barbells, working muscles in both upper legs and abdomen as well.

You can make the lunge-to-squat more challenging by placing a step or platform beneath your front foot. This variation will engage more quads and hamstrings than regular lunges while being easier on your knees.

When lunging, make sure the front thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is slightly behind your hips. In this position, you should feel a tight squeeze in your glutes as you bend the knee of your back leg and push back up into the starting position.

6. Side Plank-to-Squat

When performing barbell lifts such as squats or deadlifts, having a strong core is essential. The obliques are the muscles responsible for bending and rotating your trunk while protecting your spine from injuries.

A side plank is an effective way to strengthen your abs, as well as build stability in the core that's essential for performing up-and-down barbell lifts.

You can modify this exercise to meet varying abilities by placing chains or weight plates on your hips for extra resistance and performing the Renegade row while in a plank position. For an even greater challenge, elevate your feet on a bench or wall for an even tougher version of the exercise.

7. Bird Dog-to-Lunge

If you're searching for a core-specific move that will translate well to loaded barbell lifts, the bird dog is an excellent option. Not only does it increase strength and flexibility, but it also develops rigidity and stability - essential attributes when performing deadlift and squat exercises.

Stabilization is sometimes overlooked in favor of more glamorous goals like six-pack abs or toned thighs, but it's an integral component for overall body health and strength. By drawing in your low ab muscles - transversus abdominus - bird dog works hard to keep you stable even when your hips and spine are moving opposite limbs.

As with all other exercises on this list, it's best to incorporate the bird dog strategically - for instance, during warm-ups or supersets between heavy barbell lifts. It also makes an excellent core-strength workout all by itself.

8. Squat-to-Squat

Squatting-to-squat is an excellent exercise that will build core strength. It trains your mind and builds discipline which you can apply elsewhere in life (like adhering to healthy eating habits, going to bed on time, or doing the work).

The Squat-to-Squat is an effective way to build core strength without placing undue strain on your back. Start in a plank position, lower yourself to the floor and then rise again - providing ample opportunity for movement throughout each rep.

Your squat form should begin with your heels shoulder-width apart, turn your toes out 30 degrees and push your knees out to one side - this will make it easier to break parallel.

9. Side Plank-to-Squat

One of the best ways to build core strength is through exercises that emphasize stability. This is especially important when performing heavy barbell lifts.

Side planks are an effective way to strengthen your obliques, which are essential for efficiently transferring force during an up-and-down barbell movement.

Furthermore, side planks help you focus on stabilizing your body when doing other dynamic exercises like squats and deadlifts.

Intermediate and advanced lifters can make these exercises more challenging by attaching chains or weight plates on your hips. Doing two to three sets for 30 to 45 seconds each week will build strength so you can progress into heavier isometric training. Start with a few reps, increasing intensity every couple of weeks.

10. Bird Dog-to-Lunge

The Bird Dog-to-Lunge is an effective core strengthening exercise. Perform it after squats and lunges to strengthen your core in multiple ways.

The key to this exercise is stabilization. Use your low abs to support your middle, helping keep your back strong and prevent injury when performing other exercises.

This movement also puts pressure on your erector spinae muscle, the primary spinal muscle responsible for flexion and rotation.

If you're having difficulty with the exercise, add some weight or switch up your arm and leg between reps. It may take a few moments to get used to it, but once you find that balance, the challenge will become much more intense and rewarding.

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