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Having a strong core means so much more than chiseled abs. Exercising your core muscles can help bulletproof your back, maintain good posture and avoid pain and injury during other workouts.
Most people associate working your core with sit-ups, but Kate Whapples, a strength and conditioning coach from Yumi Nutrition, tells us this is “a really outdated and low reward approach to training”. Cue a collective sigh of relief from everyone who hates them.
“The word core makes people think abs, but your core muscles actually refer to any underlying muscles in the torso that help maintain posture and pelvic stability,” Whapples explains. “So it’s time we moved away from sit-up based core workouts and started working all the muscles that make up a strong core.”
To help you get started, Whapples has created a five-minute workout, that, if completed regularly, will get you on the road to great core strength.
Alternate Leg Raise: 2 x 30 seconds
Great for your lower core. Lying down on your back, you are going to lift your legs alternately, maintaining as straight a leg position as possible. Make sure you’re getting your legs as close to the floor as possible for the best burn.
Bird Dogs: 2 x 10 each side
This is a great corrective exercise that helps you work on your core stability and awareness – these are an essential for anyone with a desk job! Start on all fours, making sure your wrists are stacked under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Then lift your right arm and left leg until they are parallel to the ground, whilst doing this you should be focusing on keeping your pelvis still and stable – imagine there’s a football on your lower back that you don’t want to fall! Return to the start position and switch sides.
Boat Pose: 2 x 30 seconds
From a seated position, keep your knees tucked to your chest and raise your shins until they are parallel to the ground, with your arms in line with your shins. Ensure your chest stays lifted and shoulders pulled back. If this is enough of a challenge, stay there, if you need an extra push, try straightening out alternate legs whilst maintaining the position.
Dead Bug: 2 x 10 each side
Start lying down on your back with your knees lifted to your chest. Straighten out both arms so they are facing the ceiling, and create a 90 degree bend at the knee. From here, straighten out and lower to the floor your left leg and right arm slowly, maintaining the start position of your other limbs. Then in a controlled way, move back to the start position and repeat on the other side.
Assisted Side Plank: 2 x 30 seconds each side
Stack your elbow underneath your shoulder, if you’re a beginner to core work, balance on your bottom knee, or if you want a bigger challenge, balance on your foot, then lift the hips to create a straight, strong line with your body. Ensure your shoulders and hips are inline, and that you don’t let your hips creep closer to the floor throughout the movement.
Move celebrates exercise in all its forms, with accessible features encouraging you to add movement into your day – because it’s not just good for the body, but the mind, too. We get it: workouts can be a bit of a slog, but there are ways you can move more without dreading it. Whether you love hikes, bike rides, YouTube workouts or hula hoop routines, exercise should be something to enjoy.