4 Exercises to Build Core Muscle Faster
Posted on August 17, 2020
The muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen make up your core. They’re not the most visible muscles, so working on them generally won’t yield the type of flashy gains you get by working on your arms, but they’re incredibly important for your health. If you play any kind of sport, core strength is essential. And most core exercises don’t require a gym, so they’re great for a home work out. If you’re loaded up on protein and ready to start conditioning your core, here are five exercises that can help you get to a stronger core quick.
1. The Plank
This exercise is an effective way of strengthening your erector spinae, multifidus, hip flexors, and other core muscle groups. And it’s just about the simplest exercise you can do, requiring very little movement and no equipment. To perform the plank, align your body straight out, stomach down, on the floor, with your legs back and your forearms underneath your body. Raise yourself off the floor, supporting yourself on your toes and forearms. Keep your torso as straight as possible, with your head relaxed and your eyes on the floor. You might be surprised how quickly you feel yourself tiring. That’s fine! Start by doing 5 sets of 30-second planks, and work your way up to longer intervals over time. You can throw in some variation by raising a leg or arm off the floor during the plank.
2. The V-Sit
This exercise focuses on the abs, which, if we’re being honest, are the part of the core that most people want to work on. The rectus abdominus, better known as the “six-pack” for its appearance when properly toned, is targeted by the V-Sit, along with the external and internal obliques and the hip flexors. Start seated with your legs uncrossed and your hands and feet on the floor. Then contract your abs to lift your legs up to a 45-degree angle. At the same time, reach your hands out toward your shins as far as you can. Remain in this “V” shape for 10-15 seconds to start off with, increasing the interval as you get stronger.
3. The Bird Dog
For this exercise, which works the upper and lower abdominals as well as the glutes, get into position balancing on your hands and knees, with your stomach parallel to the floor. Then, simultaneously extend your right arm and your left leg, maintaining balance with your opposite limbs and making an effort to stay stable. Hold for 10-15 seconds or as long as you’re able, then slowly return to all fours. Repeat with the opposite limbs. The more you can stabilize yourself, the more you’ll be working your abdominals.
4. The Push-Up
You’re probably already familiar with this exercise, but you may not have known that it strengthens your core. That’s assuming that you do it correctly, of course! Start on the floor on your hands and knees, with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders on the ground. Put your legs out behind you, supporting yourself with the toes as in the plank, and put your weight on your hands. Contract your abs and tighten your core by sucking in your stomach, then lower yourself down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Exhale as you push yourself up to the start position. Repeat as many times as you’re able.
Core exercises help improve your balance, which is important for engaging in other types of weight training without suffering an injury or hitting a plateau. The core muscles are essential for everything from balance to digestion. Don’t keep walking around with a weak core! Try these exercises as part of your next workout.