Building a Strong Core: Seven Fantastic Exercises beyond Crunches
by Tony on May 18, 2016
Out of all the muscles in the body, the core muscles are one of the most important to develop. Core muscles regulate balance and coordination, and are essential muscles for all kinds of movement. Therefore, it is important to give these muscles the time they deserve in your workout. This article lists seven core exercises beyond crunches that you can incorporate into your routines to build core strength and endurance.
Russian twists are an excellent core exercise to improve both strength and balance. To do this exercise, sit down, extend your legs in front of you, and lean back slightly. Then, twist your upper body one way and your legs the other, alternating sides. Make sure to keep your core tight and lean back far enough to make this exercise effective. To make this more challenging, try holding a dumbbell as you twist from side to side.
Reverse crunches can be done by laying on your back and bending your knees into a traditional crunch position. However, instead of lifting your shoulders, repeatedly lift your legs off the ground using your core muscles. To make this more challenging, you can place an exercise or medicine ball between your knees to further strengthen your core.
Leg and Hip Lifts
To do a leg lift, lay flat on your back and quickly raise one leg in the air, then the other. Switch back and forth between your legs, never allowing them to touch the ground. If you are looking for a challenge, try raising and lowering both of your legs at once, and slow your movements down to make this even more difficult. To do hip lifts, lay on your back and raise your feet straight into the air. Repeatedly lift your hips a few inches off of the ground. Try longer sets of these (20-30 reps) to build endurance.
Flutters and Cycling
To do flutters, lay on your back and straighten your legs. Lift them into the air, then alternate moving your left and right legs up and down in a “fluttering” movement. These should be quick; they are intended for fast bursts of energy, not for slow movements. To do cycling exercises for your core, again lay on your back and raise your legs into the air, keeping them together. Then, bring your left knee to your left elbow in a circling motion. Do the same with your right knee and right elbow. The goal is to create a circular, cycling motion while using to the core to lift your hips and extend your legs.
Again, lay flat on your back. This time, you will lift your legs straight into the air at the same time as you lift your arms into the air. Your entire back should come off of the ground. The objective is to tighten your core so that your legs and arms move towards each other to create a “V” shape.