The Top Exercises for a Strong Core Trainers Swear By
There are a bunch of simple, everyday activities that rely on your body's core strength. If your "trunk" isn't as strong as it should be, your posture, balance, and stability can greatly suffer. Needless to say, the better core strength you have, the better your overall physical fitness will be. So gear up to get those abs into the best possible shape, because we chatted with Maggie Priore, a personal trainer on Fyt, who shares the top exercises for a strong core. (If you didn't know, Fyt is the nation's biggest personal training service that makes fitness under the expert guidance of an in-person or virtual, certified fitness professional convenient and accessible for anyone.)
Trainers love the below moves, so add them to your workout routine, and you'll see noticeable results. Read on to learn more about the best exercises for a strong core, and next up, don't miss The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
Leg Raise Variations
Get ready to work your lower abs with Leg Raise Variations. Begin by lying down and bringing your legs up to 90 degrees to perform the basic version of this move. Priore explains, "Lower your legs until they are about a foot off the ground. If you feel your back or hip flexors start to compensate, do not take your legs quite as low. You can also bend your knees to modify the exercise. More advanced individuals can do Hanging Leg Raises where you hang from a bar and raise your legs to 90 degrees." Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
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Planks and Plank Variations
According to Priore, Planks are a "simple" but really stellar exercise to work your core. If performing a traditional plank is too challenging, you can tweak it by positioning yourself on your knees or hands. Note that a Forearm Plank is more difficult.
"Think about engaging your glutes and bringing your elbows towards your heels, this will help 'brace' your core," Priore explains. "If a regular plank is too easy you can do variations to make the plank less stable (hip dips, going up and down on your hands, etc). Remember to try side planks, too!" Complete 3 sets of 30 to 60 seconds.
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Okay, Deadlifts may not look like a core-targeted exercise, but Priore points out this should be a total-body movement when performed correctly. Begin by working on good form without incorporating added weight. Once your form is solid, slowly add in the extra weight.
Priore instructs, "Place dumbbells or a barbell in your hands, holding it parallel to the front of your body. Stand hip distance apart and hinge forward while slightly bending your knees, lowering the weights towards the ground. Use your hips, glutes, and core to lift yourself back up to starting position. Engage your core throughout the entire exercise, but especially as you're coming up from the deadlift. Think belly button to spine and having the same 'brace' feeling as when doing a plank." Complete 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
If you're looking for more mind and body inspo, be sure to check out Get a Flatter Stomach With These Quick Daily Exercises, Trainer Says and 5 Simple Hobbies To Help You Lead an Incredibly Healthy Lifestyle. Getting on the right track to meeting your workout goals all starts with having key healthy habits on deck, like following a nutritious diet. In these pieces, we explore how you can get into shape "the fun and easy way," in addition to ultra-productive daily moves that'll help you achieve a flat tummy.