5 Effective Workouts for a Tighter Core
With changing leaves and the crisp fall breeze to look forward to around the corner, it's time to dial in on whatever lagging aspects of your fitness fell by the wayside this summer. From armpit pooch to belly fat, summer vacation catches up to us all. Don't fret, because with the right exercises on deck, you can get back on track. We have five targeted workouts for a tighter core by fall.
To effectively tighten and tone your belly, you want to hit a variety of workouts that collectively target all the different muscle groups in your core. These include the muscles in your lower and upper abdomen, hips, and obliques on the outsides of your abs that help to develop an excellent V-taper appearance.
Perform each of the below routines once per week. Aim to complete all five workouts across the week for the most rapid core-tightening effect. Be sure to combine this routine with a healthy diet and lifestyle for the best results.
Are you ready to get started? Keep reading for the best targeted workouts for a tighter core by fall. And when you're finished, don't miss out on The 8 Best Exercises To Melt Belly Fat.
Workout 1: The Core Starter
Planks help stabilize the spine, providing a foundation for most other movements. They work the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques, and lower back.
To perform a plank, start by lying face down and propping yourself up on your elbows and toes. Keep your body straight from your head to your heels. Engage your core, squeezing your glutes. Hold this position, and breathe. Repeat for the target time.
2. Side Planks
Engaging the obliques, the side plank helps stabilize the pelvic girdle.
To perform a side plank, lie on your side, supporting your body between your forearm and foot. Stack your feet one on top of the other. Lift your hips, keeping your body in a straight line. Hold this position while focusing on breathing. Repeat for the target time.
3. Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches are essential for rotational strength and endurance in the core. They work the rectus abdominis and obliques.
To perform bicycle crunches, lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Lift your head and shoulder blades off the ground. Rotate your right elbow to your left knee, then switch sides. Continue to alternate while engaging the core. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Workout 2: Strength and Stability
1. Russian Twists
Thanks to the rotational component, this movement helps in rotational strength and balance.
To perform Russian twists, sit on the floor with your knees bent and your heels touching the ground. Lean back slightly, and lift your feet off the ground. Hold a weight or object in front of you, and rotate your torso to touch it to the ground beside you. Switch sides, maintaining a strong core. Repeat for the target repetitions.
2. Dead Bugs
Dead bugs aid in enhancing coordination and lumbar stability. This exercise works the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.
To perform a dead bug, lie on your back with your arms reaching toward the ceiling. Lift your legs, and have your knees bent at 90 degrees. Slowly lower your right arm and left leg, keeping them just off the ground. Return to the starting position, and alternate sides. Repeat for the target repetitions.
3. Bird Dog
Bird dogs are vital for improving balance, coordination, and posterior chain activation. This exercise targets the rectus abdominis, glutes, and erector spinae.
To perform a bird dog, start on all fours in a tabletop position. Extend your right arm forward and left leg backward simultaneously. Maintain a neutral spine, and engage the core. Return to the starting position, and alternate sides. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Workout 3: Dynamic Drills
1. Mountain Climbers
Next up on this list of targeted workouts for a tighter core, get ready for dynamic drills. Start with the mountain climber exercise, which aids in cardiovascular fitness while strengthening the core. It works the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors.
To perform mountain climbers, start in a pushup plank position. Drive your right knee toward your chest. Switch legs, driving the left knee toward the chest. Continue to alternate at a brisk pace while maintaining a solid plank position. Repeat for the target repetitions.
2. Leg Raises
Leg raises are essential for targeting the lower portion of the rectus abdominis. They work the rectus abdominis and hip flexors.
To perform leg raises, lie on your back with your hands by your sides or under your hips for support. Lift both legs up toward the ceiling, keeping them straight. Slowly lower them down without letting them touch the ground. Lift them back up with control. Repeat for the target repetitions.
3. Flutter Kicks
Flutter kicks are great for ab endurance and lower abdominal strength. They target the rectus abdominis and hip flexors.
To perform flutter kicks, lie on your back with your hands under your hips. Lift both legs off the ground slightly. Kick one leg up while the other goes down. Alternate in a fluttering motion. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Workout 4: Power and Plyometrics
1. Standing Oblique Crunches
Standing oblique crunches focus on the obliques and help improve balance and coordination. They work the obliques and rectus abdominis.
To perform a standing oblique crunch, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your head, elbows out. Lift your left knee, and bend your left elbow to meet in a side crunch. Return to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions, and switch sides.
Burpees are a total-body exercise that also engages your core. This exercise works the rectus abdominis, obliques, chest, and legs.
To perform burpees, begin in a standing position. Drop into a squat, placing your hands on the ground. Jump your feet back, landing in a plank position. Jump your feet back toward your hands, and explosively jump up, reaching arms overhead. Repeat for the target repetitions.
3. Tuck Jumps
Tuck jumps are great for explosive power and engage the core. This exercise works the rectus abdominis and legs.
To perform tuck jumps, start in a standing position with your arms by your sides. Jump up explosively, bringing your knees toward your chest. Land softly, absorbing the impact through the full foot. Immediately spring back up. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Workout 5: Isometrics and Burnouts
1. Hollow Body Holds
The last of these targeted workouts for a tighter core kicks off with the hollow hold. This pose is all about creating tension throughout the body and strengthening the core. It works the rectus abdominis and obliques.
To perform a hollow body hold, lie flat on your back with your arms overhead. Engage the core, lifting your legs, head, and shoulders off the ground. Keep your arms reaching back and your legs straight, forming a "banana" shape with your body. Maintain a tight core, and try to reduce any space between the lower back and the floor. Hold this position, and breathe deeply. Repeat for the target time. Use a Pilates ring between your legs for an added challenge.
2. Boat Pose
This yoga-inspired exercise is excellent for both balance and core strength. It targets the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors.
To perform a boat pose, sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat. Lean back slightly, and lift your feet off the floor, keeping your knees bent. Extend your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor. To increase the difficulty, straighten your legs, forming a "V" shape with your body. Engage the core, keeping the spine straight. Hold this position. Repeat for the target time.
3. Superman Holds
This exercise is vital for counterbalancing anterior core work, targeting the muscles of the posterior chain. It works the erector spinae, glutes, and upper back muscles.
To perform a Superman hold, lie face down on the floor with your arms extended in front of you. Engage the core and glutes. Lift the arms, chest, and legs off the ground simultaneously. Ensure the neck remains neutral by looking down and slightly forward. Hold the position, squeezing the muscles of the back. Repeat for the target time.