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10 Core Exercises For Women

10 Core Exercises For Women

You can’t make excuses when it comes to your fitness, right? No matter how busy you are, you need to be in good shape and health. It’s obviously challenging to find those precious few minutes for a workout, but you need to find time for exercise and add it to your daily checklist. Creative exercise regimens can be a great help when you just want to skip your trip to the gym. People from different walks of life are stuck in this dilemma, especially working women who frequently have to ask the question “When do I workout? I simply just don’t have the time.” Believe me, you do!

All of us desire a lean, hourglass shape, and fitting exercise into our daily routine seems like an impossible task. But there are some basic strategies you can use to get your muscles working and your heart pumping to achieve a well-toned body. We’ve created a list of the top 10 core exercises for women to fit in their daily routine to make the most of their exercise time. No matter how busy you are with your everyday chores, take out some time, work that body, and get some booty.

1. Side Plank

Side-Plank

    The side plank is a yoga exercise that strengthens the arms, abdomen, and legs. The overall sense of balance is improved. It is a variation of the normal plank exercise where you build strength by assuming the position of a pushup.

    How To Do It: Lie on your right side with your legs absolutely straight. Lift yourself up with your right forearm, making a diagonal shape. Your left hand should be resting on your hip. Brace your abs and try to hold for 60 seconds. If it’s not possible for you to make it to 60 seconds, hold for 10 to 15 seconds and rest for 5; make sure your hips and knees stay off the floor. Repeat on the other side.

    2. Pushups

    Push Up

      Pushups are the best exercise for women. Add pushups to your regular workout to strengthen your chest. Your shoulders, triceps, and glutes will get into tremendous shape with a perfectly toned and tightened core. Give yourselves an extra boost by working all those muscles at once, torching tons of calories. You can’t ask for more in a single exercise, right?

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      How To Do It: Position your hands just outside your shoulders, directly below the shoulder line. Keep your feet together and make sure your body is in a perfect line from heels to head, as if a broomstick along your body would touch your head, back, buttocks, and heels. Core and glutes should be tightly engaged. Lower yourself enough to at least get your elbows to 90 degrees and touch your chest to the ground if possible. Raise your body back up and straighten your arms (without locking your elbows).

      3. Step-ups

      Step up

        The step-up is a very simple compound exercise that works several lower-body muscles. It also has many variations that you can include in your daily exercises to stay fit while keeping your routine fresh.

        How To Do It: Stand in front of a step, bench, or stair with straight posture (back, legs, arms, and feet absolutely straight). Your feet should be hip-distance apart and you should have weights in both hands with your palms facing your body. Step onto the center of the step with one foot. Bend your knee slowly and step back down. Remember to switch sides.

        4. Bridges

        Glute-bridge

          The bridge exercise, also known as the hip raise, is an excellent workout to give strength to the bottom, backs of the legs, and the core. People with back injuries can perform this exercise to align their back muscles.

          How To Do It: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips off the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause at the top then slowly lower your body back to the floor.

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          5. Plank with Arm Raise

          Side Plank with arm raise

            The plank with arm raise is a multifunctional exercise. It improves shoulder and spine stability, along with strengthening the core and lower back regions. The rolling movement of the body as you switch arms shifts the load to your core, ultimately making you work hard to maintain your balance and impacting your posture immediately.

            How To Do It: Get into a pushup position. Slowly raise one arm up and turn your body to face the side with your feet stacked. Hold this position for a few sections, then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat the movement on the other side.

            6. Chair dips

            chair dips

              Chair dips are considered to be one of the best workouts for your triceps, as the entire weight of your body is being held by your triceps as you move through a complete range of motion. This triceps exercise can be done anywhere you can find a sturdy chair.

              How To Do It: Face away from the chair. Hold onto the edge with both hands, knuckles pointing right in front. Get yourself into a sliding posture with your bottom off the seat and arms absolutely straight, but making sure your body is close to the chair. Lower your body for two counts slowly while bending your elbows (which should be pointing directly behind you). Straighten your arms for a count of two. They should be supporting all your weight. Do 10 reps per set. During the last set, hold at the bottom for eight counts and pulse up and down slightly before straightening your arms.

              7. Lunges

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              Capture

                Lunges are a great exercise for the development of the thighs and hips as they target the hip extensors and the knee extensors. There are two main kinds of lunges — the walking lunge and the stationary lunge. Both variations involve the same muscles but the involvement of those muscles is very different.

                How To Do It: Stand tall, pull your shoulders back and place your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right leg and lower your body slowly. Try and bend your front knee to 90 degrees. It’ll be difficult in the beginning, but you will make progress. Make sure your back knee is slightly above the floor and is not rested. Push yourself up and repeat.

                8. Squats

                squats

                  The squat is the king of all exercises. It is a full-body compound exercise and more muscles work in this movement than in any other exercise, making it the most effective exercise to gain overall strength. You can do squats anywhere because you aren’t using anything else except your own body weight. It is primarily used for lower body, thigh, and buttock training. Apart from overall strength, squatting also improves digestion, circulation, and posture.

                  How To Do It: Stand tall and straight with your feet hip-width apart and arms down by your sides. Lower your body back as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Try and push your weight onto your heels. Your arms will start to rise in front of you for balance as you are lowering down. Your spine should be neutral at all times and there shouldn’t be any time during the motion when your knees go over your toes. Keep your lower body parallel with the floor and your chest should be lifted and not rounded. Lift back up, with control, to the starting position.

                  9. Planks

                  Plank-exercise

                    The appearance of your abs could be improved by a well-performed plank workout. It’s the best thing you can do to shape your abs perfectly. The most important thing to keep in mind is the fact that generally people do planks wrong and achieve nothing even after several months of working out. The key to success is to reach a striking position. If you have any spinal or shoulder injuries, avoid attempting this without medical advice.

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                    How To Do It: Get into a pushup position and bend your elbows. Rest your weight onto your forearms and not your hands or wrists. Make sure your body is forming a straight line from the shoulders to the ankles. Start engaging your core by sucking your belly button into your spine. Hold this position for as long as you can.

                    10. Arm Circles

                    Arm Circles

                      This exercise seems extremely simple but is actually a very deceptive and difficult move. It does not add bulk to the muscles involved, yet increases your overall endurance. This movement requires no equipment and is considered to be one of the most effective training movements.

                      How To Do It: Extend your arms out while standing upright. Keep your arms parallel to the floor. Start making circles of about one foot in diameter with each arm. Initially, keep it a bit slow. As you pick up the pace, remember to breathe slowly. Continue the movement for about 10 seconds then reverse it to the opposite direction.

                      Featured photo credit: Earl McGehee / Stretching via flickr.com

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                      Published on July 18, 2019

                      11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

                      11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

                      No matter where you are in your fitness journey, chances are you wouldn’t mind a little more definition in your midsection.

                      Whether you have a six pack or a beer belly, those abs could probably be a little bit sharper. Not to mention developing better core strength is hugely important when it comes to improving your overall strength and athleticism, as well as protecting you from injuries.[1]

                      The good news? Your abs and core muscles can handle a lot of training.

                      While most of your muscle groups do best with just two training sessions per week,[2] you can hit your abs every other day to great effect. You don’t even have to leave the house!

                      Here’s my guide to the 11 best core strengthening exercises you can do at home with no equipment.

                      1. Planks

                      Let’s start with the mother of all core-strengtheners, the plank.

                      Planks not only work your abs and obliques, they challenge those core muscles deep inside your body that help promote stability and power. They can also reduce back pain and improve your balance and posture.

                      Get down into pushup position, feet behind you, hands under your shoulders. Lock out your arms and legs, squeeze your core muscles, and hold your body stiff (like a plank!) for as long as you can.

                      For a more challenging variation, try a forearm plank with your arms out in front you. Lay your forearms on the ground for support, with your elbows under your face rather than aligned with your shoulders.

                      2. Side Planks

                      To hit your obliques even harder, try this challenging variation: the side plank.

                      From plank position, rotate onto one side. Prop yourself up on your elbow and one foot with your body straight and stiff.

                      Don’t forget to squeeze your core as you hold this position for as long as you can.

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                      Switch sides and repeat to avoid creating muscle imbalances.

                      3. Reverse Crunches

                      The regular stomach crunch is a fine exercise, but when it comes to abs and core strength, you’ll want to opt for moves that are a lot more challenging.

                      When you can crank out 50 crunches without a problem, it’s probably time for something new.

                      The reverse crunch packs a wallop for your lower abs and can be done anywhere, anytime, just like the standard crunch.

                      Lay on your back with knees bent in crunch position. Place your hands flat on the ground by your side and lift your pelvis, bringing your knees up toward your face, then back down again.

                      Engage your lower ab muscles to do the work, not your back. Repeat for a few sets of 12-20 reps.

                      4. Flutter Kicks

                      The lower abs are a problem area for a lot of people, so we’ll want to work them hard.

                      If that sounds like you, flutter kicks are just what the doctor ordered.

                      Lay flat on your back in leg raise position, hands at your sides or pressed into the floor. Raise your legs together about 6 inches off the floor, then alternate lowering one and raising one a few inches in rapid succession.

                      It should look like you’re kicking the air, and it should give you quite a burn in your abdominal area.

                      5. Arms High Sit-Ups

                      Imagine a crunch, but way harder!

                      Lay down on the ground in sit-up position, knees bent, feet flat on the floor in front of you.

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                      Raise your arms up to the sky and keep them elevated as you perform a few sets of sit-ups.

                      Engaging your arms in this way makes the move extraordinarily difficult and taxing. You’ll get a lot more mileage out of this move versus traditional crunches.

                      6. L-Sits

                      The L-Sit is outrageously difficult to perform well, but if you can build your strength here, the benefits are phenomenal.

                      To perform an L-Sit, you’ll need a stable surface to press off of. You can do them on the floor, but it’s a little easier if you can elevate yourself on a pair of dumbbells, two sturdy chairs, or a similar apparatus.

                      Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Lock your arms in place at your sides, palms on the ground or surface, and press. Bring your legs into the air, perpendicular to your upper body, using the tension from your locked arms.

                      Hold this position as long as possible for an intense strength building workout.

                      7. Stomach Vacuums

                      And now for something different!

                      It’s easy to work your front-facing abdominal muscles, but there is another muscle group in your core that’s frequently overlooked: The transverse abdominis.

                      This muscle isn’t visible through your skin, but it’s incredibly important in stabilizing your body, creating good posture, and holding your belly in tight to your spine.

                      To strengthen this muscle and get a flatter stomach, try stomach vacuums.[3]

                      Standing straight and tall. Exhale all of the air out of your body and simultaneously pull your belly in tight. Imagine sucking your belly button back into your spine.

                      You’ll feel the transverse abdominis engage. Hold as long as possible, rest and then repeat.

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                      8. Star Planks

                      Planks are too effective to not utilize multiple variations of them in your routine.

                      The star plank engaged similar muscles to the traditional plank, but is a lot harder to hold for time.

                      From the push-up or standard plank position, walk your feet out wide and your hands, as well.

                      Your body should form an X position. Elevate your core off the ground, squeeze tight, and hold for as long as possible.

                      9. Boat Pose

                      Yogis know all about core strength, so if you want a tighter tummy, you should take a page out of their playbook.

                      Boat pose is an extremely difficult isometric hold that builds exceptional balance and core power.

                      Star in sit-up position. Crunch yourself up toward your knees, then lift your feet off the floor until they’re about level with your face. Balance on your butt, squeeze your core, and hold this position as long as you can.

                      Your body should form a V with the only point of contact being your butt on the ground. Holding boat pose should be extraordinarily challenging!

                      10. Mountain Climbers

                      Ab work alone won’t shred stomach fat. But when you combine abs and cardio, that’s when you’re onto something magical.

                      Mountain climbers fit the bill if you’re looking to blast your core and also work up a good sweat.

                      Get down into plank position. With your arms locked and your body tight, drive one knee at a time off the floor, up toward your chest, and then back to its original position. Repeat in quick succession.

                      It should look like you’re climbing a hill, and it should exhaust you in a matter of seconds!

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                      11. Russian Twists

                      Finally, let’s give the obliques a little more love.

                      Get down into sit-up position and perform a crunch toward your knees. From here, lean back so your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, clasp your hands in front of you, and twist side to side in rapid succession.

                      You’ll feel your obliques engage after just a few reps.

                      For a more difficult variation, lift your feet off the floor similar to boat pose while perform the move, or perform the twist using a heavy medicine ball for added resistance.

                      The Bottom Line

                      The biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to six-pack abs is a low body fat percentage. That’s best accomplished by sticking to a smart diet and building your fully body strength.

                      However, if you want to improve your athleticism, overall strength, or even your longevity, you can afford to work your abs a bit more frequently — 3-4 times per week is perfect.

                      If you hit them hard enough, you’ll probably see some great improvement in definition as well!

                      Cranking out endless crunches is one way to go about core training, but there are so many better and more challenging moves you can try without ever having to leave your living room.

                      Give them a shot!

                      Featured photo credit: Luis Quintero via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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