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8 Core Workouts For The Attractive Body Shape

8 Core Workouts For The Attractive Body Shape

Other than having great toned abdominals that look good on the beach, having a strong core helps prevent injuries, as most movement starts at the centre and moves outwards. This means that if you have a strong core, it will ensure your general movements are strong and pain-free. A strong core helps to relieve back pain, as this pain is usually caused by a weak core.

Having a strong core will also help protect your organs since your core muscles surround these organs along with your nervous system. Strong muscles will allow vital organs, such as the heart, to work to their full capacity.

Core is important when it comes to posture. Having a strong core will allow you to stand, sit, walk, and run with the muscle support needed to maintain good posture and prevent back pain or difficulties.

With all these points in mind, here are 8 great core exercises that you can follow to get yourself on the road to a much-needed optimal core.

If you want to know more about weight loss, you can’t miss the following article that provides all useful tips you need:

Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One

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1. Plank

One of the best core exercises out there, the plank concentrates on the muscles running all the way through your body.

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    image via popsugar.com
    1. Lie on your front and gently raise your body onto your elbows, making sure elbows are shoulder-width apart.
    2. Slowly raise yourself onto your tip toes and hold.
    3. Beginner: Try holding a plank for as long as possible. Aim for 30 seconds to a minute and increase this over each workout.
    4. Advanced: Once you’ve mastered a basic plank, try different plank variations, including side planks — these are great for challenging your core muscles.

    2. Side Jack Knife

    This exercise is great for your abs and will give you an effective workout for your core muscles. It really squeezes your obliques as you lift your legs.

    sidejacknife12x8__landscape
      image via menshealth.co.uk
      1. Lie on your side with your legs nearly straight and slightly raised off the floor.
      2. Lift your torso off the floor and keep your left forearm on the floor for balance. Hold your other hand behind your right ear, with your elbow pointing towards your feet.
      3. Lift your legs towards your torso while keeping your torso stationary. Feel the stretch on the side of your body and pause for a few seconds.
      4. Slowly lower your leg.
      5. Beginner: Repeat this for 3 sets of 10 reps before changing sides.
      6. Advanced: Try a more advanced version that gets you using both top and bottom abdominals at the same time.

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      3. Squats

      Core workouts that include squats are essential. Not only do squats help with stability and mobility, they work the muscles through the entire body from the abdominals downwards, creating a great all-round optimal exercise.

      squats
        1. Start with your feet hip-width apart, keeping your back straight with shoulders pulled back, then straighten your arms out in front of you.
        2. Slowly bend your knees and push your butt out and down as though you’re about to sit down on a chair.
        3. Lower yourself so that your thighs are parallel to the floor, your knees are positioned slightly over your ankles, and your head and shoulders are aligned over your knees.
        4. Using your leg and butt muscles, slowly push up, keeping your weight evenly distributed throughout, and come back to a standing position.
        5. Beginner: start off with a repetition of 3 sets of 10 squats and increase the amount of squats in each set by 1 squat each day.
        6. Advanced: To make this move more difficult, add handheld weights, keeping them at your side throughout the exercise. Increase weights for more intensity.

        4. Arm, Leg, and Chest Raises

        This move really concentrates on your core muscles and allows them to work at their full potential.

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          image via positivemed.com
          1. Lie on the floor, face down with arms stretched out and legs straight.
          2. Slowly raise both arms up as far as you can and at the same time lift up both legs.
          3. Keep this position for a few seconds and then release your arms and legs back down to the floor.
          4. Beginner: Do 3 sets of 10 reps trying to increase the amount of time you’re engaging the core muscles.
          5. Advanced: Try adding a roll into the exercise by engaging the core on your front and then rolling carefully on to your back with legs and arms above you. This will work your core muscles even further.

          5. Quadruped

          This move tightens your abdominal muscles and improves balance.

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          Quadruped
            image via popsugar.com
            1. Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands directly below your shoulders, align your head and neck with your back, and tighten your abdominal muscles.
            2. Raise your right arm off the floor and reach ahead. Stay in this position for 5 seconds. Lower your right arm and repeat with your left arm.
            3. Raise your right leg off the floor, making sure to use your muscles to maintain balance. Hold for 5 seconds and lower your leg to the floor. Repeat with the left leg.
            4. Beginner: Repeat full arm and leg movements 5 times each, raising the amount of time you hold positions to add a challenge.
            5. Advanced: Hold a weight in your hand for an added challenge or raise both the opposite arm and leg together to work the core muscles more.

            6. Abdominal Hold

            While it may be tough at first, this move will help you build strength in your core.

            abdominal-hold
              image via muscledose.com
              1. Make sure you have a sturdy chair.
              2. Sit tall on the edge of the chair and place your hands on the chair down beside you, holding on to the sides.
              3. Tighten your abs and gently lift your toes about 2-4 inches off the ground and lift your butt off the chair.
              4. Beginner: Hold this position for as long as you can — aim for 5 -10 seconds.
              5. Advanced: Try challenging yourself by holding for up to a minute or add a stable weight to your lap to create added resistance and work the abdominals even more.

              7. Side Crunches

              Side crunches as part of your core workouts are a good way of targeting your mid-section.

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                image via gym-inspiration.com
                1. Lie on your left side with your legs lying on top of each other.
                2. Bend your knees so that they are at a rough 90-degree angle.
                3. Begin by moving your right hand to your right ear with the elbow pointing up. Start to move up and over to the side slightly until you can feel the burn in your obliques. Repeat on opposite the side.
                4. Beginner: Do 10 reps 3 times on both sides, increasing as you feel ready to to keep your abs challenged.
                5. Advanced: Try these advanced side crunches to get an extra burn.

                8. Using a Stability Ball

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                  Simple exercises using a stability ball can activate twice as many core muscles as classic belly toners like crunches and sit-ups, so it’s well worth investing one.

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                  For beginners, this core workout is a really great introduction to using a stability ball. Incorporate this into the rest of the workout or pick and choose certain exercises if you have time constraints:

                  This is great for more advanced stability ball exercises, working your core to the maximum:

                  Tips When Doing Your Core Workouts

                  • Write down a schedule of your workouts as this will help you to keep your motivation high. Start with a weekly or monthly timetable of each daily workout you do. Make sure you show exactly how many reps you will do for each exercise and show a progression throughout the week or month by adding weights and intensity.
                  • Be aware of your limits — if you feel pain at any stage, then stop the exercise immediately. Start easy and work your way up as this will make the workouts a lot more beneficial and will help you to avoid injuries.
                  • Always drink plenty of water when doing workouts as you can get easily dehydrated.
                  • Talk with your doctor if you suffer from back pain or are pregnant as these exercises may not be suitable.

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                  Jenny Marchal

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                  Published on July 13, 2018

                  13 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester

                  13 Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for The Last Trimester

                  Practicing yoga during pregnancy is a great way to nurture you and your baby. It can also help you cope and prepare both your mind and body for any pregnancy demands and challenges that you may face especially during the third trimester.

                  Yoga during pregnancy helps you to create space for both your baby and your internal organs. However, make sure that you only do what feels right and works, avoid muscle strains and extreme pressure exercises.

                  There are plenty of yoga techniques that can help you to prepare for labor in the 3rd trimester. Before you try out yoga, make sure you talk to your doctor. This way, you may know the do and don’t during this stage. The following are some of the common yoga exercises to try out during the third trimester.

                  1. Birth prep exercises

                  This mainly entails simple exercise designed to reduce pains and aches and can as well as help position the baby in a good pelvic alignment. Include this technique in your workout rest brakes, warm-up, and as part of your daily poses.

                  Here’s an example of it:

                  2. Cat cow

                    This is a great pose for lengthening your spine and strengthen your core muscles.[1]

                    This pose is a great technique for all pregnancy stages. It will help strengthen your belly as the pregnancy continues to grow.

                    This asana also relieves the back and allow a better circulation of spinal fluids and blood.

                    Practice belly breathing when performing this pose. It will aid in calming your mind and reducing morning sickness.

                    It should be done about 5 times for best results.

                    3. Warrior II

                      This technique is great for strengthening your core and legs and as well as lengthen your spine. Even though this technique is a little bit challenging, it is said to help alleviate backaches during pregnancy.

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                      4. Bridge pose

                        This pose is convenient if you want to open up your hips and strengthen your glutes, core, and hamstrings.[2] Also, it can be practiced in all the trimesters.

                        Begin on the side and roll to the back as you move your body into a bridge pose. This helps avoid stressing your rectus abdominals.

                        Avoid this exercise if you feel uncomfortable on your back.

                        5. Cobblers pose (Baddha Konasana)

                          This technique is said to improve the health of the reproductive system.[3] During pregnancy, it aids in opening up the pelvis, therefore ensuring an easy and fast labor.

                          It is also said to calm the mind and improve blood circulation. This yoga practice can be performed as follows:

                          • Sit on a mat and stretch out your legs.
                          • Fold your knees and bring your feet at the center.
                          • Then straighten your back.
                          • Using your palms hold your feet for a few seconds.
                          • Release.
                          • Repeat this about 4 times.

                          6. Warrior I

                            This technique helps you explore your upper body. It helps to open up your chest and strengthen your legs. This technique helps restore the health of your spine and help make space for the growing uterus.

                            Also, it helps your mind relax and stay focused and maintain balance. It can be performed as follows;

                            • Place your feet apart in a hip-width position.
                            • Pivot on the left foot.
                            • Make your right foot to face forward.
                            • Lower the pelvis, then assume a lunge.
                            • Look forward and lift your arms above your head.
                            • Hold that position as long as possible.
                            • Release the pose.
                            • Repeat the process with the left foot forward.

                            7. Corpse pose

                              This technique aims at relaxing your body and mind.[4] It boosts your energy instantly and hence it’s convenient for battling any fatigue during the pregnancy.

                              Also, it helps in fighting off any side effects of pregnancy such as pain, morning sickness, and nausea. This pose can be performed as follows:

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                              • Lie on your back.
                              • Let your palms rest beside you while facing upwards.
                              • Close your eyes and then relax- your arms should be alongside your body.
                              • Breathe.

                              8. Spiraling movement

                              This entails moving your pelvis in circular motions and moving your hips. These movements help to massage down the baby’s head onto the cervix.

                              Also, these movements helps you keep your pelvis mobile and relaxed while loosening your muscles and ligaments.

                              You may consider using a fitness ball to help in the movements.

                              9. Child’s pose

                                This is a resting pose. It helps to focus on your breath, breathe more deeply, and also it’s a good position to rest between labor contractions.[5]

                                This is a great position that will help you find peace and promote a healthy and a happy pregnancy. It’s safe for all trimesters.

                                Relax and move your knees apart, then rest your head on your fists, hand, or on the floor. You should avoid this position if your pubic symphysis is sore or open. Relax in this position, eyes closed.

                                10. Chanting

                                Making your own sounds during pregnancy and birth is a powerful way to regulate your breathing, it enables you to focus and relax as you deal with the pain that is associated with pregnancy and labor.

                                Practicing voice sounds can help you open up and have an easier and more comfortable labor. You can do this as follows:

                                • Sit comfortably.
                                • Close your eyes.
                                • Placing your index fingers on the lobes of your ears, take a deep breath.
                                • Exhaling slowly, make gentle humming sounds.
                                • Do this 5 to 10 times.
                                • You can also do this while lying down with arms by the side of the body.

                                11. Standing hip rotations

                                  This moves will help strengthen your pelvis as well as relax.[6] You can do this as follows:

                                  • Stand with feet wide apart but comfortable.
                                  • Slightly bend your knees.
                                  • Place your hands on your hips and rotate your hips.
                                  • Try to keep your upper body still.
                                  • Focus on rotating the hips and the belly.
                                  • Inhale while moving your hips forward and exhale while moving them backward.
                                  • Do this as many times as you wish.

                                  12. Tree pose

                                    This is a balancing technique. It helps strengthening your legs and core. It also improves posture and alleviates back pain. How to perform this pose:

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                                    • Feet on the ground, shift your weight forward and backward until you gain balance.
                                    • Shift your weight to one foot.
                                    • You can also lift one of your foot to your ankle to gain balance.
                                    • Bring the foot higher to your inner thigh.
                                    • Put your hands in a prayer position.
                                    • Hold this for 5 breaths.
                                    • You can also raise the arms above your head.
                                    • Repeat with the other leg.

                                    This technique is safe for all stages during pregnancy.

                                    13. Meditation

                                    Over the years, meditation has been used to manage a lot of conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety, and much more.

                                    During the last trimester of your pregnancy, meditation can help to move gracefully as you approach labor. It will help you ascertain a more peaceful state of mind by avoiding stress and anxiety especially if you are giving birth for the first time.

                                    Develop the habit of practicing meditation on a daily basis.

                                    Guidelines for pregnancy yoga

                                    There are some poses, however, that you should avoid while pregnant. They include plank cross, locust pose, boat pose, plow pose, and much more. Consult with your doctor on the best exercises.

                                    Here’re some guidelines you need to know before practicing yoga:

                                    1. Do what feels right.

                                    Starting yoga especially in your last trimester can be challenging while it’s really important in preparing both your mind and body for labor and pregnancy-related demands.

                                    To avoid accidents or extreme positions, you should practice yoga poses with the guidance of a trained tutor.

                                    When choosing which yoga poses to perform, listen to your body and do what you feel comfortable doing. Since all women do not have the same challenges and experience during pregnancy, avoid doing poses that your friends are doing if they don’t feel right to you.

                                    2. Do fewer poses.

                                    In case you are into physical exercises, it’s important to soften your training to avoid harming both your body and the health of the baby. Also, avoid long hours of training. You can talk to your doctor to guide you on the most convenient techniques to practice.

                                    During pregnancy, your body tends to have higher temperatures and it may feel hotter than usual. It’s recommended to avoid practicing yoga in a heated environment. Perform these techniques in a suitable environment with fresh and adequate ventilation.

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                                    3. Don’t get distracted.

                                    Reduce distraction while practicing yoga. For instance, a telephone can interfere with proper meditation.

                                    4. Stay comfortable.

                                    Wear loose and comfortable clothing.

                                    5. Do not eat before yoga.

                                    Practice yoga on empty stomach. Most techniques are effective in the morning.

                                    6. Always warm up for a few minutes.

                                    You can walk around, loosen your joints, move your limbs and warm up your muscles.

                                    7. Stay hydrated.

                                    Make sure that you are well hydrated especially when practicing challenging and sweaty poses. Dehydration, especially during the last trimester of your pregnancy can have severe sequences such as false early labor or preterm labor.

                                    Yoga techniques are the best kinds of workouts to try out during pregnancy. Especially if practiced together with mild exercises such as walking, it can help the expectant mother deal with both emotional and physical changes with ease.

                                    Also, it will help mothers feel relaxed and stay in shape during the last trimester of pregnancy.

                                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                    Reference

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