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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

8 Core Workouts You Can Easily Do At Home

8 Core Workouts You Can Easily Do At Home

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.

                  Featured photo credit: Jonathan Borba via unsplash.com

                  More by this author

                  Samantha Aloysius

                  Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology.

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                  Last Updated on January 26, 2021

                  The Ultimate 5-Day Workout Routine for Women to Get Strong and Toned

                  The Ultimate 5-Day Workout Routine for Women to Get Strong and Toned

                  Men, it seems, are not the only ones who enjoy lifting weights. Nowadays, you’re just as likely to see women in the gym, squatting, benching, and deadlifting. The ‘Girls that lift’ movement is now very much established, and we think that’s awesome.

                  Years ago, if you walked into a gym, more often than not, the sight you would be greeted with would be a weight room full of men, and a cardio room full of women. Women were generally advised to stay away from weights as it was wrongly believed that lifting weights would turn them into hulking she-beasts.

                  As research was conducted, and as common sense began to prevail, people found that lifting weights as a woman would not cause you to add 50 pounds of muscle to your frame overnight. In fact, it was found that resistance training provided a shapelier, curvier, leaner, more defined physique than one which could be attained through cardio alone.

                  That’s why today, we are going to be looking at a 5 day workout routine for women to get strong and toned.

                  If you’re a woman who is looking to get bigger, stronger, and more toned, the following routine is perfect.

                  Warming Up

                  Before you commit to any form of workout routine, it is absolutely vital that you take the time to properly warm up before training.

                  Warming up before training is important because it helps improve your flexibility and mobility, and helps reduce the risk of injury. By stretching the muscles before training, you help to increase muscle fiber elasticity. This is important because it means that the muscle fibers are far less-likely to rip and tear.

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                  A good warm up will also increase your core body temperature and will potentially improve your athletic performance. Warming up boosts circulation, which in turn means more blood flows around the body. This ensures that more oxygen and nutrients can be carried around the body and be fed to the awaiting muscle cells. The more energy they have, the harder the muscles can work when you’re training.

                  Simply doing a few reps with just the bar, or a very light set of dumbbells, does not constitute as an effective warmup.

                  Sample Warm Up Routine

                  Let’s look at how you can warm up properly to get the most from your training.

                  A sample warmup routine could consist of the following exercises and movements:

                  1. 1 minute of knee lifts
                  2. 1 minute of heel digs
                  3. 2 sets of 10 shoulder rolls per arm
                  4. 10 knee bends
                  5. 20 head rotations
                  6. 10 hip rotations

                  5 Day Workout Routine for Women to Get Strong and Toned

                  Now let’s take a look at the ultimate 5-day workout routine for women to get strong and toned. If followed correctly, you should start seeing and feeling noticeable improvements on a weekly basis.

                  The idea here is to build lean muscle while keeping calorie expenditure high to melt away stubborn body fat in the process

                  Monday – Chest and Arms

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                    1. Flat bench barbell press – 4 sets of 8 reps
                    2. Push ups – 4 sets of 10 reps
                    3. Cable crossovers – 3 sets of 15 reps
                    4. Incline dumbbell flyes – 4 sets of 12 reps
                    5. Barbell biceps curls – 3 sets of 15 reps
                    6. Alternate arm hammer curls – 4 sets of 12 reps per arm
                    7. Triceps rope overhead extensions – 3 sets of 20 reps
                    8. Triceps dips – 3 sets of 15 reps
                    9. 10 minutes on the elliptical machine

                    Tuesday – Shoulders and Back

                      1. Standing barbell military press – 4 sets of 10 reps
                      2. Dumbbell lateral raises – 4 sets of 15 reps
                      3. EZ bar upright rows – 3 sets of 15 reps
                      4. Seated dumbbell shoulder press – 4 sets of 10 reps
                      5. Dumbbell shrugs – 4 sets of 10 reps
                      6. Close-grip lat pulldowns – 4 sets of 12 reps
                      7. Dumbbell bent over rows – 4 sets of 12 reps per arm
                      8. T-Bar rows – 4 sets of 10 reps
                      9. 10 minutes on the stationary bike

                      Wednesday – Cardio Circuit

                        1. 10 burpees
                        2. 10 push ups
                        3. 15 crunches
                        4. 20 squat thrusts
                        5. 3 sets of 10 hanging leg raises
                        6. 3 x 1-minute rounds of plank
                        7. 20 minutes low intensity cardio on the treadmill

                        Thursday – Strength day

                          1. Incline dumbbell press – 5 sets of 5 reps
                          2. Flat bench barbell press – 5 sets of 5 reps
                          3. Deadlifts – 5 sets of 5 reps
                          4. Barbell clean and press – 5 sets of 5 reps
                          5. Barbell bent-over rows – 5 sets of 5 reps
                          6. Barbell snatch – 5 sets of 5 reps
                          7. 10 minutes on the stationary bike

                          Friday – Legs

                            1. Barbell squats – 4 sets of 8 reps
                            2. Leg press machine – 3 sets of 12 reps
                            3. Leg extensions – 3 sets of 15 reps
                            4. Hamstring curls – 3 sets of 15 reps
                            5. Walking lunges – 4 sets of 10 reps per leg
                            6. Seated or standing calf raises – 4 sets of 20 reps per leg
                            7. 10 minutes on the elliptical machine

                            Diet and Nutrition

                            It doesn’t matter how hard you are training in the gym, if you aren’t eating the right foods at the right time, all of your efforts will have been in vain. You can’t out-train a bad diet, which is why we’re going to share a few diet and nutritional secrets with you before leaving.

                            Remember, we’re looking at the ultimate 5-day workout routine for women to get strong and toned, and if you’re not eating right, you will become neither strong, nor toned.

                            Here are some tried and tested methods proven to give great results.

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                            1. Drink enough water

                            When it comes to exercise and health in general, adequate hydration is crucial.

                            Water makes up close to 80% of our bodies, and we need it to perform even the most basic of physiological processes. Without adequate amounts of water in our bodies, we run the risk of dehydrating, which can affect athletic performance, and our health in general.

                            When we exercise, we perspire and can lose important electrolytes via our sweat. This is why it’s important to stay well hydrated during exercise, to help replenish the fluids, minerals, and electrolytes we lost through training.

                            Aim for 2.5 litres of mineral water per day. Failing that, filtered water is still very good for you.

                            2. Get plenty of healthy protein

                            Protein is vital for muscle growth and repair. If you want to become strong and/or toned, you need to make sure you are taking enough protein in each day.

                            Aim for around 0.6 – 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and be sure to spread it out evenly throughout the day. Look for lean and healthy sources like fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy, and grass-fed red meat.

                            3. Invest in a good quality whey protein

                            Providing you can consume whey, whey protein is a supplement you will need to invest in if you wish to build muscle and burn fat.

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                            Whey protein shakes are perfect because one shake provides around 30 or more grams of protein per serving. They’re easy to make, convenient, they taste great, and they’re full of other nutrients that the muscles thrive upon.

                            4. Don’t forget your veggies

                            As well as protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs, you will also need to make sure you are eating plenty of vegetables.

                            Vegetables are full of digestive-friendly dietary fiber, they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and they help to give your meals extra texture and flavour.

                            Don’t rely on vitamin supplements alone when it comes to nutrient intakes, instead, make sure you eat plenty of fresh vegetables each day.

                            More Resources for Women Getting in Shape

                            • Adam Evans — BioHacker, competitive athlete, researcher in health and fitness
                            • Candace Rhodes — A fitness coach to help women achieve amazing toned bodies
                            • Richard Adefioye — A writer with an unquenchable passion for healthy living and productivity

                            Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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