Once upon a time Britney Spears shared with the world that she did one thousand crunches a day, the secret to her rock hard abs. However, it’s not all about quantity Britney – it’s about quality and of course, as always noted what you eat. And when it comes to your best body ever, the goal is not only aesthetics but also to reap all of the benefits from the work that you put in. You want washboard abs a la Britney Spears to work as well as they look, right?
Well then, your focus should be on your core. The body works in unison – each moving part relying on the other for support. The core is the central part of your body – it is the foundation of your body and key to good posture, a strong back and defined midsection. A good, solid core will get you your best, solid abs but also make you stronger in all fitness arenas. Being consistent and having variety in your core training will keep it fun, challenging and help target all of the little muscles from all of their different angles ensuring that your strength is always up to par. And to make things all the easier for you, we’ve gathered five of our favorite core exercises great for incorporating into your everyday workout.
Lay on your back flat on the floor. Keep your core tight (by pulling your navel in). Place your hands behind your head and bring your knees towards your chest, lifting your shoulder blades off of the floor. Bring your right elbow to your left knee and then left elbow and right knee.
Laying flat on your back, legs slightly apart. Place hands palms down flat on the ground near you. Bend your knees and raise your legs. Your thighs will be perpendicular while your calves will be parallel to the ground. Point toes up. Keeping your core tight, pull the core muscles towards your spine. Then slowly raise your legs until your feet are facing the ceiling. Keep your core tight and don’t let your back arch. Slowly lower your legs to the ground. Don’t drop them to the ground. Eventually you’ll be able to keep your legs a few inches off the floor as you continue to build strength.
Place forearms on the ground. Align your elbows below your shoulders. Keep arms shoulder width apart and parallel to the body (as if you were doing a push up). Keep toes grounded into the floor. Squeeze your glutes. Head should be in line with your back (keeping core tight and pulling in the navel). Hold position for 20 seconds and slowly increase as you get comfortable.
Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging from a chin up bar (you may use a medium or wide grip), raise your legs until you have created a 90-degree angle with your legs and torso and slowly back to the starting position.
Split Leg Arm Reach
Lying flat on the floor, your hands, knees as well as your legs and arms should be perpendicular to the ground. Extend your right arm and left leg up at the same until they are parallel to the floor, creating a straight line from your arm to leg. Return to the start position and repeat. Then switch to the left arm and right leg. Your abs, glutes, and hamstrings should all be engaged.
These exercises above will help you build the strength you need for a strong back and great posture. Remember to control your breathing throughout each exercise and perform each exercise with 15-30 reps at 3 sets, 3-4 times per week. But please be conscious of what you put in your body – a solid core and string abs are made both in the kitchen and the gym.