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5 BEST EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE

A good core workout can help you build a strong, stable midsection and prevent injury.

Foundational movements using rotation, gravity, and weight to hit your abs from different angles can help you build a strong, stable midsection, and the benefits go beyond working on your six pack. Core exercise can also help prevent injury, ease pain in your back and joints, and allow you to perform better in other exercises.


Hollow body hold

A great ab workout for all fitness levels. One of the most basic core moves, the hollow body hold is a low-impact exercise that involves lying on the ground and pressing your lower back into the floor as you lift your legs and shoulders slightly off the ground.

Simple but surprisingly challenging, the hollow hold is great for all skill levels, since it can teach you how to properly engage your core muscles, and work up to maintaining that stability for other exercises like lifting weights.


Bicycle crunches

work every part of your abs. Bicycle crunches are a safe, versatile option for any core routine. Done correctly, bicycle crunches tap into your entire core, from your obliques on the sides of the body to the transverse abdominis or "deep abs," and even your hip flexors.

For best results, avoid rushing through the exercise and focus on careful, controlled movement to really target your core muscles.


Pallof press

A full-body stability exercise. The Pallof press involves holding a cable or resistance band in front of your chest and pressing out in front of you, working the muscles of your core, back, arms, and lower body to prevent the band from pulling you around.

It also puts less stress on the low back than planks and similar movements, making it great for an ab workout without back pain.


Hanging leg raise

Use gravity to build better ab definition. One of the all-time best exercises for visible abs is the hanging leg raises, which uses your body weight and gravity to put tension on the muscles.


See my photo above.


This challenging move works every part of your abs, along with your hips, to stabilize your body and avoid swinging as you hang from a pull-up bar and lift your legs parallel to the floor. For a challenge, keep your legs straight, or add even more intensity by holding a weight like a medicine ball between your feet.


For a more accessible version, you can scale the exercise by performing knee tucks, bending your knees and bringing them up to your chest from a hang.


Mountain Climbers (with plates)

Mountain climbers can help you improve your core stability, which helps prevent injury and boost effectiveness in other kinds of exercise.


However, common mistakes, like unstable hips or misaligned arms, can make the exercise less effective. To get the most out of your mountain climbers, focus on a strong plank and slow, careful movement, and work your way up to longer or faster exercise. Other mistakes include lifting the hips too high or sagging in the core. Start with light plates on a floor that easily slides.

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