7 Quick Workouts That Engage Your Core
By Takia McClendon
No gym membership? No problem. These seven fitness moves can be done at home, at your local park or anywhere you can find open space. Add them to your routine as a warm-up or try them all together to create a workout of your own to strengthen your core.
What you'll need:
- Exercise or running shoes
- Open space
- Yoga mat (optional)
Squats: Squats work the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and strengthen the core.
- Start with your head facing forward and your feet shoulder length apart.
- Extend your hands in front of you or bend the elbows and clasp the fingers (pictured above)
- Sit back into an imaginary chair, make sure your thighs are parallel to the ground and your knees are over your ankles.
- Without breaking form, raise back to the starting position.
Jumping Squats: The jumping squat builds off the foundation of the regular squat by adding a jumping move after the third step.
- Start by doing a regular squat.
- On the way up from the squat, jump explosively into the air
- Land quietly with control.
Jumping Jacks: If you've ever taken a gym class, you're probably familiar with the jumping jack. This move is a great way to get the heart going before any routine.
- Stand straight with your arms by your side.
- Bend your knees and SLIGHTLY jump to extend your feet apart while raising your arms in the air and over your head (pictured above)
- SLIGHTLY jump to straighten the legs and bring your arms back to your side.
Lunges: Lunges are also great at strengthening your core. This move is great for increasing mobility.
- Start by standing upright and face forward with your shoulders straight.
- Engage your core and step forward with one leg
- Lower the hips until both legs are at a 90 degree angle (Your raised knee should be above the ankle and the other ankle shouldn't
- Keep your weight in the heel and return to the starting position.
Walking Lunges: Walking lunges build on regular lunges by adding forward (or backward motion) to the move.
- Start by doing a regular lunge by pushing your left leg forward.
- Return to standing position and do another lunge with the right foot forward.
- Alternate legs to continue moving forward.
Planks: If you want to build a stronger core, try adding planks to your fitness routine. There are many ways to perform planks and it's best that you do what's best for you.
- Start in a push-up position (pictured above)
- Lower the upper body by bending both elbows on the floor (try for 90 degree angles)
- Your elbows should be under the shoulder and you should form a straight line from the head to the feet.
- Hold this position for 20 or 30 seconds. You may shake or tremble but don't give up!
Mountain Climbers: If anyone ever says they enjoy Mountain Climbers, it's safe to assume they're not telling the truth. Even though this workout is tough, it's great for building core strength.
- Start on all fours and move into a push-up position (don't forget to engage your core).
- While in this position, place your hands just outside the shoulder.
- Bring your right knee into your chest (as far as you can) without raising your hips into the air
- Push the knee back so that you are in starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.
- Once you get a hang of the movements, you'll repeat this quickly to complete the exercise.
- Try Mountain climbers for 30 seconds at a time.