Having a strong core is important for balance, stability, helping to keep your lower back strong, being able to play sports and do exercise correctly and simply being able to carry out daily activities. It helps to promote a healthy back and good posture.
Signs of having a weak back include bad posture, bad balance, not being able to stand for long periods of time and a common one for so many people – lower back pain. If you struggle with any of these problems, then our 10-minute core workouts are what you need.
Pick one of the following sets of exercises and repeat the whole set four times through, completing each exercise for 30 seconds and moving onto the next exercise without a break.
Core Blast 1
- Ab Crunch – Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your hands either by your head or on your thighs. Slowly lift your head and shoulders off the floor, squeeze your core muscles and breathe out. Slowly lower back down and repeat. Make this a slow controlled movement using your ab muscles and try not to swing yourself up and flop back down.
- Russian Twist – Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Lean back until you feel your ab muscles engage (when you are in a V Shape). Clasp your hands together in front of you and use your abs to twist to the right, back to the centre and then to the left, taking your hands down to each side. Look where your hands are going to make sure you are in the correct position. Breathe out as you twist and breathe in as you return to the centre. To increase the intensity, you can raise your legs slightly off the floor and cross your feet but make sure that your hips stay stable, and you don’t rock from side to side.
- Bird Dog – Kneel on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keeping your back straight and hips stable, squeeze your abs tightly and raise your left arm and right leg at the same time until straight and parallel with the floor. Make sure to keep your head in a neutral position, looking down to the floor. Hold for a couple of seconds then lower back to the start position and repeat on the other side.
- Bicycle Crunches – Lie on the floor, making sure that your lower back is pressed into the floor. Squeeze your abs and place your hands behind your head making sure not to pull your head forward. Lift your legs off the floor and slowly bring one knee up towards the opposite arm, keeping the other leg straight and off the floor, whilst at the same time rotating your torso so that your elbow reaches towards your knee. Switch to the other side keeping a slow, continuous rhythm. Make sure that it is your torso that is rotating and not your hips.
- Plank – Lie face down on the floor with your hands under your shoulders. Squeeze your abs and raise yourself up onto your forearms and your toes, making sure that your body is in a straight line (don’t let your hips dip down or have your bum too high). Hold for the 30 seconds.
Core Blast 2
- Alternating Leg Extensions – Lie on your back with your knees above your hips. Take one leg towards the floor, until it’s straight and a couple of inches from the floor. Bring it back to the start position and repeat with the other leg.
- Heel Touches – Lie on the floor with your legs bent. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor and, keeping your arms straight and slightly off the floor, reach your right hand to your right foot. Come back to the start position and repeat on the other side.
- Spider Climbers – Start in plank position on your hands and slowly bring your right knee out towards your right elbow. Return to the start position and repeat with your left leg. Make sure to keep your back in a straight line and squeeze the abs.
- Flutter Kicks – Lie on your back with your arms by your side and off the floor, and lift your legs so that they are at a 45 degree angle. Keeping your legs straight, point your toes and lower one leg. As you raise that leg back to the start position, lower the other leg so that you are making a small vertical scissor motion.
- Ab Crunch Twist – Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor into a crunch, then twist to one side and the other before lowering back down.
Unsure if 10 minutes will actually get you results? Why not take a look here at how it CAN!
Don’t worry if you can’t do it all at once – take your time and work on technique. You can start with doing them twice through or doing each exercise for 20 seconds and build up to completing them for the full 10 minutes. Your ab muscles will soon get stronger and you will be able to do the exercises more easily.
Caroline & Hannah xx