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Health and Fitness News

It’s All About Your Core

Half a dozen simple, effective exercises to strengthen your core.

It’s a common mistake to think that your core refers only to your abdominal muscles. In reality, your core muscles include pretty much every muscle except for your arms and legs. And nearly every movement you make uses your core muscles, from your on-the-job duties and pick-up basketball games to your ability to maintain balance and good posture.

With such an important role in your daily life, you can’t afford to overlook your core when working out. Here are a few simple movements to give your core the love it deserves.

Plank

A popular go-to core exercise is the plank. With several variations, you can choose the type that fits your fitness level and fitness goals. A plank not only works your core, but also your glutes and hamstrings. For a low plank, place your forearms on the floor with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Stretch your legs behind you and support your body on your forearms and toes. Keep your body in a straight line, from your head to your heels. Hold this position.

Dead Bug

A simple exercise that works multiple core muscles is the dead bug. Lie on your back and extend your arms toward the sky. Bend your knees 90 degrees, with your thighs perpendicular to the floor. Now, slowly extend your left leg out straight, parallel to the floor, while at the same time lowering your right arm toward the floor. Raise your leg and arm back to the starting position and then extend your right leg and left arm. Keep your abs engaged the whole time.

Row Your Boat

While sitting on the floor, bend your knees 90 degrees (or keep your legs straight for a greater challenge), and lift your feet off the floor. Lean back slightly and keep your back straight while you balance in this position. Your legs should form a 45-degree angle with your torso. Clasp your hands together in front of you. Now, twist your waist as you move your hands from one side to the other.

Wood Chop

Work your shoulders, lats, obliques, and transverse abdominals with the wood chop. For this exercise, you’ll need one light- to medium-weight dumbbell. Put your left knee on the floor and bend your right knee to 90 degrees, placing your right foot on the floor in front of you. With hands on either end of the weight, hold the dumbbell down by your left knee. Raise the weight diagonally across your body and toward the ceiling. Slightly twist your abs as you raise the weight, keeping your hips stable and facing forward. Lower the weight to starting position and repeat. Then switch sides.

Side Bend

Work your core and arms with side bends. Start in a side plank position. Place your left hand on the floor directly beneath your shoulder and your feet stacked on each other. Keep your body in a straight line supported by your left hand and the side of your left foot. Rest your right arm against the side of your body. Now lower your hips toward the floor and raise them back up. Repeat, and then switch sides.

Warrior Crunch

This variation of the crunch incorporates both your leg and glute muscles. Standing, place your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and turn your toes outward. Bend your knees into a squat position and place your hands behind your head. Now bend at your waist as you bring your right elbow down toward your right knee. Raise back up and then bend to the left. Continue alternating sides.

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jasonkozmatransparent-fornewsletter.pngAbout our programs: Mr. America Jason Kozma's Personal Training is a triple threat of body shaping weight workouts, precision fat-loss cardio and holistic nutrition using regular foods. Using his system, you can radically upgrade your fitness, health, appearance and self-confidence. Clients routinely shed 20 pounds of body fat in eight weeks or less, dramatically increase their strength and flexibility, and achieve extreme cardiovascular fitness.

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