Photo Credit: biglike/istock 360/getty images
The workout is simple, there are nine different core exercises designed to focus on the mid-section of the body, front to back! You’ll also be hitting those shoulders and working the cardiovascular system with the fast movement exercises to increase the calorie burn.
One round equals these nine exercises, 30 reps of each. Each round should take about 7 minutes, so if you are short on time, or just starting out with core exercises, this workout is perfect for you. As you get stronger, or have a little more time, add another round or two, which will leave you feeling it for several days afterward.
Always remember to warm up for about 5-10 minutes before beginning and breathe through every exercise -- don't hold your breath at any one point.
Now it's time to get to work!
Start in the full plank position (shoulders over wrists, butt down, core up); keep legs together as you hop your feet up to the 3 o’clock position. Hop your legs back to full plank, then over to the 9 o’clock position. Every time your legs go to the 3 o’clock position from the 9 o'clock position you've complete 1 rep -- complete 30 reps.
Make it harder: Keep your feet on a Frisbee if you're working out on a carpet, or a towel if you're on wood floors. Work same motions, but now slide your feet into the 3 and 9 o’clock positions.
Modification: Step instead of hop into the same positions if you have knee problems or want to slowly progress up to the hopping version of this exercise.
Twist and Punch
Start on your butt, with legs bent and heels planted on the floor. Lean back until you feel your core is engaged, while keeping the lower back in alignment with your neck. Twist to the right 90 degrees and punch with the left hand (keeping arm parallel to the ground) and then twist to your left side, punching with the right hand. Every time you punch out with the right arm it will count as one rep. Do 30 reps on each side.
Make it harder: Hold some sort of weight in your hand, like a 5-pound dumbbell, a can of soup or a bottle of water. Also, lift your heels off the floor and lean back farther.
Modification: Sit up more -- the more vertical your upper body the easier it is going to be.
Start in a full plank. Bring your right knee to your chest then shoot your leg back and extend it up for a great glute burn. Don’t let it touch the ground as you continue this movement -- swinging your knee back through to your chest. This counts as 1 rep. Work 10 reps with one leg then switch to other side. Keep switching every 10 reps until you have done 30 reps on each side.
Make it harder: Use ankle weights or add a pushup in as your leg goes back and up.
Modification: Put your foot down in between reps so it’s not always up. You can also move from the floor to an incline placing your hands on a chair or bench so you are elevated slightly.
Standing Side Knee Crunches
Stand up with the fingers pointing up, palms facing out and arms bent at 90 degrees. As your right knee goes out to the side, you crunch your body until your right elbow hits your right knee, and switch to your left side. This is a fast movement, so it’s like you are running in place with high knees out to the side. This will get your heart rate up and work the side crunches. Every time your right elbow touches your right knee we will count that as 1 rep -- complete 30 on each side.
Make it harder: Go faster or put small weights in your hands for a little extra resistance.
Modifications: Slow down and focus on the crunch.
Through Body Kicks
Start in a full plank. Lift right leg and bring the knee to the chest; twist the body slightly to the right as you extend your leg and kick through your body towards the left side (keep leg straight). Your leg should be perpendicular to your upper body and parallel to the floor. Return your leg back to full plank reversing the steps on the other side for 1 rep. Work 30 reps with a slow, deliberate and controlled movement.
Make it harder: Add in a pushup when both legs are back in full plank in the transition between sides.
Modification: Bend your leg so it’s not extending out all the way, i.e. extending your knee to one side and then the other instead of kicking. You can also move from the floor and elevate your upper body to a bench or chair.
Lay on your back with arms toward the ceiling and legs straight out at a 60-degree angle. Bring your right leg vertical as you lift your shoulders and core off the ground to touch your right foot with your left hand, twisting and working the obliques as you crunch. Lower the leg back down to 60 degrees (keeping both legs off the floor the entire time) and repeat with the left leg. Do 30 on each side.
Make it harder: The lower the legs go the harder this will be (past 60 degrees). You can also put small dumbbells in your hands and touch the weight to the foot.
Modification: Instead of the 60-degree angle, stay at 90 degrees and focus on just the crunching aspect as you alternate touching the feet with the opposite hand.
In/Outs to Floor Jacks
Start in a full plank. Jump in with your feet landing flat on the ground wider than your hands in a good deep squat position. Thrust back out to a full plank and then hop with your legs apart like a jumping jack but on the ground. Return your legs to standard full plank position and this will be 1 rep -- complete 30 reps.
Make it harder: Do this whole motion while keeping your feet on some small towels if on a wood floor or a Frisbee if on the carpet. This will force you to keep the core engaged even more!
Modification: Take out the jumping if you have issues with your knees or need to slow down a bit. You can step with your right foot towards your right hand, followed by the left foot towards left hand until in the deep squat position, stepping back to reverse the motion. You can step instead of hop for the jack portion of this exercise.
Start on your back and do standard bicycles with your legs. Reach your hands toward the ceiling and keep your shoulders off the ground. This engages the core while your legs are moving. Every time your right leg extends out we’ll count that as 1 rep; do a total of 30.
Make it harder: Use hands when reaching toward the ceiling. You can also hang from a set of bars if you have them and work your bicycles in the air. Modification: Take a breather by keeping your shoulders and head on the ground and just focus on the bicycles with your legs as you work the hip flexors (some people call them the lower abs).
Start on your back. Straighten and raise your legs until they are at a 90-degree angle (perpendicular to your body) Keep your arms at your side with your head on the floor. Slowly lift the hips off the ground while keeping your legs at the 90-degree position without using your arms. Lower your hips back down slowly. This will count as 1 rep -- do 30 a total of 30.
Make it harder: You can put on ankle weights if you have them or add leg raises to the hip raise by lowering the legs to just above the floor and lifting them back up to 90 degrees followed by the above hip raise.
Modification: Use the arms to help lift the hips off the floor. Start small and do what you can until eventually you are able to get some serious air between the hips and the floor.
Cool down with some cat and cow stretching and child's pose.
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