Now that it’s fall, a lot of us aren’t too worried about if we have a six-pack since all of our bikinis have most likely been packed away (#SweaterWeather) However, it’s so important to keep a strong core. All of our movement comes from our core and if it’s not strong, we lose some of our overall strength since the rest of our body is forced to take on the load of that weaker middle. Personally, I know I start to have uncomfortable back pain if I’m not keeping my core tight and toned. Recently, to avoid any back issues, I’ve really been focusing on strengthening my core, so I’ve started to add this 5 minute ab routine on to whatever workout I’m doing. Most muscles need rest and repair time, but abdominal muscles are different and can be worked every day.
I’ve been doing this quick routine consistently for 2 weeks, and I can tell my core is stronger and I haven’t had any back pain since I started. As I mentioned earlier, you can add this on to whatever workout you’ve done that day, but you can also do this during commercial breaks of your favorite evening television show. Whatever works best! This is a pyramid style workout, so you start with low reps, climbing to high reps, and then you come back down the ladder! It’s surprising how challenging the moves become as you move your way back down!
10 Bicycle Crunches (10 on each side)
Laying on your back, with your arms behind your head, and legs are straight hovering a few inches off the ground, bring opposite elbow to opposite knee and then switch. Keep moving at a quick pace!
20 Weighted Sit Ups
Lay on your back with your knees up. Hold a single dumbbell in your hand above your chest and SLOWLY use your core to sit up. Of course, a heavier weight would provide more of a challenge for your core, but use a weight that you aren’t struggling to hold up. You don’t want to drop a weight on your chest! If sit-ups are too challenging, try crunching up until you build up your strength.
30 Ankle Taps (15 per side)
Lay on your back, with your knees up, and keep your feet a comfortable distance from your body. With your arms outstretched toward your feet, tap your ankles going from side to side, really working the sides of your abs. If you can’t tap your ankles, at least try to get close to them!
30 Second Plank Hold
Arguably, one of the most effective core exercises is the plank. Works every inch of your entire middle! On your forearms, (or modify with hands on the ground) hold your body in a straight line from toes to head for 30 seconds. It’s important to keep your hips flat and in line with the rest of your body. Don’t lift the booty up (lessens the effectiveness of the move) but don’t drop your hips either (bad for the back!) If you don’t have experience with this move, practice in front of a mirror to make sure you maintain proper form!
Now it’s time to go back down the ladder. All the exercises are the same, just in reverse order!
30 Ankle Taps (15 per side)
20 Weighted Crunches
10 bicycle Crunches (10 each side)
End with another 30-second plank hold!