Fit 4 Life | Fit in 5: Core training
The core muscles provide the stability and support necessary for safe and effective movement. They also act as prime movers in bending and twisting. Training these muscles should target building strength, endurance, and stability throughout.
When choosing core training exercises, be careful not to fall into the ab-training trap, where you only target the ‘show muscles’ in hopes of getting a six-pack. A strong, stable core will keep you safe from injury and pain.
A strong core also serves as a solid foundation for the training of other muscle groups. As such, exercise selection for the core should build strength and endurance in the entire midsection, so we select a variety of exercises to hit the upper and lower abs, the obliques, and the hip flexors.
These exercises are the bicycle crunch, the leg raise, the plank, toe touches (lying), and the crunch. The routine is simple, but, done correctly, these exercises guarantee a strong, stable core.
Warm up for at least five minutes before starting. Warm-up should consist of low-intensity exercises, for example, jogging. Repeat each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by five seconds of rest. Break for two minutes after completing all moves, and then repeat.
This exercise hits the upper and lower abs, the obliques, and the hip flexors. This makes it perfect for building a well-rounded core.
Use slow, controlled movements to avoid putting too much pressure on the back.
Go for five-, nine- and 12-second intervals to avoid breaking form. If you are fit enough, however, a full 30-second plank is recommended.
In truth, touching the toes is not required. It’s more important to use smooth, controlled movements.
This classic will hit the upper abs hard and is the perfect finisher after the previous four exercises.