10 New Core Exercises to Tighten Your Tummy

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Let's face it: Standard abs exercises like sit-ups and crunches are a little archaic and extremely mundane. To help keep you motivated and ready to show off your mid-section this summer, I created a series of unique core exercises that challenge you without the use of any equipment. Ideal for your hectic summer schedule, these exercises can be performed anywhere and each takes as little as 30 seconds to complete—so no excuse for summer slacking!

How it works: Do each exercise for 30 seconds, resting 30 seconds between moves. You can add these exercises to your current fitness program or perform as one complete core routine.

1. Press and resists: Lie faceup with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract core and draw knees in toward navel, forming a 90-degree angle with knees so shins are parallel with the floor. Place palms slightly above knees on thighs. Press palms into thighs, simultaneously resisting the pressure with knees. Maintain equal balance with pressure from palms and thighs so that you keep the 90-degree angle of the knees. Hold.
Coach's tip: Drive lower back into floor, simultaneously pushing abdominal wall toward the ceiling. This will create greater stability and activation within muscles around core.

2. Helicopters (clockwise): Lie faceup with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms extended out to sides, palms down. Contract core, take a deep breath in, and draw knees into chest. Exhale, pressing lower back into floor as you extend feet toward the ceiling. (Upper torso and lower body will form a 90-degree angle with feet pressed together.) Keep core contracted, flex toes toward the floor, and begin circling legs clockwise, keeping legs fully extended and hips resting firmly on the floor.
Coach's tip. Create more of a challenge by flipping palms up to face the ceiling. This will decrease stability while increasing core activity.

3. Helicopters (counter-clockwise): Lie faceup with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms extended out to sides, palms down. Contract core, take a deep breath in, and draw knees into chest. Exhale, pressing lower back into floor as you extend feet toward the ceiling. (Upper torso and lower body will form a 90-degree angle with feet pressed together.) Keep core contracted, flex toes toward the floor, and begin circling legs counter-clockwise, keeping legs fully extended and hips resting firmly on the floor.
Coach's tip: To maximize gains, keep hips from lifting off the floor. This will enable the core to fully engage, creating most activity throughout the region. Stretching hamstrings prior to the exercise will enable more hip control.

4. Hands of time (right leg): Lie faceup with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms extended out to sides, palms down. Contract core, draw knees into chest, and press feet toward the ceiling. Feet should remain together with toes flexed. Contract core, inhale and lower right leg out to right side as far as possible, keeping left leg still. At lowest point, exhale and use core to move right leg back to starting position.
Coach's tip: To modify this exercise, simply raise feet off of the floor and keep knees bent at a 90-degree angle with shin remaining parallel with the floor. Keeping the 90-degree angle, lower right leg to floor as far as possible.

5. Hands of time (left leg). Lie faceup with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms extended out to sides, palms down. Contract core, draw knees into chest, and press feet toward the ceiling. Feet should remain together with toes flexed. Contract core, inhale and lower left leg out to right side as far as possible, keeping right leg still. At lowest point, exhale and use core to move left leg back to starting position.
Coach's tip: Aim to keep right leg from swinging back and forth throughout the exercise. This can cause lower back to perform most of the work, increasing stress in the lumbar region.

RELATED: 15 Unexpected Exercises That Work Your Abs

6. Round the clock (right leg). Lie faceup with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms extended out to sides, palms down. Contract core and draw right knee in toward navel. Flare right knee out (opening inner thigh area) and extend right leg until it is at a 45-degree angle. (Left foot should remain off the floor throughout the exercise.) Reverse direction to starting position.
Coach's tip: To modify this exercise, simply keep left knee bent with foot flat on the floor.

7. Round the clock (left leg). Lie faceup with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms extended out to sides, palms down. Contract core and draw left knee in toward navel. Flare left knee out (opening inner thigh area) and extend left leg until it is at a 45-degree angle. (Right foot should remain off the floor throughout the exercise.) Reverse direction to starting position.
Coach's tip: To properly engage core, press back into the floor while pushing stomach out toward the ceiling. This will also create more stability within core region.

8. Screamers (right leg). Get in a left side plank position with foreman firmly placed on the floor and hips raised off the floor. Contract and drive right knee toward navel with toe flexed. When knee reaches navel, extend right leg out in front of body at a 45-degree angle. Quickly swing leg back to starting position.
Coach's tip: Form a straight line from shoulders to left heel. Keeping this line will ensure proper form and reduce sag in the hips.

9. Screamers (left leg): Get in a right side plank position with foreman firmly placed on the floor and hips raised off the floor. Contract and drive left knee toward navel with toe flexed. When knee reaches navel, extend left leg out in front of body at a 45-degree angle. Quickly swing leg back to starting position.
Coach's tip: Form is key with this exercise and maintaining proper spinal position is imperative. To ensure a flat back, keep ears and shoulders in line.

RELATED: The Crop Top Workout

10. Trace the triangle. Get in a pushup position with hands in line with shoulders and feet hip-width apart. Contract core and reach left hand out 45 degrees as far as possible. Do the same with right hand, bringing hands side by side. Reach out right hand as far as possible in front of head. Follow with left hand. Reach backward with right hand on a 45-degree angle, following with left hand. (Your hand pattern will be as if you just traced a triangle.) Reverse direction through each step. Continue, alternating directions.
Coach's tip. To ensure proper positioning, keep eyes focused at the floor the entire time. This will keep hips from sagging, while reducing stress on the neck.

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