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The Core Conditioning Workout That Makes You a Better Athlete

There's a lot of talk about having sexy abs and being swimsuit ready—but the benefits of having a strong core go way beyond having a svelte appearance. Strengthening all the muscles in your midsection—including your transverse abdominis (deep abdominal muscles), rectus abdominis (the ones you can see in a "six pack"), your obliques (the sides of your torso), just to name a few—can also prevent back pain, help you perform daily tasks easily and safely, boost your athletic performance, and maintain correct posture.

This challenging core workout, led by Grokker trainer Kelly Lee (who specializes in corrective exercise and performance enhancement), will help strengthen all those core muscles and build up some serious abdominal endurance—without boring you to death.

You'll need: An exercise mat. Add dumbbells for an extra challenge.

How it works: You'll do five rounds of two exercises. There are 6 sets in each round. For the first set, you'll do 20 reps of the first move, and 10 reps of the second move. For the second set, you'll decrease the number of reps for the first move by 2 and increase the number of reps for the second move by 2. You'll continue each set, increasing or decreasing reps in this fashion. For example, for Round 1 Set 1, you'll do 20 reps of Russian twists and 10 reps of crunches. For Set 2 you'll do 18 reps of Russian twists and 12 reps of crunches. For Set 3 you'll do 16 reps of Russian twists and 14 reps of crunches. The round is over when you perform 10 reps of the first move and 20 reps of the second move. Then move onto the next round and do the same with the next two exercises. (See the full list of moves below.) Do this workout twice a week.

Round 1: Russian Twists and Crunches
Round 2: Cross Crawl and Reverse Sit-Ups/Wood Choppers
Round 3: Side Jackknives and Side Planks
Round 4: Hand to Leg V-Ups and Supermans
Round 5: Leg Lifts and Toe Touches

About Grokker
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