A strong, defined core is one of the most sought out features when training. The “core”, that is our trunk sans the head and limbs, is where all movement begins…and therefore crucial in maintaining good posture, a strong back and not to mention a pain-free back.

So next time you work out, don’t spend the last 5-minutes of your workout doing a few rushed ab exercises; instead, start by addressing your core and see how – within weeks – you will feel longer, stronger and more flexible.

Make time to truly work your “middle” and try some of these exercises.

  1. Supermans: 15 reps. This exercise may not seem like much, but believe me when done properly, not only are these not easy, but they are super effective in strengthening the muscles that run along your spine (the erector spinae).
  2. Planks: 30 sec to 1min depending on fitness level. Support yourself on your forearms and toes – hold your body in one long line (like a plank). Keep your abs engaged, kneecaps and hips lifted. Do not let the hips drop nor the shoulder blades sink in….if you are advanced at these, lift one leg off the ground and hold a unilateral plank.
  3. Leg lowers: 15 reps. As you lie on the ground with legs perpendicular to the floor, begin to slowly lower the legs towards the floor. When you reach approximately a 45 degree angle, pause and return legs to point towards the ceiling. For more back support place hands under your lower back. For more of a challenge and for more advanced trainees, lift your shoulders and head off the ground as you perform this exercise.
  4. Bicycles: 30 reps per side, 60 total. Bring the legs to a table top position (shins parallel to ground) and lift head and shoulders off the ground as you gently hold your head with your finger tips. Beginn twisting by bringing the right shoulder to left knee, then switch sides… alter the pace for more of a challenge.
  5. Low boat: 5 reps – each rep lasts the duration of 5 deep, slow breaths – 25 breaths total. This is definitely a more advanced exercise, so use prudence when performing. Lying on your back on the ground, simultaneously lift the head, shoulders, legs and feet off the ground about six inches as you press the entire lower back into the ground. Hold the position as you continuously pull your navel into your spine (aka. sucking in your belly). Yes, hold it for 5 breaths to perform one rep!

Perform three rounds of these exercises 3-5 times a week before your workouts and within a few weeks you will feel results!