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10 Effective Ways to Strengthen Your Core Muscles

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Every day tips on how to strengthen your core muscles for better health.

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10 Effective Ways to Strengthen Your Core Muscles

February 14, 2024

by: The Dimple Life

We all know, working out is a must to staying healthy but when people think about “working out” they think about more intensive, hour-long exercise classes. It’s time to dismantle some of our beliefs around exercise though. You don’t have to go to a workout class, you don’t have to dedicate a certain amount of time each day, you don’t need to be dripping sweat. Sure, an occasional group fitness class is amazing for the community, connection, and general “push” to trying harder but what you can do on your own with a few simple movements can help support and strengthen your core and contribute to your overall positive well-being.

The core really supports our whole body – without you even realizing it! When founder, Rachel Rhee was re-learning how to engage her body after having surgery from kidney cancer, she couldn’t even sit down straight or walk straight without engaging her core muscles. According to a recent study, core exercises is not just about toning your abs, they can also improve your stability and balance. This makes it easier for your body to even go about your daily routine, let alone reach your overall fitness goals. Whether you want to become stronger or more resistant to fatigue, below are proven ways to strengthen your core.

Yoga poses strengthen your core

Yoga can help you build a solid core, as it has diverse poses you can try out, including the plank pose. There are a few others you can also explore, like boat pose, dolphin plank, tree pose, and downward-facing dog, which are perfect for keeping your back nice and straight. Start slow, hold the pose for 30 seconds (which can be a struggle in yoga but you got this!), and then watch that time climb up to a cool 2 minutes. Your core will thank you later.

Practice the balance quad stretch

The balanced quad stretch is quite straightforward once you get the hang of it. Start on all fours, then stretch out your arm and leg on opposite sides. Bend your knee like you’re reaching for your foot with the opposite hand, similar to a stretchy yoga move. Pull your foot in, lift your leg high, and hold that pose for a solid 30 seconds. Switch it up to the other side and let the balancing act continue. It’s like a mini workout for your core, plus you get to show off your balancing skills. 

Explore the tried and true bicycle crunch

The bicycle crunch is a simple and effective way to strengthen your core. You only need to lie down and bend your arms while putting your legs up with your knees over your hip. After getting the hang of this, you can now proceed. Curl your shoulders off the floor and twist to the left, bringing your right elbow to your left knee while keeping your right leg straight. Think of it as a twisty, crunchy dance move. Head back to the start and repeat on the other side, and that’s one rep. Keep switching sides, and you’re on your way to a great core without breaking a sweat. 

Be more conscious of sitting up straight

Sitting up straight is super simple but can make a big difference as it does wonders for your back and muscles. Some researchers also believe sitting up is good for boosting confidence. Therefore, practice sitting upright with your shoulders, back, and chest out, even if it’s initially for a few minutes a day. When you’re on your feet, keep your weight balanced at the chin level and avoid leaning. You’ll do your back a lot of good and rock a confident, healthy vibe without even trying. 

Beyond sitting up straight, it also helps to be conscious of your overall posture throughout the day. Keeping an eye on your posture all day long is good for building and maintaining a strong core. Imagine standing tall, ensuring a healthy spine and confidence boost. This step is vital because studies reveal that poor posture can lead to back pain and headaches, making your back muscles work double-time to hold you up. Plus, it can negatively impact your recovery after an injury, putting unnecessary stress on the hurt area. So, remember that fixing your posture eases the stress and also amps up the blood flow, doing wonders for your overall health and wellness. 

Try kettlebell swings to build up even more core strength

Kettlebell swings are a great core workout worth exploring. Beyond the abs, kettlebell swings work your lower back, hips, and glutes. You can achieve this by hinging at the hips and swinging the kettlebell between your legs while maintaining stability and control. Each swing is like a one-two punch, contracting and releasing your core and building up your endurance. Beyond building your midsection, you also get a little cardio exercise. You can also consider a few all-in-one and competition style kettlebells for transitioning from one weight to another with various lower and upper exercises. 

Do kneeling hinges

The kneeling hinge is a cool move, terrific for engaging your thighs and abs. Start on your knees, legs hip-width apart, toes pointed back, and arms stretched out like you’re ready to conquer. Keep your abs game strong, forming a straight line from your knees to your head. Now, channel your inner strength, hinge back as far as you can, and return to your starting position. Perform like 10 reps, and if you need some extra comfort, toss a mat or towel under your knees. 

Incorporate swimming or sports to strengthen your core

A bit of swimming action can work on your core strength like Pilates, but with a splashy twist. To do this, lay face down with your arms and legs, making an X shape on the floor. Now, lift your chest, thighs, and arms off the floor. Keep your eyes down and neck in line with your spine to give your core a good workout. Take it up a notch by lifting one arm and the opposite leg a tad higher, and then swiftly switch sides, making one rep. You can challenge yourself by doing 20 reps, doing your best flutter as you keep your torso steady. It’s like a mini aquatic workout for your back, glutes, and shoulders. 

Try mountain climbers

It’s time to conquer the core with some mountain climbers. Take a plank position as you prepare to release some heat into your abs. Engage your core and bring your left knee to the chest, then swiftly send it back to the plank position. Now, switch it up by pulling the right knee in, and you’ve accomplished one rep. Keep doing as many as you can, alternating sides and moving at your own rhythm. This exercise targets everything from shoulders to calves, giving your whole body a workout that’s anything but boring. 

Seated twists and hover

Seated hover might not seem like much, but it’s a game-changer. Start by sitting cross-legged or trying the lotus pose. Then, plant your hands just outside your hips and give the ground a little love tap. Now, tilt your pelvis up, round your back, and scoop your abs. Push down with your arms and lift your hips from the floor. Hover in mid-air and hold that pose for around 30 seconds. If you’re feeling adventurous, switch up your legs for the next set. It’s a low-key ab challenge that’ll give your core a good workout. 

Enjoy simple daily activities

Your home offers several excellent opportunities to get active and strengthen your core. Several simple household activities like vacuuming and dusting, carrying groceries, climbing stairs, and gardening can help you achieve this. You only have to motivate yourself with the end goal and enjoy these little activities to get the best results. This way, even if you don’t have time to go to the gym or hire a trainer, you can still keep your core active.

Your abs are like the unsung heroes, making sure you stand tall, keep your back in check, and steer clear of any troublesome injuries. Whether you’re looking to improve your health or want to feel awesome, take a few minutes each day to work your core using any of the tips mentioned above, and your body will thank you. 

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