Strengthening your core is important for just about everything you do. Most movements, whether they’re fitness activities or just every day life, originate from your core. Your core muscles work to stabilize your body and help produce power for movements of your limbs.
Your core involves all the muscles of your trunk not just your abs and low back like most people think. Doing a few sets of sit ups and bird – dogs is not going to cut it if you truly want to strengthen your core.
Your core is basically everything but your arms and legs. It includes your glutes, hips, abs, low back, upper back and chest. Your upper back and chest are less involved in certain core movements but are still connected to the whole core chain.
Here are some great core exercises that can be done with minimal or no equipment. And not one sit up in the bunch!
Planks (the exercise you love to hate!)
Side planks (a slightly more challenging variation)
Plank with leg lift (alternate leg lifts for up to 10 reps each)
Plank with leg lift
Seated leg lifts (I’m horribly inflexible so this is a tough one for me because my hamstrings are so tight!)
Seated Leg Lifts
Back extensions (these can be done on a machine in a gym as well)
Back Extensions – Start
Back Extensions – Finish
High Intensity Workouts are a Good Addition to an Overall Fitness Plan
There’s no denying the popularity of high intensity interval or boot camp style workouts that promise to torch fat, kick your butt and get you in great shape. You can find local classes, gyms or even online videos everywhere. These workouts can be as quick as 7-10 minutes or as long as a 1-hour class and if done right, will leave you feeling like you want to sprawl on the floor and not move the rest of the day. The idea that you can get in killer shape quickly is appealing to so many people. How could it not be, right?! The intensity of the workouts makes for great Instagram and Facebook posts too! But is working at such a high intensity all the time, even for 10 minutes, a good idea?
Steady state cardio seems to have fallen out of favor in recent years. After all, why do something that takes longer and isn’t as effective as a HIIT workout? But high intensity training is tough on your body and often recovery takes longer than most people allow for themselves. My 44-year-old body does not recovery from that kind of workout in just a day! And a number of my clients have the same recovery challenges.
If you’re trying to lose fat, often you’re restricting your calories in general and sometimes your carbs. This could make it difficult to get through a very intense workout. You need those carbs! If you’re trying to improve speed or sports performance then high intensity workouts are important. If your primary goal is fat loss then strength training and diet should be your new best friends. High intensity workouts are fine as part of an overall fitness plan but not ALL THE TIME!
As with so many other things, the old saying “Everything in moderation” applies here too. Definitely include high intensity workouts in your fitness plan but don’t make them the whole plan.
Here’s a 9-minute interval workout you can do at home… But only once or twice a week!
Do each exercise for 30 seconds moving immediately from one to the next.
- Star jacks
- Curtsy lunges
- Side-to-side pushups
- Mountain climbers
- Sumo squats
- Jog in place
- Jumping jacks
- Butt kicks
- Standing side crunches
- Skater jumps
- Glute bridge
- High knees
P.S. Visit my website TheHomeFitnessClub.com for more workout ideas.