A quick Google search for “core exercises” will leave you with millions of different ways to strengthen your trunk. And it makes sense: Your core is made up of nearly a dozen different muscles, all of which require their own set of targeted exercises. But forget combing through all million results: You only really need six moves to effectively light up your entire core.
Your core can be divided up into three sections: your upper abs, your internal obliques, and your “deep four” (which includes the pelvic floor, diaphragm, multifidus, and transverse abdominis). In order to strengthen your core to the max, you’ll want to hit each of these three sections on every abs day you put your body through. This means engaging in a range of different moves—some of which hit these sections individually, others that’ll get to them all at once.
This six move series—care of trainer Meg Takacs—is all you need to get a full core workout in seven minutes flat. Follow along with the video below, and kiss that massive Google search goodbye.
Try this 6-move full core workout at home
1. Hollow rocks: Balancing on your glutes, straighten your arms and legs to create a hollow “V” shape in your body. Rollback through your spine, keeping your legs straight. Think about crunching your belly button into your spine, keeping the tension in the core. Let the momentum of your legs carry your body back and forth, taking care to let your feet and shoulder blades only kiss the floor. To modify, hold your hands by your chest.
2. Single leg sit-ups: With your legs bent on the floor, roll up through your spine, and touch the opposite foot with your hand. Twist your body from your core as you crunch. Repeat on the opposite side.
3. One push-up into four mountain climbers: Starting in a high plank, do a push-up. Then, cycle through four mountain climbers, keeping your core tight and pulling each knee in toward your elbows. To modify, drop down to your knees and do the push-up from there, then push into your high plank and cycle through your mountain climbers.
4. Low plank oblique crunches: Start in a forearm plank with your shoulders stacked. Bring your knee to the side of your elbow (on the same side of your body), squeezing your obliques. Keep your body parallel to the ground and your shoulders and hips squared to the center. Alternate sides.
5. High plank trunk rotations: Start in a high plank and twist your body to one side, extending your bottom leg out underneath you and reaching your top arm toward your toes. To modify, tap your hand to your knee instead of extending your leg out all the way.
6. Side plank crunch: From a side plank, crunch your top knee into your elbow, squeezing your obliques. Be sure to never let your foot hit the ground. To modify, place your top foot on the ground in front of your leg, and lower and raise your hip to the floor.
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