Core Exercises: The Importance of the Abdominal Region
Core exercises are generally the most despised part of any workout routine, but it is important to strengthen and tone the abdominal area properly. Novices to abdominal exercises can rest assured that they are far from alone in worrying about the difficulty level of core toning, but there are exercises that will do the job necessary.
Why is it so important to know how to do solid core toning exercises? Toning the abdominal area has incredible benefits for the body, including:
- Increased balance
- Increased metabolism (muscle burns fat faster with less effort)
- Better control over the body for exercising or doing any sort of physical activity
- A stronger, healthier back which leads to fewer back problems later in life
- Improved stability overall
Those with a stronger core area find that much of the rest of life improves as well; there is less back pain, less burnout, and less overall pain. Furthermore, people with toned abs look better, which is the main reason why many people strive for this goal.
The following are four excellent core exercises for novices which can tone up the abdominal area. Each exercise can then be modified later to reflect the growth in skill level and can be done with minimal cost and effort for maximum results. Do these exercises during any exercise routine and be sure to take a day off to let abs grow between exercise days.
1. Modified plank
The modified plank is an important core exercise to start with because it requires no equipment and tightens the abdominal area in just a few minutes.
Start by lying on your stomach with your forearms and hands pointed out. Your feet should be about an inch apart and not touching. Then, raise your body up using only your feet and forearms. Hold your body in a straight, upright position by virtue of your forearms and abdominal muscles for on minute and then lower yourself again.
Try working your way up to three minutes or longer for your long term goal.
2. Crunches on a Ball
The medicine ball is a tool that anyone serious about exercising should have in his or her arsenal. Crunches on a medicine ball are highly effective and can be modified simply by doing more crunches every week.
Lying on the medicine ball with your lower back squarely on it and your spine aligned with feet firmly planted on the floor, perform crunches by resting your fingers on your head or behind your ears and then pull yourself up and hold for a few counts. Make sure to keep your feet planted on the floor the entire time. Then lie back down and repeat.
These crunches are more effective than your average crunches because the medicine ball provides more tension, making your muscles work harder.
The bridge up is almost like an upside down stomach crunch. Start by sitting on the floor with your feet flat, knees bent, and arms bent so that your hands are flat on the floor.
Then, using your arms and your abs, raise yourself so that you are holding yourself on your hands and feet. Hold yourself in a flat position with nothing more than your hands, feet and abs for two counts and then lower yourself and repeat.
This core exercise is easy to do, but it really works out your muscles and you can modify it by extending the amount of time you hold yourself up.
4. Side Bends with a Dumbbell
The side bend is a good core exercise because it fully works the sides of your abdominal muscles which is very important if you want truly toned muscles.
Holding the dumbbells in your hands, bend your trunk to the right at a forty five degree angle, hold for a count or two and then return to your standing position and bend the other way. It’s deceptively simple, but these core exercises grow with you because you can increase the weights over time.
There are more advanced abdominal exercises, but these four core exercises are invaluable for any novice to abdominal strengthening and toning.
Adding these core exercises will lead to a healthier, stronger core in a matter of weeks and give all the benefits outlined above for a better body and life.