In the world of fitness, a strong core is a precious asset!Core exercises are a part of a holistic fitness plan. Improving stability, balance, and strength of the body, the core muscles comprise of the muscles in the pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen – together they create a strong base of support for powerful movements as well as improve body posture.Most people think that core exercises are about having six-pack abs or flat belly. But ask the fitness experts and you will know that core strengthening is about the different muscles that run through the entire torso.Core conditioning exercises are a set of exercises that target these muscle groups effectively and build strength, agility, and stability in the body. With a set of good core exercises, you don’t just get body strength but are also able to improve your stamina and level up your fitness.Here are some of the best core strength workouts that will keep your heart elevated while you strengthen your midsection.

Plank – Build your strength

Holding on to a plank position takes endurance and strength on your core, abs, and back. It is one of the best core strengthening exercises. It engages your core muscles, works on the glutes and hamstrings, and improves proper posture and balance. If you are a beginner, 3 repetitions of 30 seconds of holding a plank is a great way to get started. As you get better at it, the time keeps extending.To get into a plank pose, rest on the floor with your forearms on the floor and your elbows underneath your shoulders. Hands should face forward so that the arms are parallel to your body. Extend your legs out behind you and curl your toes on the floor. Now squeeze your core muscles, glutes, butt, and quads to push your body away from the floor so that you are just on your hands and your toes. Your body should form a straight line. Hold this position. You can gently bend your elbows back again and come resting to the floor once your repetitions are done.

Push-ups

Push-up exercises can be an extension of Plank to boost strength, in the arms, chest, and the core muscles. When done properly, Push-up is a compound exercise that uses muscles of the shoulders, chest, triceps, abs, back, and even legs. As a great balance between strength and stamina, push-ups can be a measure of your overall fitness.Start from your plank position. Contract your abs and tighten your core muscles as you inhale and bend your elbows to lower yourself towards the floor until your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Inhale again as you contract your chest muscles and push yourself back up to the Plank Position. Make sure you don’t rest your body to the floor in between.

Ab Crunches

A classic core exercise and one of the most popular ab exercises - Crunches is a part of most exercise routines. The rectus abdominus muscle is flexed to bring shoulders towards the hips. Crunches bring flexibility in the body, provide stability, build a strong back and abs, and core strength.To begin with, lie down straight on your back with your knees bent. Place your hand behind your neck or across the chest. Now squeeze your belly button towards the spine and engage your core to contract your abdominals. As you exhale, bring your shoulder blades 2 inches above the floor, and as you inhale rest back on the floor. But skip resting in between and continue with the process for 15-20 repetitions.  P.S. Getting it right is more important than doing multiple repetitions.

The basic Squats

A well-rounded fitness or weight training program is incomplete without squats. It is a core engaging exercise that builds muscle strength, power, and endurance. The primary muscles used are the quadriceps (front of the thighs) and the gluteus maximus i.e. buttocks. While beginners can start with the basic squats or half-squats, athletes usually pair them up with weights for some hardcore training.Get into a wide stance with feet right beneath the shoulders and weight centered. Keep your back straight and as you inhale start bending your knees and pushing your buttocks back (much like sitting on a chair). Bend low till the hip joints and the knee joints are in the same line. Maintain the low and as you exhale start returning to the standing position with back erect and hips under the bar.

Mountain Climbers

A classic abs exercise – mountain climbers has been a favorite of athletes because it gives strength while simultaneously working on stamina and muscular endurance. Having mastered crunches and planks, mountain climbers can prove to be a great abs workout and build up your overall strength.Start with a traditional plank position and maintain a neutral spine. Engage your core and bend your right knee to bring it close to the right elbow. The closes you get, the better. As you hit the most closer to the right elbow, push the knee back to return to the plank position and bend the left knee to push it to the left elbow. Repeat the process speedily with precision to get maximum benefits.

Back Bridge or Bridge Pose

The basic bridge pose is one of the popular core strengthening exercises that work the gluteus maximus and hamstrings. Bridge pose can enhance core stability and target the abdominal muscles to improve lower back agility, hip movements, core muscle strength, abs and obliques.To get down on a bridge pose, lie flat-back with knee bent and feet flat on the ground (close to the hip). Tighten your abdominal muscles and tap into the quadriceps to push your low back off the ground. Raise your hips to form a straight line from your knees to the shoulders. Hold on to this position for about 30 seconds and slowly start descending to the resting position.

JackKnife

An extension of the usual boat pose, Jack Knife is a strong core building exercise that boosts stability, hip flexors, rectus abdominus, obliques, back, abs, and shoulders. Combining cardio and strengthening, JackKnife is a full-body workout with special attention to muscles that build up the torso. You have to utilize all of your core muscle groups to maintain stability and practice this exercise.Lie straight on your back with your hands extended over the head. Now contract your abs to press your low back into the ground and squeeze your thighs and glutes to simultaneously lift the upper back and legs off the ground. Bring your hand parallel to the legs and then slowly start returning to the starting position. This is one cycle. Repeat this for at least 15-20 times to feel the core muscles strengthening and maximum belly burn.Core strengthening exercises can be tough, to begin with especially when you have an inactive lifestyle. But as you begin and start being consistent, you can strengthen your muscles daily and increase repetitions over time.Bonus Tip: Core Strengthening Exercises are about quality workouts and not quantity. Even if you do one rep, make sure you do it right!

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