Boost your Core Strength for a Summer Ready Body
Everyone wants to look and feel their best during the summer season. Having strong core muscles that are toned or even sculpted can help you look great in a swimsuit or tank top and also provide a plethora of other health benefits. That’s why it’s important to incorporate core-strengthening exercises into your routine and here are some tips to get you started.
1. Choose the right exercises
Core exercises involve more than just doing crunches and other sit-ups. To effectively target the muscles of your core, aim to incorporate a variety of exercises that strengthen both the front, back and sides of your core. Some great core exercises include:
- Planks – Planks work to straighten and strengthen all the muscles of your torso, including your abdominal muscles.
- Side Plank – Side planks help to target your obliques or the sides of your torso.
- Bird-Dog – Bird-dog is a great exercise for targeting both your lower back and core muscles.
- Hip-Raises – Hip-raises work to strengthen your lower back, hip, and glutes.
2. Strength Train
Strength training also helps build core muscles like the rectus abdominis, internal obliques, and transverse abdominis. In addition to core-specific exercises, add in squats, lunges, deadlifts, and other full-body exercises that engage your core while also targeting other muscle areas.
3. Keep it simple
The best exercises for toning your core don’t have to involve complex equipment or complex exercises. The main key is to complete the same exercises on a consistent basis and mix it up between cardio-focused and strength-focused exercises. Try to aim to do at least 20 minutes of core exercises 3 times per week.
4. Balance it out
Our core is not one muscle, it is a group of muscles that all need to be worked in order to get a toned, strong core. So be sure to mix up your routine and work your midsection from all angles – front, back, and sides. This will help to ensure your body is balanced and sculpted all over.
5. Have patience
While you may be eager to get a sculpted core as soon as possible, it’s important to exercise patience and trust the process. With consistent effort and dedication, you will see progress in your strength, endurance, and physique over time.
Summer is coming and it’s the perfect time to start working on your core strength. If you’re consistent with your exercise routine and practice the tips above, you will be well on your way to achieving a toned and sculpted summer ready body.
How can I strengthen my core for summer?
1. Get adequate rest
2. Cut back on sugar and processed foods
3. Incorporate regular cardiovascular exercise such as running, swimming, biking or aerobics
4. Strengthen your core with exercises such as planks, abdominal crunches, side bridges, Russian twists, pull-ups, medicine ball curls and mountain climbers
5. Work your core muscles with dynamic exercises such as jogging, jumping jacks and walking lunges
6. Stretch your core muscles before and after your workouts
7. Take breaks from working out to prevent overtraining
8. Stay hydrated with lots of water
9. Eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins
10. Limit alcohol consumption and unhealthy snacks
11. Practice patience and have faith that results will come with time and dedication to the plan.
What exercises should I do to get a stronger core for summer?
1. Plank: Start in a forearm plank position with your elbows directly below your shoulders, your feet hip-width apart, and your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold for 30 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Repeat three times.
2. Russian twists: Start seated on the floor with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Lean back slightly and hinge your hips to the ground while lifting your feet a few inches of the floor. Hold a medicine ball or weight with both hands and twist to one side, bringing the weight over that side. Return to the center and twist to the opposite side. Repeat 20 times.
3. Bicycle crunches: Start lying flat on your back with your hands behind your head. Engage your core and lift your feet off the ground. Begin cycling your feet as if you’re pedaling a bicycle, whilst simultaneously curling your body and bringing one elbow to the opposite knee. Alternate sides and repeat 30 times.
4. Side plank with hip dip: Start in a side plank position with your feet stacked and your hips lifted, creating a straight line from your neck to your feet. Dip your hip to the ground and return to plank position. Repeat 30 times, then switch sides and repeat 30 times.
5. Reverse crunch: Start lying flat on your back with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle and your hands at your sides. Engage your core and lift your hips a few inches off the ground while bringing your knees to your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat 30 times.
What types of core exercises should I do to get a six-pack for summer?
1. Planks: Start with a simple plank and work your way up to more difficult variations. Keep your back flat, your head neutral and your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
2. Sit-Ups: Sit-ups are a great way to target your core and get those abs toned for summer.
3. Medicine Ball Exercises: Medicine balls are versatile and can be used for a variety of core exercises including twists, chops, throws, and slams.
4. Mountain Climbers: Mountain climbers are a great way to work your entire core and get your heart rate up.
5. Russian Twists: An effective core exercise that can also help strengthen your lower back.
6. Burpees: Burpees will give you a full-body workout and are an excellent way to target all areas of your core.