Get a Tight Core and Glutes in 4 Moves
By REENA VOKOUN
Your core is one of the most important components of your body because it gives you balance and strength, protects your lower back and allows you to move in different ways by giving you a central foundation from which to move.
Your glutes are also an important part of your body because they help maintain your torso and are a big driver of your lower-body movements, especially when it comes to squats and lunges.
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Many people feel their core and glutes are two of the toughest areas of their body to tone, so I have four great exercises to help you tighten these areas so you can look and feel your best. All you need is an exercise mat.
1.Push-up to side plank: Position yourself in a basic plank position with your hands and feet about shoulder-width apart. Tuck in your core and make sure your back is flat and your spine is neutral. (Modification: Start on your knees instead of the balls of your feet.)
Lower down into a traditional push-up. On the way up, turn your body to the left in a side plank while raising your left arm. If you're modifying, keep your right knee on the ground while straightening out your left leg.
Turn back to center and lower back down into a push-up and turn your body to the right in a side plank while raising your right arm. If you're modifying, keep your left knee on the ground while straightening out your right leg.
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2. Opposite arms and legs outstretched in plank: Start out on your hands and knees, both shoulder-width apart. Extend your right arm and left leg, bring your right elbow and left knee in towards your chest at the same time and then extend back out.
After completing these reps, keep your arm and leg extended and raise both in an upward direction at the same time in little pulses. Repeat this whole series on the other side with your left arm and right leg.
If you need a modification, you can do this series with both hands on the ground and just focus on extending and lifting each leg. This is still a great workout for the glutes and puts a little less work on the core.
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3. Plank with alternating knee drops: Start in a plank position on the balls of your feet, shoulder-width apart. This time rest your elbows on the ground with your hands clasped together.
Drop your right knee to the ground and alternate with your left. Continue to alternate back and forth with each knee. Tuck in your core and keep a flat back and neutral spine while doing this exercise. To increase the intensity, pick up the pace when you drop and alternate each knee down.
4. Biking exercises for the core: Lay down on the mat with your legs extended and rest back on your elbows with your hands by your side. Be sure to keep your torso tall and chest up and avoid sinking down into your elbows.
Flex your feet and bring your knees into your chest. Push your right foot straight out and alternate with your left. Lead with your heel. After completing these reps, then transition into a full "biking" motion by pushing your feet and legs in a circle. Then go in reverse.
Check out all the moves here:
Please remember to consult your doctor before trying these exercises if you have any health concerns.
Readers -- What are your favorite moves for working your core and glutes? Do you do full-body workouts or focus on a specific area in your workouts? Do you use any of the moves described above? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Reena Vokoun is the founder of Passion Fit, LLC, a certified fitness and dance instructor, blogger, video expert, digital-advertising professional and award-winning ESPN National Aerobics Championships competitor. She's a happily married mother of two boys.