A little bit of focused core exercise every day can go a long way to strengthen your core. Although crunches and situps get a lot of good press when it comes to getting six-pack abs, these exercises only target one set of muscles of your core. Some of the easiest exercises you can do every day to target other core muscles are often ignored. To achieve a stronger core all around, however, you will need to work out the other core muscles daily, such as the obliques, back, pelvis and buttocks. A daily core workout will heighten your performance and strength in sports, as well as help you complete the basic tasks of daily living.
Weekly vs. Daily Fitness
Any exercise that engages your abdominals and back muscles in an organized way rates as a core exercise, according to MayoClinic.com. But you can add daily targeted core-blasting exercises to a well-rounded weekly fitness program. For a well-rounded core fitness program, perform 75 minutes to 150 minutes of moderate to intense cardio, and two strength-training sessions per week. Add to that, a daily 15- to 20-minute workout that focuses on various core muscles. Simple, efficient core exercises to perform in addition to your weekly fitness schedule include side stretching, yoga’s Breath of Life and Circle Plank.
Get Firm From the Inside Out
Skull Shining Breath is an easy way to tone your transverses abdominus, or your inner abdominal wall, even while sitting at your desk at work. When you sneeze or cough, you feel your inner abdominal muscles. Sit in a chair and breathe through your mouth for a few seconds and engage your core. To engage your core, imagine that you’re drawing your belly button in toward your spine. Relax your shoulders and maintain a straight, neutral back. Inhale and exhale rapidly for 15 to 30 seconds, while maintaining a strong core. The rapid contractions tone your belly and increase your heart rate, according to Yoga Journal.
Every Day Side Stretches
Rotational exercises such as side stretches engage the internal and external obliques, which need strengthening for core fitness. You can perform side stretches from your office chair or from a standing position. Sweep both arms above your head and spread your fingers out, reaching toward the ceiling. Lean to your right as you exhale and feel the stretch in your left obliques. Take several breaths, and then lean to the left, stretching and firming the right obliques. Repeat three times on both sides to firm your obliques and open your rib cage.
Circle plank is a floor exercise that targets your back and abs, as well as your inner thighs and hip flexors. Get on all fours on a mat. Straighten your legs and firm your core as you get into plank position. Maintain a flat back from your shoulders to your heels. Bring your right knee to your chest and rotate it clockwise as you keep the rest of your body steady. Rotate the right knee counterclockwise. Perform five rotations on the right side, switch legs and repeat.
- MayoClinic.com: Core Exercises: Why You Should Strengthen Your Core Muscles
- Harvard Medical School: Build Your Core Muscles For a Healthier, More Active Future
- MayoClinic.com: How Much Should the Average Adult Exercise Every Day?
- Yoga Journal: Skull Shining Breath
- Yoga Journal: Forget Six Pack Abs
- Real Simple: 6 Easy Exercises to Strengthen Your Core