If you're determined to tighten and tone your midsection, you might be wondering if you can do a daily core workout. Your core includes muscles around your hips, abdominals and lower back, so it makes sense that you want this area to be strong.
In order to reduce back pain, improve balance and maintain proper flexion, extension and rotation you need to include core exercises in your overall fitness routine.
Knowing that a strong foundation is key, the next step is to determine how many days of training are needed to elicit change, which leads to one question: Can doing daily core exercises help these powerful muscles perform at the top of their game?
If you're exercising on a regular basis, there's a good chance you're already engaging your core. That's because your core is involved in most, if not all, of the movements you're doing. But doing a focused core workout every day might not be necessary and may even lead to overtraining.
Should You Do Daily Core Exercises?
Your core muscles can handle a lot of training, but as with any other muscle group, they need rest. This means, if you're doing focused core work, such as planks, plank jacks, crunches and hip rotations, it's a good idea to take a day off between workouts, especially if you have sore abs. They get tired and sore just as your legs do after an intense squat session.
How Often Should You Train Your Core?
You're likely engaging your core muscles on a daily basis without even knowing it. So working your abs every day or doing a separate daily core workout is not necessary. That said, you might be wondering how many times a week you should train your core.
The good news is, if you're doing compound strength-training movements such as squats, deadlifts, overhead lifts or heavy carries or participating in fitness activities that require a lot of rotation and flexion of the trunk, you are already training your core. However, including three or more days of dedicated core exercises can help improve performance and reduce injuries.
Examples of Core Exercises
Since your core is involved in so many daily movements, you're already getting a daily core workout. However, when it's time to focus on a specific routine that will target those important muscles, you need to know which exercises to do. While there are several exercises that work your core, some deliver better results than others.
When designing a core workout, aim to include abdominal, lower back and hip strengthening exercises in your routine. You can choose to do the exercises for a set amount of time or a certain number of reps and sets. For example, when performing a plank, hold the movement for 30 seconds and repeat two times. If you're doing the glute bridge, perform three sets of 15 repetitions. You should be able to complete a core workout in 10 to 15 minutes.
- Front planks
- Side planks
- Plank jacks
- Single-leg hip bridge
- Plank with leg raise
- Glute bridge
- Dead bug
- Bird dog
- Mayo Clinic: Core Exercises: Why You Should Strengthen Your Core Muscles
- National Strength and Conditioning Association: Low Back Pain—The Mobility-Stability Continuum
- International Journal of Exercise Science: Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training