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10 Body Weight Exercises to build Core Strength

Core exercises are the common statements we get to hear in gyms. Core means most important or most essential. There are plenty of ways to train your core, some ways are optimal and some non-optimal. This article is specifically for those who are not able to go to a gym and want to train their core at their own place.

So here we have an interesting and second favorite topic of every gym goer. Core remains everyone’s favorite. I want to strengthen my core. Core exercises are the common statements we get to hear in gyms. Core means most important or most essential. There are plenty of ways to train your core, some ways are optimal and some non-optimal. This article is specifically for those who are not able to find out time to go to a gym or prefer to train with their body weight in the gym or at home or park or community hall etc. So what is Core?

Core basically comprises of all the muscles around your pelvis and spine area, their major function is to give stability, support or rigidness to the body especially below the rib cage and the pelvic region due to lack of stability components in that region. Our core is the most functional part of the body, i.e. with the word functional I mean it is used a lot in our day to day life, activities ranging from walking, turning, sleeping, bending over, reaching over head, picking up objects and many more.

Core strengthening is vital for day to day life improvement, a strengthened core helps provide support to the spine, protect one’s inner organs, and get a strong and confident posture, last but not the least who doesn’t like those washboard six pack abs and obliques. So here I am with 10 body weight exercises you can do at home or anywhere to get a strong core, you just need a mat and desire to do it then no one can stop you.

1. Plank

  • Plank is one of the favorite exercises for people. Start off slowly from 30 seconds and you may go up to 2 minutes. Doing a set of 5 will suffice.
  • Keep your elbows perpendicular to the floor in line with the shoulder, chin tucked in or neutral, spine should stay flat or neutral as shown, your entire body must stay suspended as their will be only 2 point of contact with the floor i.e. elbows and toes
  • Plank will target your abdominals or the front side of your abdominal where you see your 6 packs.

2. Side Planks

  • Side Planks are for obliques, majorly external oblique’s or side part of your abdomen area.
  • Keep your elbow perpendicular to the floor, in line with the shoulder with rest of the body suspended with only two points of contact again namely elbow and side part of your foot. Always keep facing forward and don’t fall or tilt in front.
  • For a beginner they will be slightly tough to start off with, starting with 20 seconds each side would suffice and the person can do it till 1 minute each side. Perform 4 sets each side would be a good workload to the targeted area.

3. Crunches

  • Crunches are for the front or the anterior part of your abdomen where one normally sees 6 pack abs; the muscle name is rectus abdominis.
  • Lie flat on your back, fold at your knees by bringing them closer to your torso or body whilst asking someone to anchor you by keeping their foot on your toes. Lock your arms at the back of your neck, gaze towards navel and crunch with crunch means you need to come towards your knees by folding at your spine. Then similarly go back to the original position. Remember not to pull your neck with the arms, just come with the effort of your abdomen.
  • This exercise is contraindicative to people predisposed to back pain or history of back injury.
  • Performing a set of 10 repetitions going till 4 sets would suffice for most people.

4. Vertical Leg Crunch

  • This movement is another variation of Crunches, targeting the same muscle Rectus Abdominals. Perform 8-10 repetitions with 4 sets for this exercise.
  • Lie flat on the floor; place the hands behind your head. Lift your legs up at your hips till they are perpendicular to the floor. Gaze at your navel, this will be your starting position. Now crunch forward by flexing at your spine, don’t pull your neck with your hands. Only work has to be of your abdomen.

5. Twisting Crunches

  • Twisting Crunches are for the External and Internal Obliques i.e. a group of muscle running diagonally on the abdomen part or area.
  • Lie flat on your back, fold at your knees by bringing them closer to your torso or body whilst asking someone to anchor you by keeping their foot on your toes or cross one leg by keeping its foot on the other leg knee. Lock your arms at the back of your neck, gaze towards navel and crunch sideways or diagonally with crunch means you need to come towards your opposite side knee by folding at your spine. Then similarly go back to the original position. Remember not to pull your neck with the arms, just come with the effort of your abdomen.
  • Perform 4 sets each with 8-10 repetition on both the sides.

6. Body Weight Squats

  • Though, squats are better done weighted but body weight squats also helps strengthening your core. Squat is a natural movement we have been doing since childhood, it is an act of sitting down and standing up. Core muscles help to maintain neutral spine throughout the movement, the basic function of the core muscles. Doing consecutive repetitions of the squat movement will work on those core muscles helping to maintain neutral spine. Neutral Spine means keeping spine flat and tight whilst sitting down and standing up. Squat will also help strengthen your legs.
  • Perform 10 reps with 4 sets; you may increase the number of sets as you become comfortable with doing 4 sets.

7. Reverse Crunch

  • Many people consider this exercise for lower portion of abdomen, which is incorrect. Forward and Reverse Crunch targets the same muscle i.e. Rectus Abdominis. Doesn’t matter you do it as a forward or the reverse crunch.
  • Lie flat on your back, keep your knees straight. Take your arms over the head; anchor yourself by holding something with your arms. Bring your legs perpendicular to the floor by folding at the hip, keeping them straight at the knees and crunch by bringing the legs towards your head. Then similarly go back to the original position and restart for the 2nd repetition.
  • Perform 8-10 reps for 4 sets, as per comfort level and increase number of repetitions from there on as you get comfortable with the movement. Again this exercise would be contraindicative to people predisposed to back pain or history of back injury.

8. Flutter Kicks

  • Movement works on abdomen or the rectus abdominis and hip flexors. It’s a quicker way to get the core workout done.
  • Just lie on your back flat, facing up, toes pointed and hand tucked underneath glutes or hips. Lift both the legs alternatively a few inches off the ground and start alternate kicks up and down with comfortable pace. Progress gradually with this movement, or next day you can get soreness around abdomen and hip flexor area i.e. lower part of abdomen.

9. Bird Dog

  • Movement works on abdominal and glutes muscle. It can be a good start for beginners. Doing this movement alternatively for a minute each on both sides for 3-4 sets would suffice.
  • Balance yourself on opposite hand and knees, lifting opposite side hand and knees up in the air keeping them parallel to the floor. Stay in this position for as long as possible, breath normally. Repeat the same for the other side.

10. Superman

  • Lie face down on the floor/mat. Lift both your legs and arms up off the floor, keep both your arms and legs extended, and keep facing front whilst breathing normally. Stay in this position till comfort level. Repeat the movement as per comfort or 4 sets for 30 seconds each would suffice.
  • This movement will work on the Back muscle namely Erector Spinae and Multifidus, which will help strengthen your back and help in improving posture.

About The Author

Harsh Arya

Harsh Arya is a certified Master Trainer, Sports Nutritioinist, and trained to train Special Population. He is an IMT Ghaziabad and BITS Pilani Alumni. Having worked in Aviation.... Read More..

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