Core Strengthening Workout – Fit Friday

Your new favorite core strengthening workout! | read more at happilythehicks.com

Happy Fit Friday! This is one of my favorite days of the month, because I get to share some of my go-to workout moves with you, and hopefully motivate you to get active. Especially now that we’re approaching the summer (aka swimsuit and tank top season!), getting that workout in is extra important. This month I decided to share some of my favorite moves to strengthen your core, because who doesn’t want one?! 

In case you didn’t know, your “core” is more than just your abs. It includes just about every muscle you use besides your arms and legs. You use your core in almost every movement of your body, and taking care of it is crucial for having a healthy and happy body.

But… did you know that having a strong core is so much more than looking great in your swimsuit? Before we dive into the moves, I thought I’d share some benefits of having a strong core. 

Benefits of Having a Strong Core

It helps your back

Having a strong core will help with things like sitting up straight, standing for long periods of time, and simply making your back stronger. My sister and I both have scoliosis, and one of the best ways to avoid back pain is by keeping our core tight, and doing strengthening exercises. Your goal is to have a balanced core, because it acts as a stabilizer for your body, and protects your back from strain and injury. 

Aids in day to day tasks

As I mentioned earlier, you use your core in almost every movement your body makes. When you do household tasks like sweeping, mopping and dusting, you bend, twist and stretch that area of your body. When your core is strong, those tasks take less effort and you will prevent any unneeded pain! Awesome, right?

Good posture!

Y’all… who doesn’t want good posture? When your core muscles are weak, you end up slouching and rounding out your back, which isn’t good at all! Instead, when you strengthen those muscles, you not only sit up taller, look (and feel) more confident, but it also helps lessen wear and tear on your spine, and even helps you breathe deeper. And it all starts with your core. 

Helps you with other sports and exercises

Most sports and workout routines you do require a lot of core work. Even activities such as running, biking, and swimming require a strong core, as well as sports like tennis and volleyball. When  you have built up strong muscles in your core, the movements and strength required to excel in these areas comes a lot easier! 

Core Strengthening Workout

Before we get to the workout, I wanted to talk a little bit about the types of movements I used. Research has shown that doing core movements in isolation (like crunches or back extensions) aren’t as effective to building a strong core as doing more dynamic movements. Your core “acts as a stabilizer and force transfer center rather than a prime mover”1, which means the exercise movements you do should treat your core as such. That’s why today’s workout will target the core, but will also work with other muscle groups as well. 
I structured the workout to be two toning moves followed by a cardio spurt, to keep your heart racing and your metabolism burning! It’s a tough workout, but you’ll thank me later. ; )

Complete 15 reps or 30 seconds of each move. Repeat the circuit 2-3 times through!

Plank

Start by lying flat on your stomach. With your body straight, from your legs to your shoulders, push up with your arms until you are in a full plank position. Keep your stomach muscles tight and hold for 30 seconds. 
Alternate move: Instead of putting your body weight in your hands/wrists, rest on your forearms (bent at the elbow). 

Deadlift

Using either dumbells, a kettlebell or your body weight (nothing in your hands), bend forward at the hips, keeping your knees in athletic position. Lower your weight to the floor, then stand up, using your glutes to pull up. Keep your core tight the entire time. Repeat 15 times.

Mountain Climbers

Get on your hands and balls of your feet, with your booty in the air. Alternate bringing each knee to your chest, mimicking a high knee move (but laying down instead of standing up!). Keep “climbing” in place for 30 seconds.

Leg Pull In

Sitting on your bottom, bend your knees at 90 degrees. Extend your body out, keeping your feet off the ground, then pull back in to center. Repeat 15 times. 

Downward Dog Crunch

Get in downward dog position, bend your right leg, and bring your knee to your right elbow. Extend your leg back and kick up. Return to downward dog, then repeat on the left leg. Do this move 15 times on each side. 

Burpee

Begin by standing on your feet. Lower your hands to the ground, then jump your legs back until you reach plank position. Jump your legs back to your hands, and stand up. Add in an extra jump here if you feel like challenging yourself! 
Alternate move: instead of jumping your legs back and forth, you can walk them back one foot at a time. 

Row Extension and Crunch

Hold a dumbbell with both hands. Place your weight on your left leg, and float the right leg out to the side a bit. Hold the weight above your left shoulder. Bring your hands to the center of your body along with your right knee. Your hands and knee should meet in front of your belly button. Bring your hands and foot back to where they started! Repeat 15 times on each side. 

Lunge Twist

Hold a dumbbell with both hands straight out in front of you. Lunge forward with your left leg, and twist your torso to the left. Twist back to center, then return to standing position. Do the same on the right side. Repeat 15 times on each side. 

Bicycle

Lying on your back, lift your feet off the ground and bend to 90 degrees. Put your hands behind your head. Crunch to the left (bringing your right elbow across your body) as you bring in your left knee and extend your right leg. Now crunch to the right, bringing in the right knee and extending your left leg. Repeat! Do this for 30 seconds. 

Now it’s your turn to talk! Answer one of these questions in the comments below:
What are your favorite exercises that target the core?
Did you know that you use your core for so many things?

References:
1 http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/the-real-world-benefits-of-strengthening-your-core
2 https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/do-you-know-what-your-core-really-is-and-what-it-does

Your new favorite core strengthening workout! | read more at happilythehicks.com

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What do you think

  1. Ryan | A Polished Palate

    April 7th, 2017 at 7:51 am

    These are all great workouts! I’m constant mission to work on my core strength!

  2. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    You and me both girl! It’s a constant work in progress haha.

  3. Misty Day Kroeze

    April 7th, 2017 at 7:58 am

    I really need to get back to my core workouts!! I like how you incorporate the little videos to show how the moves work.

  4. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks Misty! I feel like videos help so much when learning a new workout move.

  5. Sarah Jean

    April 7th, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I’ve tried your HIIT workout, your leg workout, and now I’m excited to try your ab workout!

  6. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Yay!! :D Hope you like this one too!

  7. Susie Liberatore

    April 7th, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Thank you for sharing all of this you have motivated me to get in shape and get my body better. I really need to. Its not even about weight, its about feeling good and all the reasons above!!

  8. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    That’s great to hear!! And yes yes yes! Being active isn’t about losing weight, it’s about being happy with you and your body.

  9. Vanessa

    April 7th, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Wonderful! I started a 30 day ab challenge this month. I just had my second baby and definitely know the importance of a strong core. Keep up the great work! :)

  10. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Awesome! How’s the challenge going?

  11. Lisa McDermott

    April 7th, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Oooh! I need to try these out, especially because my back has been feeling so tight lately.

  12. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Yes! I’d start with some warmup stretches and moves to make sure you don’t strain your back, though, especially if it’s felt tight lately. The deadlifts are such a nice stretch too!

  13. Jackie

    April 8th, 2017 at 6:25 am

    This like a great core workout! I need to work more on core

  14. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks Jackie! And so do I! especially with summer right around the corner.

  15. Patricia Conte

    April 8th, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Great moves! I’ve never seen the Down Dog Crunch! I’ll try it out. Thanks for sharing these – great reminders ;)

  16. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Oh that one is such a burner! It gets every inch of your body, and tones so much. Hope you like it too!

  17. Danielle Siero

    April 8th, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Mountain climbers are the devil… but these are all such good workouts!!

  18. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Giirrlll, SO TRUE. I used to HATE them, but now they are one of my favorite go-to workout moves.

  19. Corey Wheeland

    April 9th, 2017 at 12:02 am

    I am a big fan of Pilates Hundreds for an ab workout, but I’m going to have to try these moves!

  20. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I’ll have to check that out! And I hope you like these moves too! :)

  21. Jessica Bradshaw

    April 9th, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    These are some great moves!! I love bicycle. It’s my favorite. Your Pinterest photo is SO PRETTY!! I notice such a difference in my back and posture when I regularly do core exercises. :)

  22. Rebecca @ Happily the Hicks

    April 26th, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Aww thanks so much girl! <3 And so do I! I try to incorporate some core exercises in all of my workouts because it's just that good for you.

I'm a sinner saved by grace who loves staying active and eating healthy. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Isaac, and I'm mama to James and an adorable puppy named Lillie.

MORe

I'M BECCA, AND I'M SO GLAD YOU'RE HERE.

healthy living blogger

EULESS TEXAS

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