Core strength plays a major role in the prevention of muscle imbalances, upper and lower back pain and injury.
The core consists of the abdominals and the back muscles, thus the center of the body, which protects the spine, assists in bowel movements, allows you to get out of bed, stand straight, bend down to pick things up and a host of other movements that we are not aware of during the day.
If your core muscles are weak, you would not be able to stand up straight, do a push-up, or squat properly.
I have put together a list of my best core exercises that you can do anywhere, anytime, without the use of gym equipment. These exercises are purely functional, and very valuable to a healthy core and a defined six pack that is sure to please even the most skeptical.
Best core strength exercises
Military Push-ups: My favorite core strength exercise for maximum endurance and a defined six-pack.
Get into a plank position with your hands wider than shoulder width apart and feet together on your toes. Make sure your shoulders are positioned directly over your hands. Lower your body to the ground until both arms are at a 90 degree angle. Do not allow your elbows to move past your shoulder joint (mid position). Push yourself back up to starting position, and repeat for desired repetitions. Goal: Work your way up to 100 push-ups or more per day.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Variations for a more defined six-pack:
Put one leg out to the side, keeping it straight. Do 10 repetitions, then repeat with other leg out. This is excellent for core strength and defined six-pack muscles due to the weight shift.
Put a band around ankles and hop both feet outwards: Lower into the push-up position (midpoint), then hop both feet back together at starting position. Great endurance exercise for the core to develop a more defined six-pack. Also works the Glutes!
Inchworm with push-ups: Start standing up, then bend forward keeping hips up in the air, place hands on the ground, then walk your hands forward to a plank position, then perform a push-up, then inch feet forward until you reached your maximum point with hips in the air. Repeat for desired repetitions. Great upper body and core endurance exercise to define your six-pack.
Lateral moving push-ups: Perform a push-up with both feet wide apart, then move hand and foot together at the same time, then move opposite hand and foot out to the direction you are moving in, then perform another push-up. Do 10 repetitions in one direction, then do 10 more in the opposite direction. Great core endurance due to balancing during lateral movement.
Push-up with knee to opposite elbow: Perform a military push-up, then when back at starting point, bring your right knee to your left elbow; Perform another push-up, then when back at starting point, bring your left knee to your right elbow. Repeat for 20 repetitions.
Elevated push-ups: Perform a military push-up with feet up on a higher surface, such as the couch. This pushes the upper body and core endurance up a few notches to add more fuel to your six-pack.
Plyometric push-ups: When lowering body to the ground, explode back to starting position, having hands leave the ground by at least by 1 inch. Land back into the mid position, then repeat for 10 repetitions. Excellent upper body and six-pack endurance exercise that will define your six-pack fast.
Squats: My second favorite core endurance exercise for a more defined six-pack.
Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, feet slightly externally rotated. Lower your hips back as if you’re sitting down, making sure to keep the chest forward. Make sure your knee’s don’t go over your toes! Return to starting position and repeat for 25 repetitions, working your way up to 100 repetitions.
Core endurance training for a defined six pack can be done anywhere, anytime without having to go to the gym, but diet is 70% of the battle. If you do have a gym membership, try performing unilateral exercises, as this is a great multi-tasking way to exercise the core and define your six pack. Rule of thumb to always remember: 70% of six packs are made in your kitchen, the other 30% of six packs are defined in the gym.
Cut the sugar to a minimum in your diet. If the food label has more than 5g sugar, put it back. No fruit, fruit juice or starches after 1pm, as these are high in sugar.
Everyone has a six pack, but many six packs are just hiding under the extra fat. Cut the sugar, follow my eating rules and do my push-up variations and you’ll come closer to a visibly defined six pack.