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The core is your body’s central area, consisting of the abs, hips, chest, and back extensors. These parts are vital in maintaining your balance, therefore preventing you from possible falls. There’s a general impression that core exercises are done to tone abs.
But they actually offer a lot more benefits than just creating those packs. If you’re having problems with your posture or experiencing frequent back pains, then a set of core workouts is just what you need. Men and women build core muscles differently.
That being said, the routines also tend to vary. This article focuses on the best core exercises that are perfect for women, including the specific reasons why and the steps on how you should perform them.
Core exercises for women not just ensure a strong body but also a healthier, more active lifestyle. These exercises basically target your core muscles, i.e., the abdominal muscles and are so-called because they provide you with the core strength to carry out regular, daily life activities.
The abdomen and spine support every movement of the body. So if you want to be flexible, you need to have a solid core. The strength and agility a stronger core offers are incredible. If you wish to work on yours, core exercises are your best shot.
Benefits of core exercises for women
- Your torso becomes stronger and your movements are more flexible
- Reduced risk of injury and strains
- Strong core muscles have particular benefit for those who are involved in sports
- Prevents the development of joint diseases
Core exercises for women that can be performed at home:
Regardless of what you hear, crunches are always the best exercise and recommended by all health and fitness professionals. These help in tightening the abdominal muscles and consequently serve to add strength to your core.
The drawing in exercise also helps to strengthen the abdominal and spinal muscles. Similarly, the plank exercise offers an added advantage of getting rid of those love handles along with adding strength to your back.
The exercises described below are your basic workout for strengthening the core muscles in women. These are simple enough, require no elaborate equipment, and, therefore, can easily be performed at home during your free time.
Lie down flat on your back; with your knees bent, feet placed flat on the floor, hands placed at the back of your head and look up. Suck in your abdominal muscles and exhale, slowly raising your chest at the same time.
Now inhale and lower your back to the floor simultaneously. Don’t use your hands to support your movements during this exercise. You need to use only the strength of your abdominal muscles.
Vertical Leg Crunches
Lie down on your back, with your legs straight and raised upwards in the air. (Your hips should be at a right angle to your abdomen). Keeping your legs raised, cross them over each other.
Just as you did in the basic crunches, lift your chest upwards. Similarly, lower your body while inhaling but don’t touch your head to the floor this time.
Lie down on your back the same way as you would while doing your basic crunches. Lift your chest the same way as in a basic crunch but now twist your body so as to allow the right elbow to point to the left knee.
Don’t change the angle of your elbow; invest your energy in twisting your torso. Lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat the movement for the other elbow and leg.
Traditional crunches can cause fatigue, as they can stress your neck and spine. Enthusiasts have found a variation called reverse crunches that eradicates such fatigue.
Reverse crunches provide almost the same effects as the traditional, but in a less taxing manner. They can strengthen your core muscles and reach deep into the abdomen, just like the original.
You have to lie down on a mat and relax on your back. Raise your legs in such a way that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Your knees should bend at a right angle.
Bring your knees towards your chest while raising your waist. You may also move your upper body slightly towards your knees. Slowly lower your legs to return to its beginning position and repeat the process to your preferred reps.
Pushups may appear to be difficult, especially for beginners. But they help in the fast building of muscles. Aside from improving upper body strength, they are also beneficial in reinforcing the lower back.
They require effort from your shoulders, triceps, chest, and abdomen, which is probably why a single pushup is strenuous to pull off if you’re still not used to it. However, there are many variations of the usual pushup that makes the workout less exhausting.
The typical pushup involves carrying your body through your palms and toes as it ascends and descends from the floor. One of the simpler versions of this workout is called knee pushup.
It follows the process of the typical one, except that it uses the knees as support instead of the toes. The reduced weight makes it easier for you to uphold the exercise while maintaining the benefits.
Lie down on your back on the floor and bend your knees very close to the hips. Your feet must be placed firmly on the floor. Suck in your tummy as much as you can, such that you feel your belly button is being pulled towards the spine. For at least ten seconds, hold your position. Then slowly return to normal. Perform this exercise ten times daily.
Lie on your abdomen, flat on the floor. Place your forearms beside your head. Ball your hands into fists. Keep all leg joints straight. The legs should rest on the toes. Raise your body off the ground using your toes, fists, and forearms only.
Ensure that your body is in a straight line at all times. Don’t bend your knees or your hips. Contract the muscles in your abdomen; this will provide the strength to raise your body. Hold your position for half a minute to one minute. Repeat the exercise five times a day.
Side plank is an alteration of a plank that is commonly performed as a yoga exercise. It has the same fitness effects as the regular plank, but the difference lies in the emphasized muscles.
Regular planks focus primarily on the transverse abdominis muscle that stabilizes the core. On the other hand, Side planks target the quadratus Lumborum, the backside of the abdominal wall.
The first step is to lay on your chosen side with your legs extended straight. Next, slowly lift your hips off the floor with your one forearm as support, as if making a triangular space between your body and the floor.
You can rest your other arm on your side hips, or you can stretch it upwards for more challenge. Hold the position for as long as you can. Do the same on the other side.
This is one of the excellent core exercises for women that improves your hips and calves. Bridges can also help in realigning your injured back muscles. They isolate the gluteus or butt muscles and the hamstrings.
First, you need to lie down on your back and bend your knees. Lift your hips from the floor, making a straight diagonal trajectory from shoulders to knees. Pause for a few seconds or for as long as you need, and then slowly descend your hips back to the floor.
The squat is an effective and convenient way to gain total body strength. You don’t need a mat nor a dumbbell, and you can do it just about anywhere!
It promotes lower body fitness and steadies your core muscles, such as the rectus and transverse abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae. It may look like a simple workout, but it’s not as easy as it seems.
You begin this exercise by standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms down on your sides. Bend your knees to bring down your body as low as you can while pushing your hips back.
As you do so, place your arms forward to maintain balance. Through the movement, your spine should remain unstrained while your chest is lifted. Push your body up through your heels to return to your starting position.
This move practices your mind and body coordination while stabilizing your core. You don’t usually get burning sensations from doing this exercise, but it does not mean that it is ineffective. In fact, it relieves lower back pain as it strengthens the spine and back muscles.
The dead bug is started by lying down on your mat with your face up. Extend your arms towards the ceiling and bend your knees at a right angle. Stretch out your right leg to a tolerable extent while putting your left arm down and over your head.
Bring them back to their initial positions. Repeat the motion but this time, use your left leg and right arm. Continue the process by alternately moving the coordinating pair. Keep your lower back pressed on the floor the whole time.
The Russian twist is a way to eliminate love handles, tone your waistline, and ultimately develop core strength. The twisting motion burns calories and engages the abdominal muscles, including the internal and external obliques.
To do a Russian twist, sit in a position where your knees are bent and your heels touching the floor. Lean back and clench your fists in front of your chest. Twist your upper body from left to right.
Make sure your abdomen is engaged and that you don’t crouch while doing this. Rather than just having your hands clenched, you may also hold a dumbbell or any kind of weight to burn more calories.
This simple exertion is often used by fitness trainers and physical therapists to frame the lower back and enhance stability. Thus, it helps in soothing back pain and correcting posture.
First, you have to be in a table-top position. Your elbows and knees should be directly below your shoulders and hips, respectively. Maintain a straight back with your neck aligned to it.
Raise your right leg and stretch it out while simultaneously extending your left arm forward. Remain in that position for about five seconds before going back to the table-top form. Execute the same movement using your left leg and right arm this time.
The inchworm is usually a part of the High-Intensity Interval Training exercises. It promotes core strength and flexibility of the body. Since it involves many muscle groups, it is a noteworthy addition to short workout routines.
To begin inchworm, you need to stand with your feet apart and bend your body slowly until you get to touch the floor with both hands. Then, walk your hands in inches forward while keeping your legs straight until you arrive at a plank position.
Pause for a while before retracting back by walking both your feet and hands for them to meet. Go back to your standing pose in a steady manner.
Superman is a kind of workout that provides superb benefits to your core strength. It develops the lower back and the glutes, which are its target muscles. It is a known alternative to several core exercises for women that focus on the lower and upper back and the abs.
Firstly, lie on a mat with your face down. Your legs should be stretched out while your arms are extended in front. Raise both your arms and legs at about 10-15 cm above the floor or as high as you can tolerate. Stay put for a few seconds, as if you really are the Superman flying through the city. Then, at ease.
Flutter kicks are like the swimming strokes of your feet done in a dry land. This routine is advantageous for your core muscles, especially the lower rectus abdominis and the hip flexors.
The burning sensation you feel in your abdomen while doing this is a sign that it is effectively shedding the extra fat off your belly and thighs.
You have to keep your legs stretched and placed together as you lay down your mat while facing the ceiling. Place your arms on each side and lift your feet up, preferably at an angle perpendicular to the ground.
Kick your legs up and down, alternately from each other, for ten counts or more. Lower them to relax for a few seconds and repeat the motion.
You should regularly change your exercise regime. It is always good to do so. A new regime after every few weeks or so will keep you interested as well as regular, i.e., you will sustain your exercise habits.
While exercising, make sure that your breathing is regular. This helps to avoid muscle fatigue and keeps the heart rate normal too.
The Core Value
The exercises described above may have different impacts on the body, depending on your age and strength. So before you begin any exercise regimen, it is always best to consult your doctor.
If he thinks that your bones and muscles can handle it, given your current physical condition and eating habits, then you are good to go!
Staying fit is more than just a choice. It’s a responsibility. Your body needs someone that will take care of it, and no one is better at accomplishing that than yourself. Have a well-constructed routine by applying the mentioned exercises so you’ll stay fit to the core!