Core strength is the key to great fitness and posture. A strong core can prevent back pain and it helps you stand straighter, move easier, and look taller.
So, what is the secret to core strengthening? Mixing your routine up. Using a variety of moves that target different abdominal muscle groups ensures your body never gets used to it. Keeping your body guessing is what prevents plateaus and gives you the results you’re going for.
The following 5 easy tummy-toning moves will also engage your back — an often-forgotten muscle group. Your oblique muscles wrap from the front to the back of your body, so you need to engage the muscle all the way around — including your lower back — to work that area and strengthen your core.
Now, let’s get to it.
1. Standing Oblique Crunch
Start in plié position with a wide stance, your toes turned slightly out, and your back straight. Bend your knees slightly and bring your hands behind your ears, keeping your elbows wide.
Stretch up and over to the right side, crunching your torso and bringing your right knee and right elbow toward each other. Return to center. Complete 20 reps, and then repeat on the left side.
2. Plank Step-Outs
Begin in plank position on your forearms and toes, with your head in line with your back and your abdominals engaged.
Holding the plank, step your right foot out to the right and return back to your starting point. Repeat with your left foot. Do 20 reps.
3. Reverse Crunch
Start by lying on your back with your arms at your sides. Raise your knees and feet off the ground so they form a 90-degree angle, a.k.a. tabletop position. Keep your feet close together.
Pull your knees in toward your chest as you roll your hips up, pulling your navel into your spine.
Keeping your knees bent, slowly lower your legs again until your heels nearly touch the floor.
Repeat 10-20 times, depending on your strength.
4. Wood-Chop With Medicine Ball
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your back straight, holding a 5-10-pound medicine ball at your chest.
As though you’re swinging an axe to chop wood, contract and twist your abs to the right and raise the ball up to your right shoulder. Then, quickly twist the other way and bend your knees to “chop” the ball across your body toward your left knee, straightening your arms as you do. You’ll finish the movement in a squat position, with your knees bent and the medicine ball by the outside of your left knee. Twist and bring the medicine ball back up to your right shoulder to repeat in a fluid motion.
Repeat 10 times before doing the move on the other side.
5. Swim Away
Start by lying on your stomach. Lift your arms and legs off the floor slightly and squeeze your butt. Don’t crane your neck; keep your gaze toward the ground.
Then, keeping your arms and legs straight, lift the opposite arm and leg, as if you were swimming. “Swim away” for 50 reps.
6. Flat Tummy Tips
For faster results, keep in mind a few of the following 30 flat belly tips – just following a couple and being consistent with it everyday will enhance your progress.