While some core exercises lack efficiency, you still have to bulk up your core muscles if you want to pretty much do anything in your life. Your abs, back brace muscles and your paraspinals always have to be up to par because you use them in literally everything you do. Your core should look good in a swimsuit, but it’ll be even better if you’re in shape, where you’re far less prone to injury. So, in order to not get hurt for nothing, here are three exercises that will keep your core section strong!
1. Side Planks
Side planks activate your back brace muscles and if you do them right, you’ll feel them on the side of your body that is facing the ground, a little bit above the hip. Your body has to be completely straight, with your knees, hips and shoulders all in one line. If you can’t handle the intensity, switch to the easier version on your knees, but your elbow will still need to be positioned directly under your shoulder in order to avoid getting hurt. Do 6 reps per side, with 10 seconds per rep.
2. Quadruped Opposites
Quadruped opposites will activate your paraspinal muscles, the ones that run along your spine, but they will also contract your abdomen. You will need to keep your balance so your muscles will work harder. Take your time, go as slow as you need and raise your left arm and right leg, or vice-versa. Your spine needs to be straight and your stomach pulled in.
There is a tendon that goes from the outside of your hip down to your knee, it’s called the IT-band (Iliotibial band), and it’s possible to have problems with it if you don’t keep your form proper. IT-Band syndrome occurs when this tendon gets really tight or overworked, which will cause extra friction at your hip and/or knee joint and along the lateral part of your leg. Do 20 reps of each side with one second of holding per rep and you’ll be set.
When you’re doing crunches to spruce up your abs, you have to protect your neck. If you place your hands on the back of your neck, you are far less likely to bend it, but make sure not to hold your head. One of your legs needs to be straight and one bent to help you keep a neutral spine when doing the exercise.
Also, when you’re doing these crunches, make sure to keep as much tension as possible on your abdominal muscles. You can do this by keeping your shoulders above the ground at all times. You should be pulling your rib cage to your hips and lifting all of that with your abs, so that your head has to go up together with your shoulders and neck, which will help you avoid neck-ups. Do three sets of these crunches until your muscles are screaming at you and you’re ready to get your awesome new gains.