Could you imagine being incapable of tying your shoes because it’s too painful? Unfortunately, lacking core strength can make routine activities painful and eventually impossible after years of neglect. Luckily, a few minutes a day can improve core strength, and if you want to invest more time in cardio, it can also lead to sculpted abs.
Your core is the link between the upper and lower body, as described by Harvard Healthbeat. When the middle link is weak, so are the conjoining links. This link is evident in movements such as golf, baseball, softball and tennis swings. Even more, a strong core promotes balance and good posture.
The simplest ways to strengthen your core are bridging and planking. It’s assumed crunches and sit-ups are the status quo, but the truth is that you need to engage your abdominals and your back to get the most out of core training. Once you master basic bridging and planking, you can add movement and resistance to make the exercises more difficult.
If you’re looking to sculpt in addition to building core strength, you’ll need to intensify your workout. You can do this with or without equipment. For the more minimal route, Fitness Magazine has compiled 10 staff-approved workouts including the abdominal hold and side crunch. You can also buy accessories such as an ab wheel to incorporate your upper body.
If you want to invest in equipment, Ab Machines Guide’s article covers five types of equipment including benches, stability balls and bars. Equipment adds intensity by using gravity as a resistance along with your own body weight.
To showcase your abs and back, you may need to get rid of the excess fat that’s hiding your new muscle, and this can only be done through intense cardio. High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is considered the best way to burn fat. While there are ab-specific cardio workouts such as Fitness Blender’s intervals, simple, intense cardio, like mountain climbers and high knees, will also reveal your core muscles (but don’t forget about a healthy diet).