How many times have you thought that your core was the same as your abs? It is not just you. Many people consider them to be the same thing.
Well, they are not the same. While your abs are your upper abdominal and lower abdominal region, your core is much more than that. Your midsection including the front, back and side region, together form your core. It also includes your oblique, TVA, lower back, lower lats and the upper part of your hips. Hence, core strength means working on all these areas and strengthen them to help you out with the following:
a) Core strength has an effect on your balance as it allows all the regions mentioned above to work together. This, in turn, is very important for the productivity of your day-to-day activities.
b) Core exercises are majorly compound exercises. That is, they enable you to work on multiple regions at once. Want to tone up your abs and your hips but have the time to do just one exercise? Core exercises will definitely solve the problem.
c) Have you had a terrible experience with weights? Well, that might be due to a weak core. A strong core reduces the risk of back injuries and hence allows you to lift weights without any hassle. Please note, we are not saying that a strong core will prevent injuries. We are saying that it will reduce the chances of it. You need to be cautious at all times.
d) Have you been slouching lately? Maybe, you have a weak core. A strong core can help you improve your posture and breathing.
Lets get into some effective core exercises with weights that will help you build a strong and lean midsection.
One Legged Dumbbell Rows
Step 1: Stand straight on the floor with your feet hip-width apart.
Step 2: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lift your right leg off the floor such that you are balancing your body on your left leg. Bend your left knee a little.
Step 3: Keep your back neutral and bend forward until your torso is parallel to with the floor.
Step 4: Bend your elbows and pull the weights up to your chest.
Step 5: Lower it back down and repeat.
Do 2 sets of 20 reps each on both sides.
Step 1: Stand on the floor with your feet a little more than hip width apart.
Step 2: Hold a dumbbell in both hands and bend forward such that the weight is hanging between your legs. Keep your back straight. Bend your knees a little.
Step 3: Push your hips forward and swing your arms up to bring the dumbbell a little over your shoulder level. Straighten your legs as you do this.
Step 4: Lower it back down to bring it between your legs and take it as far as you can. Repeat.
Do this exercise for 2 minutes.
Step 1: Sit on the floor and bend your knees to keep your feet flat on the floor. Keep your back straight and hold a dumbbell with both hands.
Step 2: Lift both your legs off the ground and bend your upper body backwards. You will basically be sitting on your hips.
Step 3: Twist your torso to the right and bring the dumbbell to your right side.
Step 4: Get back to the initial position and repeat for the other side. This makes 1 rep.
Do this exercise for 2 minutes.
Step 1: Get in the push up position with your arms extended under your shoulder, your palms and toes on the floor and your body forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
Step 2: Bend your elbows and do a push up.
Step 3: Once you get back up, twist your torso to the right and extend your right arm towards the ceiling. Watch the weight as you do it.
Step 4: Lower the arm back down. Do another push-up and repeat for the other side. This makes 1 rep.
Do 2 sets of 15 reps each.
Step 1: Lie down flat on the floor and hold a dumbbell with both hands. Extend your arms over your chest. Keep your legs straight.
Step 2: Slowly, lift your head and upper body off the floor to do a sit up. Keep the dumbbell over your head and arms straight as you do it.
Step 3: Lower back down and repeat.
Do 2 sets of 20 reps each.
Standing Side Bend
Step 1: Stand straight with your feet a little more than hip width apart. Hold a dumbbell in both hands and extend it over your head. Keep your upper arms near your ears.
Step 2: Bend to your left and go until you feel a stretch. Do not bring your upper body forward and always look ahead, not down.
Step 3: Get back up to the initial position and repeat for the other side. This makes 1 rep.