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The Core Exercises Real Personal Trainers Think You Should Try

It’s totally normal to want to shake up your typical workout routines every once in a while. While you probably can’t make it to the gym for some pro-tips from a personal trainer or to snag a new set of reps to implement during the pandemic, that doesn’t mean you can’t still benefit from their workout expertise at home. 

Chatting with a few top trainers with expertise ranging from barre to yoga, we got them to share their holy grail exercises for the holy trinity of targeted workouts: legs, core and arms. Today, we’re all about your core — so get ready to give your abs some serious love.

Read on to look for some fun and effective ways you can strengthen your core and introduce them to your routine.

Katelyn DiGiorgio’s Pure Barre core workout

Pure Barre’s VP Training & Technique, Katelyn DiGiorgio, shares her favorite ballet-inspired workouts your core that will lengthen and tone your body like a dancer.

Teasers

“Teasers require a ton of core muscle control, stability and coordination,” says DiGiorgio. “The major movers of the core – the transverse abdominis, the rectus abdominis and the obliques – as well as the anterior leg muscles and hip flexors work together with precision and mind-muscle control to properly execute the teaser movement.”

  • Lie back and extend the arms and legs out long. Legs are straight, point your toes.
  • Slowly activate the core to roll the arms and legs up into a “V” shape. Then, slowly roll back down, one vertebrae at a time.
  • Repeat for 2 sets of 10x. On the second set, hold the last one at the top and balance by contracting the core for 10 seconds.

Knee to elbow crunches

  • Take a seat and then roll back, curl chin to chest. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows wide.
  • Extend your legs on the diagonal, with your toes pointed.
  • Pull the knees into the chest as you crunch upwards and close the elbows, then extend the legs as the elbows open wide again.
  • Perform 2 sets of 15-20 reps.

Bicycle Crunches

  • Take a seat and then roll back, curl chin to chest. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows wide.
  • Bend your right leg to a 90-degree angle (knee stacked over the hip, shin parallel to the floor), and extend your left leg out straight to hover over the floor. Bicycle switch the legs. Perform 2 sets of 15-20 reps.
  • For a third set of 15-20 reps, keep the legs going and add an upper body rotation towards the leg in a 90-degree angle.

“Crunch-like movements primarily activate the rectus abdominis muscles (the 6-pack abs) and the bicycle rotation also helps strengthen the internal and external obliques,” DiGiorgio adds.

Mindbody Fitness Specialist and NASM CPT Keegan Draper’s core workout

“It is super important to recognize that the core is not just your abs and obliques,” says Draper. “The core actually goes into your lower back, glutes and depending on who you are speaking to, your hamstrings as well. For abs, I love planks and hollow body holds – those will really work the deep muscles of the body and can be modified into hundreds of variations to add complexity for different parts of the abs and obliques.”

Plank

  • With your elbows directly underneath your shoulders with your feet hip-width apart and core tight.
  • Ensure your back is flat, and aligned with your hips with your head and neck in a neutral position.
  • Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three times. 

HelloYoga’s Samora Suber’s core workout

“Navasana (boat pose) is perfect for strengthening and toning your core, back, hip flexors, and legs. When starting out, you can bend both knees and focus on your core strength. As you progress, you can straighten both legs and hold for 20-second intervals.”

  • Begin in a seated position with your knees bent, shoulders back, and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keeping your back straight and engaging your core, lift your feet off the floor.
  • Keep your knees bent at first and bring your shins parallel to the floor. This is half boat pose.
  • You can straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle if you can do so by maintaining your balance.
  • Make sure to lift through the heart to keep the chest open and sit tall.
  • Elongate through the crown of your head. Roll your shoulders back and straighten your arms roughly parallel to the floor with your palms turned up.
  • Place your hands behind your knees and lift through the heart to open the chest and sit tall. Elongate through the crown of your head and hold the position.

 Before you go, check out our favorite post-workout recovery essentials:

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