Give your core muscles the attention they deserve before you pack it in after your workout.
After you crushed a leg workout at the gym or killed it on a hard run, you may be tempted to pack it in. But you can spare an extra five minutes to give your core muscles the love and attention they deserve too, right?
“Your core muscles are the central link to your upper and lower body,” explains Dempsey Marks, a certified fitness trainer, and creator of Peak Physique. Virtually every motion includes some element of your core muscles.
That’s why Marks says the stronger your core muscles, the more powerful you become in every exercise. Not to mention, a strong core also helps prevent injuries and helps enhance balance and stability for every sport, including running.
But what if you don’t have time to devote an entire workout to your abdominal muscles, then what? There’s an easy solution: the abs finisher.
This simple, yet highly effective abdominal workout created by Marks, can be added to the end of a longer strength-training routine, cardio circuit, bike ride, or run. And the best part? You can do it in under five minutes.
How to Do It:
You can perform this workout in two ways, depending on how much time you have to devote to your abs that day.
Abs Finisher: Add to the end of leg day, full-body circuit, or other strength training or cardio workout. You’ll already be warmed-up and ready to crush your core, so all you need to do is grab a mat, and complete the given reps for each exercise, going from one into the other. This should take under five minutes. As you get stronger, you can add up to three sets of each exercise.
Core-Focused Workout: Perform each exercise for one minute, with little rest between each move. This will give you a six-minute intense abdominal routine. For the exercises that work both side, change sides or legs at the 30-second mark.
Alternating Straight Leg Toe Touches
While on your back, lift one leg up to 90-degrees. Allow the other leg to hover a few inches above the ground. From here, reach up and touch your toe three times with both hands, getting your shoulder blades up and off the ground and keeping your neck long. This is one repetition. Complete 15 reps before switching to the other leg for 15 reps. To make the exercise easier, rest your bottom leg on the ground.
Flutter Kicks With Knee Tucks
Lie on your back, with your hands under your hips and legs long. Keeping your lower back pressed into the mat, lift your legs six to eight inches off the ground and begin kicking them up and down. If you’re having trouble keeping your lower back pressed into the ground, just lift your legs up a little bit. Once you kick up and down 20 times, bring your feet together, and then bring your knees in and out to your chest three times. This is one repetition. Go right back into flutter kicks and repeat 8 to 10 times.
Plank With Leg Lifts
Get into a straight arm plank position with your shoulders stacked above your wrists and your body in a straight line, drawing your belly button in. Keeping your gaze straight, engage your core and lift your left leg straight up and lower it down. Repeat 15 times, then switch to the other side and do 15 reps.
Side Plank Hip Dip With Leg Lift
Get into a side plank position on your right side. Make sure your shoulder is stacked above your elbow. Engage your core and slowly dip your hips and tap them on the ground. Return to plank and lift your top leg up, drop it down, and repeat. Do 15 repetitions before switching to the other side for 15 reps. Keep your hips stacked the entire time.
Leg Lifts With Pulses
Lie on your back with legs straight at a 90-degree angle. Keep your lower back pressed into the ground and engage your core. Slowly lower your legs down until their six to eight inches off the ground. Pulse two times, then return to the starting position. This is one repetition. Repeat 15 times.
Straight Leg Sit-Ups
Lie on your back, legs long, with your arms extended overhead. Allowing your arms to lead you, scoop your arms up and through your body as you come into a seated position. Then reverse the movement and lower yourself down as slowly as you can, one vertebra at a time. This is one repetition. Repeat 15 times. Remember to keep the motion slow and controlled, resisting gravity as you lower down.
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