When it comes to core strength, PROPER nutritional intake is necessary. Achieving a tight core seems to come naturally to some, while some have to work really hard for it and still get very little or no noticeable results. We have to take note that most of us fall somewhere in between this category. In order to build a strong and lean core which is beneficial for your personal health and is pleasing to the eyes it requires discipline.
Having aesthetically pleasing abs doesn’t always indicate one’s core strength, keeping in mind that someone who has belly fat can have a very strong core. Having excess weight around the waist can lead to a long-term health issues such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, it is very important to pay close attention to this factor.
The first point to improving strength of your core is to have the correct nutritional intake. To reach your goal for good health and improved strength the first step is to follow a good diet with whole foods, this is the core to building a solid healthy foundation.
Daily exercise is not necessary to achieve results, moderate intensity exercise between 2-5 days a week for 30 minutes to 1 hour will suffice. Contrary to the public knowledge a diet does not have to be extreme and neither does the exercise regime in order to obtain your ideal healthy waistline.
The following are dietary tips and exercises that have been proven effective for myself and my clients over the years.
5 NUTRITION TIPS:
There is an online tool on my ProTrainerLive.com website that you can use to help calculate this at: protrainerlive.com/f9-questionnaire
For the strong defined core, you need to work those core muscles, with the addition to doing regular activity and keeping an ideal caloric intake will take you to your new ‘right and tight’ core.
Train hard with consistency and intensity. Always remember to work with your body based on your personal limitations as well as any current and past injuries. It is always best to have your current fitness level assessed by consulting a qualified fitness professional (or your doctor) before starting any exercise regime as they are better suited to assist you to understand what is appropriate for you.
The following are exercises for a great foundation of a solid core.
The exercises are to be followed in succession, to strengthen your core. The routine is to be repeated between 2-3 times weekly, make sure to have a day of rest in between abdominal workouts.
Single Leg Sit-Ups.
Lay flat on your back with your arms comfortably crossed over your chest. Lift your knee up at a 90 degree off the floor while keeping the other leg straight on the ground.
Bear down on your lower back and tighten your abs – slowly lift your head, shoulders, and chest forward towards the bent knee till your rectus abdominus tightens, then slowly relax back to your starting position. This should be repeated for 10-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets. Repeat steps for the other leg. (one complete cycle of both legs equals one set)
Lie on your back, place hands under your hips/upper buttocks area while keeping legs straight on the floor.
Keep your knees and quadriceps in a straight position. Lift both legs off the floor until you form a 90degree angle with your torso and legs, make sure to keep your toes pointed towards your face. Slowly lower your legs back to the floor while keeping your lower back flat on the floor, make sure your feet does not touch the floor. Repeat the leg raise 20-30 times and repeat for 2-3 sets.
Side Plank Dips
To prop you up so your torso is off the ground — lie on your side while using your forearm, keeping it at a 90-degree angle. Keep legs straight while holding your hip with the other arm.
Squeeze your oblique muscles closest to the floor and lift your hips, then move upwards in a controlled motion. Hold this position with hips off the floor for 1-2 seconds, then return to original position. Repeat 10-20 times, then repeat entire exercise on your other side. Do 2-3 sets.
Alternating Back Extension
Lay on your stomach stretch your arms straight out on the floor, keep your legs straight and tight together.
Slowly look upward and lift your right arm off the floor at the same time then lift the opposite leg of your lifted arm. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds, while tightening your back and glutes muscles. Alternate with the other side. Continue with alternating arms and legs for 20-30 reps (one rep means you have lifted both the right and left arms).
While sitting on your bottoms, make a ‘V’ shape with your body by bending your knees and bringing your torso slightly back. While holding a medicine ball (2-5 lbs.) or other type of weight shift the weight from one side of your hips to the other while looking up. This can also be done with or without additional weight.
Slowly shift the medicine ball weight from your right side to the left side while holding the ‘V’ position. Repeat, alternating sides, until you have completed 10-20 reps — one rep is complete when you have moved the weight to each of your hips. Do 2-3 sets.