A Quick and Effective Core Workout

A strong core is essential for just about any physical activity imaginable, so start your New Year off right by kicking your core into action — strong and sleek abs are just one of the many positive side effects of this quick and effective circuit. Directions: Warm up with three minutes of light cardio. Perform each three-exercise circuit twice. Cool down with three minutes of stretching.

Circuit One: Cat Cow Series

Cat-Cow-Series

Reps: Five in each position

  • Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders with hips and knees aligned.
  • First, inhale to look up to arch your back for the “cow” portion of the move; then, exhale, pulling the abs to the spine and rounding your back like a scared cat. Repeat for a total of five reps.
  • Next, keeping your spine parallel to the floor, bend sideways to look at your butt, and then switch sides. Repeat for a total of five reps.
  • Finish the series twisting the spine by reaching your right arm toward the ceiling on an inhale. Exhale and rotate through your ribs to reach your arm toward the left. Repeat for a total of five reps, and then switch sides.

This series is great for creating spinal mobility, warming up your back, and waking up your core muscles.

Circuit One: Bird Dog

Bird-Dog

Reps: 10 each side

  • Begin on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  • Bring your abs to your spine to keep your torso stable as you reach your right arm forward and left leg back. Reach through your left heel to engage the muscles on the back of the leg and your butt.
  • Bend your arm and leg to touch your right elbow to your left knee under your torso.
  • This completes one rep. After completing 10, switch sides.

The simple move, also known as quadruped, works your abs and back simultaneously, making it one of the simplest core exercises around.

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