Improving your core fitness with some targeted exercises can be a great way to improve your performance when out and about cycling, running or hillwalking.
The core refers to the muscles in your abdominals, hips and lower back and all the other muscles in your body rely on this area for creating a stable base from which to work from. Anyone partaking in any kind of physical activity can benefit from having a strong core, especially those spending a lot of time in the great outdoors.
This is a classic core exercise that can be performed anywhere with there is a bit of empty floor space available. This exercise works more than just the core so it can be a tough one to master but it can improve the strength of numerous muscles so it is worth getting to grips with.
- Lie on the floor face down.
- Push yourself with your arms and rest your forearms flat on the floor with your elbows directly under your shoulders.
- Keep your back straight from heels to shoulders and prop yourself up on your toes.
- Hold the position for as long as possible until you can reach one minute.
Once you can easily do one minute try lifting a foot off the floor for extra effort.
This exercise is great for stretching your body and working your abs at the same time.
- Lie flat on your back.
- Raise your legs up in the air while also sitting up to form a V-shape.
- Keep your legs straight as you raise them.
- Aim to touch your toes and then hold the position.
Once you can get into a tight v-position, try and hold it for at least a minute. Try and complete a few repetitions of this exercise for maximum effect.
One Legged Lowering
This exercise works your leg muscles as well as hitting all the main core areas so it’s a great value movement that can be performed at home.
- Lie flat on your back with your arms by your side and your palms face down.
- Bend at the waist and lift your legs up straight into the air, keeping your back on the floor.
- Lower one leg until it is just a few inches above the floor.
- Hold the position and then return to the vertical leg stance.
- Swap legs and keep going for up to 10 reps with each leg.
Make sure you lead from the heel of your foot and keep your ankle joint bent at 90 degrees rather than pointing your toes out.
Knee Fold Tuck
This exercise is similar to the familiar abdominal crunch movement but adds in a few variations to make it more interesting and effective.
- Sit on the floor with a straight back and your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Lift your knees up keeping them bent, until your lower legs are almost parallel with the floor.
- Raise your arms out in front of you.
- Bring your knees in towards your body while keeping your back straight and your upper body still.
- Lower your knees back to the starting position.
Try completing this exercise for three sets of 10 repetitions each. Once that becomes too easy, try holding something heavy between your feet for extra resistance. This could be something like a book, a bottle of water or anything else suitable you have to hand.
Hopefully these simple home exercises should be enough to get you started without any specialist equipment and help you strengthen your core muscles. Any activities that rely on flexibility and good fitness performance can be improved by strengthening your mid-section and core muscles.