Last Updated on August 10, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
Unless you have been incredibly lucky or have had incredible success early on in your life, we all have to work hard. In our jobs, in our social lives, in our family lives, and in every aspect of life, we have to devote some energy and time towards something.
For most of us, this means that very little time is left to take care of our bodies in a meaningful way. Maybe you try to eat healthily or take a few walks from time to time, but don’t have the time to truly commit to a workout routine.
And even if you do manage to find 15 minutes to workout, there is one part of the body that is normally neglected: the core.
Core exercises can be hard and grueling, with many people unsure of where to start and how to ensure they are doing exercises that will produce results. As such, busy people just see it as unnecessary to devote time to the core.
However, we are here to give some quick and easy core exercises that won’t take long, but will help you gain strength and see results in your core area!
Why Should You Work Out Your Core?
The human body is a system, not just individual parts. If one part of the body is out of balance, then the body begins to rely on other parts of the body, lose its shape, and become unhealthy. This makes it harder to make gains and your overall fitness plateaus quite significantly.
This is especially true with the core, because the core is the center of your body, and it unites both your upper body and your lower body.
From these two areas you can produce a lot of your power, but without a strong core it will prove to be meaningless. This is due to the fact that the core is the stabilizer and the supporting muscles that keep you and your body balanced and assists in many of the exercises you do, even if you don’t realize it.
This is the area that keeps you working and moving easily throughout daily life and activities. If you are jogging, then you need your core to adapt to the changing topography under your feet.
If you are vacuuming, then you need your core to balance your body as you extend and retract the vacuum. Even if you are just getting off the couch, you need your core to stop your muscles from pushing your body up too far and to stabilize your body once you are up.
Your core manages the power your body exerts and so it needs to be strong to make sure you go through life with a good sense of balance and stability.
The Easy Core Workouts
With that said, it is time to look at some core workouts. We know that core exercises can be difficult at first and can be a little dull sometimes, but they are important, and they don’t last long – between 5 and 10 minutes – so it is important you do bring a few of these into your routine:
This will tighten your core, improve your strength, and increase your forearm flexibility.
To do this exercise, start on the floor in the regular push-up position, then gently lower yourself to be resting on your forearms instead of your palms, while maintaining your lower body in the push-up position.
When in this position, tense your core and your glutes (your bum) in much the same way that you are going to take a hit to the stomach, but you know it is coming. Once you have done this, lock the rest of your body in this position and keep it like this.
Hold this pose for as long as you can. If your core is weak, and it already hurts to be in this position, aim for as long as possible, but please try for 20 seconds. If you think you can go longer, do it! Shoot for a minimum of 30 seconds, but your ultimate goal should be 90 seconds or more to see the best results.
After holding your position for as long as you can, feel free to gently fall to the floor and take a 30 second break. After your break, shoot for another set, holding as long as you can, before coming back down to the resting position. You should target 3 sets and then move on to your daily routine or other exercises.
Remember, though, the goal is 90 seconds or more, and you should work your way up to this rather than attempting to do it on the first try and getting frustrated. Regardless of your time, be sure you document your progress to ensure you are pushing yourself a little harder each time.
The side plank starts much the same way as the forearm plank. Get into the regular push-up position and go into a forearm plank position as stated earlier.
Once you are in this pose, turn your left or right – depending on which side you want to start with – to be perpendicular to your body or to be horizontally in line with your shoulders.
Then, roll onto the foot of whichever arm you used, so that side’s hip faces the ceiling with the other foot on top of the first. Your body should be balanced on your forearm and your foot’s side, with your other arm resting on your hip.
In this position, use your core and glutes like before and maintain this position. As before, decide how much time you want to spend in this position, the beginner level being 30 seconds and aiming for 90 or more seconds.
After this, rest for 30 seconds and then switch sides. So, if you rested on your left forearm and left foot, switch to resting on the right forearm and right foot. Do this an even number of times, so 2 sets, 4 sets, like that, but shoot for 6 total sets which would be 3 sets each side.
The bird dog looks a little strange, but it is a good and fairly simple core exercise for you to incorporate into your core routine. First, get down on your hands and knees, with your hands lining up directly underneath your shoulders and your knees lining up directly underneath your hips.
Your back has to be flat in this position and make sure you give your legs enough room to go straight back. Brace your core, and once braced, lift one of your legs – left or right – and also lift the opposing arm. So, if you have lifted your left leg, you should lift your right arm.
Push your leg back behind you and fully extend it as you are also extending the arm and hand that you have lifted. Again, if your left leg and right arm are lifted, you should extend these fully which will resemble a dog that is on point.
Then, wait for 15-20 seconds while you really try to extend your leg and arm as far as possible, then bring them both down. Once down, repeat with the other limbs – if you used a left leg and right arm, now use a right leg and left arm.
After this, you can repeat as much as your body can take, but it must be an equal set of reps. We would aim for about 20 repetitions as a beginner, but remember to not overexert yourself.
This is probably one of the easiest core exercises and one that takes the least effort to achieve. Start by lying down on your belly with your arms and legs extended, but with both hands and feet together. Keep your neck in line with your spine the entire time you do this exercise.
Then, lift your arms, legs, and chest off the floor, with your abdomen remaining on the ground. Keep this position as long as you can, but aim for 30 seconds the first few times and then aim for 90 seconds once you are comfortable with the movement.
After this, lower yourself back to the floor and rest for 30 seconds. For beginners, one set might be all you can handle. However, as you progress through your Qwik Fitness routine, you will see you can do more sets and you should work your way up to 3 sets, with each set being 90 seconds or more each.
Core exercises are some of the most useful but most neglected sets of exercises. What many don’t realize is they will improve many aspects of your daily life and also improve your performance in other exercises. And what is really nice about core, is that a consistent approach with a duration in the 5-10 minute range is all you need to see great results!