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The perfect core muscle workout

iStock_000015031144XSmallIt’s likely that we’ll all feel a little more rounded in the mid-section over Christmas, but there are some great exercises you can do for your core muscles to make sure they don’t completely relax during the festive season.

A core workout is essential as part of your overall exercise regime to target each of the main muscle groups in the body.

The three types of workout are:

  • Cardio training
  • Weight training
  • Core training

If you regularly do each of these alongside a healthy diet, you’ll start seeing results.

So what is an ideal core session?

Well, you want to make sure that you complete exercises to target each of your core muscles:

  • Upper and Lower Rectus Abdominis
  • Transverse Abdominis
  • Obliques
  • Lower back

As you’re probably aware there are numerous exercises you can do that will hit each of these areas, but there is one exercise alone (with variations on it) that will help you achieve your goal a lot quicker.

The Plank.

Yes, it’s the good old fashioned plank. No exercise equipment required, just your own body weight.

Here are 6 fantastic plank positions that will get your core muscles tightened and toned in no time.

1. Standard plank

PlankGet yourself into position with your weight rested on your forearms and toes. Keep your mid-section low so you fully engage your abdominal and glut muscles.

Hold for 30 seconds. Then as you get stronger increase the time by 30 seconds, and so on.

plank with leg raise2. Plank with leg raise

Get into position as you would with the basic plank, then raise your right leg as high as possible without losing posture, hold for a second, then return to the floor.

Repeat this 15 times on your right leg, then switch to your left leg.

Side plank3. Side Plank

Move on to your side so you’re resting on one forearm with the other raised vertical above you. Stack your feet one on top of the other. Engage your abs and gluts. Ensure your bottom is tucked under so your body is forming a straight line.

Hold for 30 seconds on each side. Then as you get stronger increase the time by 30 seconds, and so on.

Side plank with leg raise4. Side plank with leg raise

Get into position as you would with the standard side plank but with your holding arm extended. Flex your foot and raise it in the air as high as is comfortable. Hold for a second and then return to the floor.

Repeat this 15 times on one side before switching to the other side for another 15 reps.

Straight arm plank5. Straight arm plank

Similar to the standard plank but this time straighten your arms. Engage your abdominals and gluts and keep a straight line from head to foot. Try not to lift your bottom too high, if possible concentrate on tucking it under to keep a straighter line.

Hold for 30 seconds. Then as you get stronger increase the time by 30 seconds, and so on.

Straight arm plank with shoulder touch6. Straight arm plan with shoulder touch

Stay in the same position as the standard straight arm plank but this time raise one hand up at a time to touch the opposite shoulder. Ensure you keep your tummy and bum tight and your hips still.

Repeat for a full 60 seconds – 30 seconds with right shoulder touch, 30 seconds with left shoulder touch.

And don’t forget to join our core workout sessions every Tuesday and Thursday for more great core exercises.

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