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Dublin: 1°C Friday 23 April 2021

The core workout you can do anywhere without needing any equipment

You’ll have rock-hard abs in no time.

Image: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

A WEAK CORE has been linked with muscular imbalances, decreased power production, overuse injuries and poor posture so it makes sense to dedicate some time to it as often as you can.

The four-exercise session we’ve come up with here should take between 10-15 minutes and we suggest performing it at least three times a week.

It can be done from home and requires nothing more than a little floor space.

For those hunched at desks all day, we especially recommend but don’t worry, it’s quick and easy.

To do it, simply perform one set of each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds between moves and repeat the circuit 3-4 times.

These exercises emphasise the low back, glutes, deep abdominals, lower abs and obliques, all of which are typically ignored in a traditional core strength program.

Crunch-type movements usually require you to lie on your back and lift your upper body by curling your spine toward your knees.

This is exactly the type of movement we want to avoid because it only perpetuates that hunched-over position you are already holding for hours on end while sitting at a desk.

Opposite arm/leg reach

Muscles targeted: Lower back, glute major.

How to do it: Start by resting on your hands and knees, making sure your hands are directly below the shoulders and knees are directly below the hips.

Keep the back of your neck long; do not look up or let your chin drop towards the ground.
Activate the core muscles by gently pulling your belly button up to your spine, being careful not to round your upper back at the same time.

Source: VeloPress/YouTube

Now, keep your hips and shoulders parallel to the ground and lift your right foot and left hand at the same time.

Extend the fingertips forward and toes backward as far as possible. Squeeze your right glute.

Hold this extension for 5 seconds and then bring your hand and foot down to the mat at the same time. Repeat on the other side and continue alternating until you have completed the designated time.

Prone snow angels

Muscles targeted: Lower back, middle back, hip abductors.

How to do it: Start with your arms extended along your sides with palms down. Keep the back of your neck long and your shoulder blades dropped down toward your waist.

Gently squeeze your glutes and slowly begin to raise your feet, chest, and hands off the ground.

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Do not lift more than 6 inches. Create an imaginary snow angel by sweeping your arms overhead and separating your feet.

Source: VeloPress/YouTube

Without bending your arms, try to bring your hands all the way together above your head.

Return to starting position and allow your feet, chest, and hands to relax down to the ground.

Repeat for 30 seconds and four sets.

Supine knee/ankle drops

Muscles targeted: Obliques, lower back.

How to do it: Start by lying on the ground, facing up with the feet off the ground and legs forming a 90-degree angle at the hips and knees.

Your arms should extend out from the body in a T position.

Keeping your upper body relaxed, drop your knees as far to the left as possible without letting your right arm and shoulder blade come off the ground.

Return your legs to centre and drop to the right. Concentrate on trying to use your core muscles to lift your legs off the ground.

Continue alternating side to side for the required time.

Plank with alternating knee drops

Muscles targeted: Rectus abdominus.

How to do it: Get into a push-up position with your forearms on the floor, elbows underneath your shoulders, and feet shoulder-width apart.

Your body should form a straight diagonal line. Slowly drop your right knee to the floor and return to the starting position.

Source: Project Drop/YouTube

Now drop the left knee for one rep. Complete as many as you can in 30 seconds.

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The42 Team

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