Strong Women’s Caroline Bragg recommends her favourite at-home moves to try for when you want a killer core workout but don’t have any weights to use.
While the usual recommendation is to add some extra load to your barbell and stop shying away from the heavier dumbbells if you want to get stronger, there are some exceptions to that rule. And working your core is one of them.
Using your body weight alone, you can still get a killer ab workout in. With these moves, slow and steady wins the race: “Make sure that you keep core moves slow and controlled,” advises Caroline Bragg, Strong Women ambassador. “Going too fast is just cheating, because it will take the burn out of the exercise.”
Getting your form right is essential when working your abs. Make sure you tuck your ribs in, driving them down towards the hips, rather than arching your back. And during moves that involve lying on your back, have an “imprinted spine”, advises Bragg, by tucking your tailbone under and keeping the lower back connected to the floor.
Here are Bragg’s favourite, equipment free moves that work your core. And no, she hasn’t recommended crunches.
THE BEST BODYWEIGHT AB EXERCISES
Don’t hate us, but it’s possible to make standard and side planks even more challenging. “Making them dynamic by adding in forward and backwards rocking motions or twisting side to side will increase the intensity,” says Bragg. Just remember, slow and controlled. “You can also make planks harder by elevating a part of your body, like lifting off a hand or a foot.”
Russian twists involve leaning back in a seated position and turning your core from side to side. That will work your obliques, but increase intensity of the entire core by lifting your feet off the ground while you turn.
Lying on your back, put your knees in tabletop position and your arms at 90°. Slowly lower one arm and extend the opposite leg to just above the floor, then bring back to the starting position. It will work the entire front of your core.
“We always forget the back of our core, so our multifidus and erector spinae,” says Bragg. Bird dogs, which are essentially the opposite of a dead bug, are great for working that section. Come into a kneeling position, hands under shoulders and knees under hips, then lift an arm and a leg out, squeezing tightly.
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