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The Ultimate Routine to Build a Strong Core

Work your way to the perfect six-pack abs.
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Train your core to get a ripped six pack of abs.

When most people think of a strong core, their first thoughts fly to an image of a chiseled six pack. While this generally shows a fit physique, a strong core requires strengthening other muscles besides the abdominal. The core is made up of several muscles which help stabilize the spine, pelvis, and shoulder girdle and run down the length of the torso and trunk. The core muscles are comprised of the rectus abdominis, erector spinae, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominis, hip flexors, gluteus minimis, medius, and maximis, and hip adductors. It is from these muscles where your power originates from, not the limbs.

Strengthening the core helps alleviate back pain and prevent future injury. When you train the core muscles, you correct postural imbalances which are what lead to injuries in the first place. Focusing only on the rectus abdominis in an effort to create the perfect six-pack can lead to overdevelopment and disproportion. Here is a workout routine which focuses on all muscles of the core and will strengthen and lengthen the spine. To really kick up the fat burning aspect of this routine, perform exercises one through six, and follow with 90 seconds of jumping rope. Perform this circuit three times, no more than three times per week for a lean, strong, and sexier looking core.

1.) Plank – Laying prone, or on your stomach, raise yourself up onto your toes similarly to a push up. With your elbows directly under your shoulders, place your weight on your forearm. Hold this position until failure.

2.) Side Plank – Laying semi prone, or on your right side, with right arm bent at 90 degree angle with elbow in line with shoulder. Press your weight onto your forearm and bend your left arm to your waist. Straighten your torso to make a straight line through into your legs. Hold this position until failure.

3.) Leg Lifts – Laying supine, or on your back, with legs straight and arms down at your side, palms down. Slowly, pressing your spine into the floor and pulling your navel inwards toward your spine, lift your legs off the ground until you hit a 90 degree angle. Slowly lower your legs back down, stopping two inches from the ground, and begin again.

4.) Bicycle Kicks – Laying supine, bend knees with feet flat on the floor. Engage your abdominals and put your hands behind your ears. Contract your abdominals and bring your right elbow to your left knee, and extend your right leg outwards without touching the floor. Alternate to your left elbow to your right knee and extend your left leg outwards without touching the floor.

5.) Superman – Laying prone, reach your arms above your head. Lift your right arm and left leg, hold for 3 – 5 seconds, and lower. Switch to your left arm and right leg, lift, hold for 3 – 5 seconds, and lower. Continue alternating.

6.) Double Crunch – Laying supine, with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor, hands behind your ears. Engage both your upper and lower abdomen muscles by contracting and raising your shoulders off the ground. Simultaneously, curl your knees towards your chest, hold for a pause, and relax back down to starting position.

 


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