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Build a strong CORE!

The core is made up of several different muscles, all of which work together to support your spine and torso. The four main muscle groups that make up the core are the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques. To specifically target each of these muscles for a well rounded and strong core, you can perform exercises such as planks, abdominal crunches, side bridges, mountain climbers and reverse crunches.

Planks are an excellent exercise for engaging the entire core musculature. They work by strengthening the rectus abdominis, as well as the internal and external oblique muscles, while also challenging balance. To do a plank effectively start in a pushup position and then lower your body onto your forearms, one arm at a time. From here brace your core by contracting all of the muscles in your midsection and hold for 30-60 seconds.

Abdominal crunches are a great way to strengthen the rectus abdominis muscle which is responsible for helping to flex your spine forward. To do an abdominal crunch correctly lie down on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head or across the chest and slowly curl up, leading with the chin until you feel a contraction in your abs. Hold this position briefly before slowly returning to the starting position.

Side bridges help build strength in both external oblique muscles as well as the glutes. To do a side bridge correctly, lie on your right side with your feet together, and place your right forearm directly below the shoulder. Activate the core muscles by drawing them in and away from the floor while you lift your hips off of the ground as high as possible. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.

Mountain climbers are an effective exercise for engaging both internal and external oblique muscles along with other supporting muscles such as rectus abdominis, glutes, quads and hamstrings. Mountain Climbers start in a pushup position, then bring one knee up towards your chest followed by alternating back and forth between legs. Make sure to keep the core engaged throughout the exercise and try not to arch your back.

Reverse crunches are a great exercise for targeting the rectus abdominis muscle as well as the hip flexors, which help support the spine. To do a reverse crunch start by lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat against the floor. Place your hands behind your head or across the chest then lift your legs up off of the ground while bringing your knees towards your chest. Make sure to keep your lower back pressed into the mat throughout this motion. Hold at the top for 1-2 seconds before slowly lowering legs down and repeating.

By performing these exercises regularly you can strengthen each core muscle individually to create a balanced, strong core that will help support you in all walks of life.

Still struggling with core strength? Our Coaches are experts when it comes to exercise execution and modifications. Check out our Personal Training options to build your strongest core yet!

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