Have you continued to do sit-ups and crunches without ever seeing any results? Have you tried every stomach exercise imaginable to not see any progress in your abs? This is a common mistake that people make. You need to engage your core!
Every workout video or personal trainer will tell you to engage your core, but do you know what that means? Whatever position you are in right now, tighten your abs as tight as possible. By doing that, you are engaging your core! Whenever you exercise, you want to do this action when you are exercising to help strengthen your muscles in your core.
What is your core though? It includes the muscles in your stomach and back. Combined, they create your “core.” These muscles help support your pelvis and spine. Not only does engaging your core help strengthen and develop your abs, it also helps support your body while you are exercising.
If you are struggling to complete an exercise, try developing your core first. It will help you be able to carry the load with your resistance training. Imagine doing a plank. Your arms out like you are doing a push-up and your abs tight to hold your weight in that position. That is the motion of engaging your core.
What are some good exercises to practice engaging your core?
- Plank – Get in a push-up position. Engage your core and squeeze your butt. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets. Tip: To make it harder, put your elbows on the ground and complete the plank this way.
- Hip Bridge – Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. Lift your stomach up and squeeze your butt and engage your ab muscles. Lower down to two inches from the ground while keeping your core engaged. This is one rep. Repeat for 10 reps and 2-3 sets.
- Mountain Climbers – Start in the push-up position with your arms completely straight and directly beneath your shoulders. Engage your core (AKA squeeze your abs) and lift one foot off the floor and bring that knee up towards your chest. Bring your leg back to the start position and repeat with the other leg. That is one set. Start with up to 10 repetitions per leg and work your way up.