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by Casey McIlvaine

In order to excel at any kind of physical activity, from running, to lifting weights, to playing any sport, you need to have a strong core. It’s the foundation for your body. The core is not just your abs. It includes your hamstrings, your glutes, your hips, your lower back, and your oblique muscles, as well.

Fitness professionals who have completed training at personal trainer schoolsCore Strengthening Exercises recommend that you use these exercises to strengthen your core.

Entire core exercises
The modified bicycle is a great core exercise that focuses on working the entire core area. Lie on your back and hold one leg in the air. Hold the other leg two-to-three inches off the ground and hold for several seconds and then switch legs. Your back should be in neutral position the entire time.

Planks are another great exercise that focuses on strengthening your entire core. Lie on your stomach and hold your weigh on your forearms and toes. You should keep a straight line from head to your toes.

Hips and glutes exercises
Try lateral leg raises. To do these, lie on your right side and place a theraband around your ankles. You should lift your left leg 45-degrees in a very controlled way, and then lower your leg. You should do 30 reps for each leg.

Hip thrusts are another great core exercise that will work your hips and glutes. To do this, lie on your back with all of your weight on your upper back. Bend your legs at the knee. Lift one of your legs so your weight is on one leg and your back and lower your butt close to the ground. Thrust upwards. Do 25 reps for each leg.

The iron cross is a dynamic stretch that can help your body to feel loose after doing core strengthening exercises. Lie on your back, arms at your dies and swing your right leg over the torso and up to your left hand. Do the same with the left leg. Do 20 reps.

While these aren’t the only core exercises that you can do, they are some of the best out there to help improve your overall core strength.

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