Perhaps my favourite moment of the Lifehacker fitness challenge so far was the day that we were done with the plank challenge. I hate planks. Luckily, it’s possible to work out your core without having to do a single plank.
So each week this month, we’ll acquaint you with a few core exercises you may not have tried before (or should try again).
This isn’t just about abs, of course: Your core includes all the stabilising muscles that aren’t strictly part of your arms or legs. So your abs, yes, but also the muscles in your back, the muscles that wrap around your sides, and arguably some of the muscles surrounding your shoulders and hips as well.
These exercises are a little weird because your core’s actual job is to stabilise your body when you’re trying to do something else.
Your core holds your torso up when you stand so you don’t flop over like a jellyfish. It transfers force from the ground, up your legs, to your fist when you’re punching a bag. It lets your shoulders pull on your hips to provide the power to swing a baseball bat, or pull a kayak paddle through the water.
A few underrated core exercises you can try right now:
- Push-ups: OK, a push-up is basically still a plank, but you’re moving while you do it, which makes it 900 per cent less boring.
- Boat pose: This is the yoga move where your butt is on the floor and the rest of you isn’t. Extend your arms and legs to make it harder. Hold your legs to make it easier.
- Ab wheel: The toy that looks like so much fun... until you try it. This week would be a good time to try it. Please don’t fall on your face. (Here are instructions on how to not fall on your face.)
Give one of these a try, or pick another favourite! We’ll be back next week with more. And let me know in the comments which underrated core exercises you love, and which ones you hate. (Personally I hate them all, but I’m open to suggestions.)