5-Minute Core Workout: Strong Abs and Back
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Fitness

5-Minute Core Workout: Strong Abs and Back

These core strengthening exercises will flatten your abs, increase stamina and improve your posture. To make each move harder, try adding weights to exercises without any.

5-Minute Core Workout

Target Your Core, Abs, and Back

Sculpting your core will give you a beach-ready body and an edge on any outdoor sport. "Ab strength supports muscles and joints when you're golfing, swimming, or running outside," says Cathy Sassin, adventure racer and Intrafitt exercise performance specialist. Try this quickie workout from Sassin.

Ball Squat with Knee Lift

Minutes 0:00-1:00

Targets: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Core, Chest, Shoulders

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a weighted ball in front of chest.
  • Bend knees 90 degrees.
  • Hold for 2 counts.
  • Slightly straighten legs, shifting weight to left foot as you lift right knee to waist height and extend arms overhead (shown).
  • Return to start and complete 10 reps on each side.

Single-Leg Lunge

Minutes 1:00-2:00

Targets: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Core

  • Stand in a lunge with left foot in front, knees bent and left thigh parallel to floor.
  • Lean forward from hip, then straighten left leg, extending right leg behind you 45 degrees (shown).
  • Return to start.
  • Complete 10 reps on each side.

Push-Up with Leg Lift

Minutes 2:00-3:00

Targets: Chest, Triceps, Core

  • Start in the up phase of a push-up.
  • Keeping hips square to floor, lift left leg 10 inches.
  • Bend elbows to lower chest toward floor (shown); hold for 2 counts.
  • Return to start and lower left leg.
  • Do 10 times; then switch sides.

Standing Leg Lift

Minutes 3:00-4:00

Targets: Glutes, Core

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball in front of your chest, elbows bent.
  • Shift weight to right leg and extend left to the side in 3 counts as you extend your arms (shown).
  • Hold for 2 counts, then take 3 counts to return to start.
  • Do 15 times, then switch sides.

Bicycle Crunch

4:00-5:00

Targets: Upper Abdominals, Obliques, Hip Flexors

  • Sit with knees bent 90 degrees.
  • Hold a medicine ball at chest level and lean upper body back to engage abs.
  • Bring right knee toward left elbow, extending left leg (start).
  • Return to start.
  • Do 15 reps on each side.

 

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, June 2006.

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