photo credit: MyGymworkout.co.uk
As you go about your workout program, one area that you must not overlook is the core. So many people are fast to focus on the lower and upper body muscles, but then neglect some of the main exercises that should be performed to ensure their core strength is up to par.
It's vital that you do remember the fact that the core muscles will be involved in each and every exercise that you perform, so by strengthening this area of the body, you'll literally boost the overall strength you have with all the other movements in your workout program as well.
Plus, having a strong core means you'll be able to fight back against back pain, which is vital if you want to carry on your workouts for the long term.
Let's have a look at some of the top exercises that you should know about that will quickly strengthen the core.
Plank On An Exercise Ball
The first core exercise to think about doing is the plank on an exercise ball. This one is more intense then just the basic plank exercise, so if you're still struggling to perform that one, consider first starting there until you've mastered it.
With the plank on the exercise ball, you have the choice of two methods. You can either place the arms up on the exercise ball with the feet on the floor beneath you or you can place the feet up on the exercise ball with the arms on the floor.
Either one will cause greater instability in the body and thus cause the abs to contract harder.
Lying Leg Raises With A Ball
The next movement that you should be doing to strengthen the core is the lying leg raise with a ball. For this one you are to place an exercise ball between the legs while lying back down on the floor.
From there, raise the legs up until they reach about 90 degrees and then slowly lower back down until the ball is almost touching the floor.
It's important that you don't lower all the way to the floor however as this will really reduce the total amount of tension on the abs throughout the exercise and decrease the results you see.
For best results you want the abs to be constantly contracted and by lowering almost the full way down, you accomplish this very nicely.
Be sure to also keep the back pressed flat into the floor while performing this exercise otherwise you can start to develop lower back pain.
Moving on, the next movement to do for the core are supermans. Supermans are great for working the muscles that run all along the back of the spinal chord, which are very often forgotten about by most people.
To perform these you lay stomach down on the ground with the arms stretched out in front of the head and the legs straight beneath you.
From there, raise the back up as far as you can while simultaneously lifting the legs up off the ground. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds and then lower back down to complete the rep. Aim for at least 10 reps before moving on to your next exercise.
Note that to make this one slightly harder you can also hold onto a weight while you do it which will increase the resistance the back muscles have to work against.
Medicine Ball Twists
Finally, the last exercise that you should be performing as you go about your core workout is medicine ball twists. This is a great one for working those obliques and taking care of any 'love handles' you have present.
To perform this one stand upright holding a medicine ball with both hands, back to back with a partner. From there, twist to one side of your body and pass the ball to your partner, while they also twist over to grab it.
They are then to immediately twist to the other side of their body and then pass the medicine ball back off to you, where you will be twisted around and waiting for it.
Completely this twisting pass-off motion as quickly as you can for ten reps and then switch sides and repeat.
So there you have some of the top core movements that you can use to quickly strengthen this area of the body, prevent injuries in the lower back, and move closer to six-pack ab status as well.
Author Bio: This post has been contributed by Nick from building body muscles. Nick likes to write about gaining muscle and maintaining a healthy weight. You can subscribe to his RSS or receive posts directly by email from his site.