Core Workout

Your core is everything! Without a strong core, it can be incredibly difficult to gain the kind of mass, flexibility, and strength that you’re interested in building. A weak core can also make you more prone to certain kinds of injuries that can slow or halt your progress.

While you should spend a lot of time working on your core, sometimes doing the same kind of exercises again and again can get boring. In today’s workout, we wanted to build a circuit that was both challenging, fun, and nearly certain to improve your core strength. If any of these exercises is in your normal core workout, swap it out for something that you do less often.

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Reverse Crunches

Lie flat on your back with your arms extended at your sides.

Keeping your feet together, move your legs up so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. It should look like you are sitting in a chair.

Start inhaling, and lift your legs up while rolling your pelvis back. Your hips should raise up off the floor. When your knees are close to your chest, hold the stretch for a moment, then move back to the position where your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.

Do three sets of 12-15 reps.

Back Extensions

Using a hyperextension bench, lie face down, making sure that your ankles are securely tucked under the footpads. You should be lying in such a way that you can bend over at the waist with no restrictions.

Fold your arms across your chest, then start to bend forward while inhaling. Keep your back as flat as you can, and stop when you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings. Hold for a moment, then slowly return back to the starting position.

Do not let your back round, and do not twist while performing this exercise.

Do three sets of 12-15 reps.

Seated Knee Tucks

Sit on the ground with your hands placed flat on the ground facing forward and your feet planted.

Then, lift your feet up off the ground, and stretch out both of your legs. While extending your legs, you should lower your torso back down towards the ground.

Bring your legs back up towards your chest while raising your torso back up off the ground. For the best results, make sure not to let your feet touch the ground until you have finished your set.

Do three sets of 12-15 reps.

Alternate Heel Touchers

For this exercise, start by lying on your back. Plant your feet on the ground — they should be spread about 18-24 inches — and your arms should be at your sides.

Using your abdominals, exhale, and crunch up and to your right side so you can touch your right heel with your right hand. Hold it for a second, then return to the starting position while inhaling. Repeat the same motion to the left side of your body. That is one rep.

Do three sets of 12-15 reps.

Russian Twists

Start this exercise by lying on the ground with your knees bent and your feet either under something heavy or have a buddy hold your feet for you. For the best possible results, you want to eliminate as much foot movement as possible.

Do a sit up/crunch so that your thighs and torso form a “V” shape with your arms straight out in front of you and your hands clasped.

Breathe out, and turn your upper torso to one side. Return to the center, then turn to the other side. This is one rep. 

It is incredibly important to keep your abs as tight and locked in place as possible in order to avoid injuring your back. If your back starts to twist, stop, tighten your abs again, and try again. If you’re having problems holding your abs in a tightened position, skip the Russian twist until you have better core strength.

Do three sets of 12-15 reps.

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Note about workouts: No workout should be completed without proper supervision and/or instruction. Safety should always be your priority, so if you don’t feel comfortable with an exercise, don’t do it! Always lift with a safe amount of weight, and always remember to take breaks between sets and circuits.