Get a firmer, more powerful midsection with this quick bodyweight routine.
By K. Aleisha Fetters, C.S.C.S.
Your core is involved in every single movement you do. And not just at the gym.
Without your core muscles, you wouldn’t be able to stand or sit upright, much less garden or play with your grandkids. That’s why building and maintaining core strength is so important, especially as you get older.
You don’t have to do lengthy core-specific workouts—most exercises engage your core muscles to some degree, even if they’re deemed as exercises for your arms or legs. But you should add this simple 10-minute circuit to your routine as often as possible, maybe even every day.
When done consistently, these four core exercises can dramatically improve strength, stability, and even posture—in just 10 minutes per session.
How the Strong-and-Stable Core Workout Works
Perform one set of each exercise below in order, resting only as needed between moves. After the final exercise, rest 60 to 90 seconds, and then repeat the full circuit again. Start with two rounds total, and gradually work your way up to three as your fitness improves.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to perform each movement. As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
And if this workout doesn’t work for you or you want to mix things up, you have other options as part of the SilverSneakers Million Pound Challenge. You can take a SilverSneakers class or other group fitness class that incorporates strength training, or try this week’s strength move for walkers.
Exercise #1: Pelvic Tilt
Do 10 to 12 reps
Lying on your back, bend both knees and place feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. Flatten your lower back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for up to 10 seconds, then release. That’s one rep. Perform 10 to 12 reps total.
Exercise #2: Bird Dog
Do 6 to 8 reps
Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Engage your core, keep your spine neutral, and gaze down or slightly forward.
Lift your left arm and extend your right leg until they are in line with the rest of your body. Pause, then lower back down, and repeat on the opposite side with right arm and left leg extended. That’s one rep. Perform six to eight reps total.
Exercise #3: Dead Bug
Do 6 to 8 reps
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise your bent legs up so that your knees are stacked over your hips, keeping a 90-degree bend in your knees. Brace your core to press your low back into the floor; make sure to maintain this flat-back position throughout the entire exercise. With your palms facing each other, bring your arms up to point toward the ceiling.
Straighten your left leg and bring it toward the floor (try not to let it touch). At the same time, bring your right arm back toward the floor (try not to let it touch). Pause, then bring your arm and leg back to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side with right leg and left arm extended. That’s one rep. Perform six to eight reps total.
Exercise #4: Modified Curlup
Do 4 to 6 reps per side
Lie on your back with your left leg straight and right knee bent so that your foot is flat on the floor. Place your hands, palms down, underneath the arch in your lower back for support. Brace your core.
Engage your abs to pull your head and shoulders just a couple of inches off the floor. Hold for up to 10 seconds, slowly breathing the entire time. Release to return to start. That’s one rep. Perform four to six reps, then repeat on the opposite side with right leg straight and left knee bent.