Keep your body’s support system strong with this do-anywhere routine.
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It’s hard to overstate the importance of your core.
It’s your body’s trunk, from the upper legs up to the rib cage. All of our movements generate from this cylinder of the hips, back, butt, and abs. So a strong core allows you to move safely and efficiently as you go about your day.
The quick workout below from fitness expert David Jack is designed to strengthen your entire core. It’s only three exercises and doesn’t require any equipment at all. That means you can do it anytime, anywhere.
How the Quick Core Circuit Works
Do one set of each exercise below in order, resting in between as needed. After the final exercise, rest for one minute, and then repeat the full circuit. Do three rounds total.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to perform each exercise. Remember: The movements 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 you ever feel too tired or that your form is compromised, pause to check in with your body, and only resume if you feel you can do so safely.
Exercise #1: The Runner
This move strengthens the connection between your body and brain, which helps you move more efficiently.
How to do it: Lie faceup with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms at your sides. Engage your core and, keeping your shoulders down and relaxed, straighten your right leg so your heel lightly touches the floor. At the same time, lift your right arm above your head, keeping a natural slight bend in your elbow.
Next, bring your right knee into tabletop position, so your upper leg forms a 90-degree angle to the floor. As you do this, bring your right arm down by your side and lift your left arm overhead. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps, moving slowly and with control, and then switch sides. Rest as necessary.
If you have any pain or limited range of motion in your shoulder, don’t fully extend your arm or reach as far back.
Exercise #2: Bird Dog
Gravity is constantly trying to pull us down and forward. This move is the antidote. It not only improves posture and opens up your chest, but it also strengthens the backside of your body. If your knees bother you, fold up your mat or use pads to give them more support.
How to do it: Start on all fours with your hands below shoulders and knees below hips. Engage your abs, keep your spine neutral, and gaze down or slightly forward. Lift your left arm out in front of you as you extend your right leg behind you to touch your right toes to the floor (for more of a challenge, lift your leg until it’s in line with the rest of your body). Pause, then lower back down, and repeat for 10 reps total. Switch sides to lift your right arm and extend your left leg for 10 reps.
Exercise #3: Elbow Plank to Rock Back
Plank is a great exercise for the shoulders, abs, and back, but not everyone can do it with proper form. This movement provides the same benefits and requires less core strength. If your knees bother you, fold up your mat or use pads to give them more support.
How to do it: Start on all fours. Keep your chin down and your hips and shoulders square to the floor throughout this movement. Engage your core.
Shift forward and lower your forearms onto the floor so that your elbows are below your shoulders. Your upper legs will form about a 45-degree angle with the floor. Pause for a moment. You should feel this in your core.
Keeping your forearms rooted on the floor, lift your hips toward the ceiling and slowly rock back with control, stretching your shoulders. Only go as far as comfortable. From here, return to the forward position on your forearms to start a new rep. Do 10 reps, resting as necessary. If you feel any hip pain, shorten your range of motion.
More Exercises for Your Core
- 10-Minute Seated Core Workout
- SilverSneakers Classic for Your Shoulders, Core, and Hips
- 5 Best Ways to Strengthen Your Core