9 Exercises for a Strong, Toned Core

Ask any person on the street what they think is a sign of a person who exercises often, and they’ll probably say if they have strong, toned core. Whether it’s six-pack abs, 11-abs, or just a rock-hard belly that’s devoid of any excess fat, abs are a good indicator that you’re relatively healthy. While some fat around your vital organs is necessary, too much of it can lead to diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more.

Having a strong core is also essential for posture. It helps you maintain proper spinal form and prevents scoliosis or back injuries. It also helps you balance and not fall over during mundane tasks like changing a lightbulb or riding a bike.

All in all, toning our abs is very important not just for exercise, but for everyday life. So, without further ado, let’s look at some exercises that’ll help us achieve a strong, toned core! They are very easy to do and can be done at home with no equipment.


Beginner Exercises

1. Dead Bug

Start by lying on your back with arms extended in front of you, shoulders below your hands. Raise your knees to a 90-degree angle with the shins parallel to the ground. Make sure your lower back is pressed against the floor and your core is engaged. Hold this position for 45 seconds and rest for 15 seconds, then repeat as necessary.

2. Plank

This innocuous-looking move will get your body sweating and your core screaming in no time. It engages all the muscles around your core including your abs, obliques, and back! It is one of the best exercises to get you that strong, toned core.

There are multiple ways to do a plank, but the most basic is this: put yourself in a pushup position with your back straight and core engaged. Your hands need to be directly underneath your shoulders. If this is too hard on your wrist, you can use your forearms instead. If the plank is too hard on your shoulders, you can rest your knees on the ground.

Start by planking 30 seconds, then 45 seconds, then 1 minute at a time. Trust us, it’s harder than it looks! You need to practice in short bursts first.

3. Side Plank

This is like a regular plank, but for your sides. This will take a lot of balance on your part!

Begin in a regular plank post. Then, lower down to one elbow, and with the other, raise to the sky as you rotate sideways. Put one leg on top of the other in a stack. Like the plank, you need to keep your body straight with your entire core engaged.

Side plank for 30 seconds, then 45 seconds, then 1 minute at a time. In our opinion, side planks are even harder than regular planks, so you need to start slow first. If you’re having a hard time, put the knee closest to the ground down until your core gets stronger.


Intermediate Exercises

1. Bicycle

Lie down on your mat. Slowly lift both your legs and shoulders until you’re in a V position. Then, bring your right elbow to your left knee, then your left elbow to your right knee. The unused knee must be extended.

Maintain proper form as you do these moves. If your neck or lower back hurts, then you’re doing something wrong.

Do as many reps as you can until you cannot hold your form anymore.

2. Elbow Plank Pass Through

If the side plank wasn’t bad enough already, wait until you get a taste of the elbow plank pass through!

Start with the side plank position. Then, with the arm raised, slowly bend it downwards, passing it through the space between your side and the floor. Your hips will twist to let the arm pass through. Ensure your body is still as straight as possible. Then, pull the arm back out again and return to the side plank position.

Do as many reps as possible until you cannot hold proper form anymore. Like always, you may put the lower knee down until you get stronger.

3. Side Plank Knee to Elbow

This is another variation of the side plank we know you’re going to love (or hate). Then, raise the arm and the leg that’s facing upwards. Bring their elbow and knee together until you form a crunch. Go back to the original stance and keep repeating until you cannot maintain proper form anymore. Do the same for the other side.

Bend one knee if this is too hard for you.


Advanced Exercises

1. Hip Twist

Hip twists are so much fun to do and give your back a killer workout.

Start on a plank position using your forearms. Then, slowly lower one side of your hips down as far as you can go, then do the same for the other side. Continue alternating between both sides until you’ve completed your reps.

2. Burpee

Burpees don’t just strengthen your core—they also get your heart rate up!

Start in a standing position. Bend forward until both hands are on the floor, then jump your legs backward until you’re in a plank position. Hold for a second or two, then jump back on your feet again, then stand straight. If this move is too hard on your knees, you can step back into a plank instead.

Repeat this move until you finish your set.

3. Lateral High Knee

This is another standing move. Bring your right elbow onto your left knee in a running stance. Then, as if you were actually running, but sideways, do two steps toward the left and bring your left elbow to your right knee this time. Keep alternating until you finish your set.