Well… we’re still on lockdown for the most part.

As the restrictions put in place due to the COVID pandemic are slowly being lifted, there’s still a large portion of people who are stuck at home. And while we all eagerly await the day where we can utilize fitness facilities and equipment, for the mean time we’re still forced to use what we have at home… which is fairly limited for most folks.

So use this simple but sinister core routine to give yourself a quick and effective core workout right from the comfort of your living room.

What makes this core routine so effective?

You have to realize that effective core training is all about ANTI movement, or preventing the spine from moving when it shouldn’t be. Your core is meant to stabilize the trunk so it can transmit force produced by the limbs to its intended output. When your core can’t stop the spine from moving, you “leak” energy which negatively affects your performance, but more importantly puts you at risk for injury.

This means you want your core exercises to resist extension of the spine (allowing an arch in your low back), rotation of the spine, and lateral flexion of the spine. Crunches and side bends are sooooo 1992.

All of these movements do exactly that, plus a a few added bonuses in there as well in the form of mobility and shoulder/hip stability. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Plank with alternating opposite limb lift 3×8/side

Why this movement is awesome: this exercise has you resisting extension and  rotation of the spine while including a little bit of shoulder and hip strengthening in there as well. Focus on keeping those hips still and you’ve got a humbling exercise for sure.

Side plank with hip flexion 3×10/side

Why this movement is awesome: here’s a great anti-lateral flexion exercise that will light up your obliques… but throw some top leg hip flexion in there too? Fuggedaboudit. This little motion will create some instability forcing your core to work overtime. Plus, as long as you’re flexing your leg up as high as you can WITHOUT letting your low back round, you’ll be strengthening your hip flexors as well… a muscle that is unknowingly weak in a ton of people.

Knee to elbow with single arm downward dog opposite toe tap 3×10/side

It’s a mouthful, I know. But this movement carries with it a list of benefits just as long as the name itself.

Why this movement is awesome: the knee to elbow motion has you resisting extension and rotation of the spine while incorporating hip flexion outside of the sagittal plane of motion (front to back). This is important because your hips loooove multi-planar movements as it keeps them healthy over the course of the long haul. As if that wasn’t enough, now you throw in a single arm downward dog which works all the shoulder stabilizing muscles in addition to mobilizing the hamstrings and posterior chain. Not to mention, every time you reset from the downward dog you’ll need to really brace to not let your spine extend… again.

Your bang for buck on this one is killer.

Single leg RDL with hip mobility 3×10/side

Ah, if the phrase “that looks innocent enough” had a representative, it would be this exercise.

Why this movement is awesome: geez, where do we start? Well, first off, your hips are working super hard to prevent your stance leg from internally rotating or wobbling. If that happens, you lose your balance. That’s no bueno. Second, your core is working hard to prevent all sorts of unwanted movement in the spine as your limbs go about creating motion. Aaaaand thirdly, that little hurdle step motion is greasing your hip joint up all nice like, making you feel like a velvet jungle cat when you’re done.

A word of caution, this movement is tough. Not in the sense that it’ll create an intense burn, but in terms of there’s a lot going on. Focus on QUALITY, not quantity on this one.

And there you have it!

A simple but sinister at home core workout that requires no equipment (except maybe something to step over). Bookmark this page and give it a go next time you feel the need for a quick at home workout!

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