Having a strong core is essential for overall health, fitness, and injury prevention. The core consists of the muscles in the abdomen, lower back, hips and pelvis. A weak core can lead to poor posture, back pain, and increased risk of injury.
The good news is that you can build a strong core with just 7 minutes a day of targeted bodyweight exercises. No equipment needed!
In this article, we will provide a 7 minute core workout routine with 7 highly effective bodyweight ab exercises. We will also discuss the benefits of core training and provide tips on how to engage your core properly when doing these movements.
Follow this quick routine just a few times per week and you will be well on your way to a stronger, more stable core in no time.
Benefits of a Strong Core
Before we get into the workout, let’s look at why strong core muscles are so important:
- Improves posture – Core muscles support the spine and keep you upright. Weak core leads to slouching.
- Prevents back pain – Core muscles take pressure off the spine by keeping proper alignment. This reduces strain.
- Increases stability – A solid core keeps your body steady during movement and weightlifting.
- Enhances athletic performance – Power and speed originate in the core. A strong core allows maximum transfer of force.
- Supports functional movement – Daily activities like lifting, bending, and twisting rely on core strength.
- Improves balance – Core engages to keep the body balanced and prevent falls. This is especially important as we age.
Proper Core Engagement
To effectively train your core, it helps to maintain proper form by:
- Keeping abdominals braced – Pull your navel toward your spine to activate deep abs. Maintain this brace during exertion.
- Engaging your pelvic floor – Squeeze muscles like you are trying to stop urine flow. This stabilizes your low back.
- Drawing shoulders down – Keep shoulders back and down. Avoid lifting them toward ears.
- Keeping ribs down – Prevent your rib cage from flaring up during exertion.
- Maintaining a neutral spine – Keep natural arch in low back without over-arching.
Now let’s get into the 7 minute core strengthening workout! Do each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by a 15 second rest period. Complete 2 full rounds.
7 Minute Core Workout Routine
The standard plank provides an full-body core activation. Make sure to maintain straight line from heels to head by bracing your abs. Engage glutes and keep shoulders over wrists.
- Side Plank
Target your obliques with this variation. Prop on one forearm and stack feet. Lift hips skyward to create straight line from head to feet. Hold with tight side abs.
- Bird Dog
Get into tabletop position. Extend opposite arm and leg simultaneously, squeezing glutes. Lengthen limbs away from body to train stabilization.
- Dead Bug
Lie on back with arms up and knees bent. Lower one leg as you extend opposite arm overhead. This challenges coordination.
Squeeze glutes to lift hips toward ceiling, creating a straight line from knees to shoulders. Engage core to prevent arching as you lift.
With legs and torso flat, lift legs and torso simultaneously to create a V shape. Keep core tight. For more challenge, hover legs above floor rather than resting between reps.
- Bicycle Crunches
With hands behind head, bring one knee toward opposite elbow while rotating torso. Twist and switch to work obliques. Go slow and controlled.
Tips for an Effective Core Workout
Implement these tips for maximum core activation and to prevent injury:
- Go slow – Use controlled movements andsqueeze your core throughout. No sloppy reps.
- Maintain proper form – Keep your core engaged and spine neutral. Don’t sag or strain.
- Breathe naturally – Don’t hold your breath. Exhale on exertion, inhale on release.
- Get full range of motion – Target your muscles through their complete contraction and extension.
- Use your core to initiate movement – Allow all exercises to begin by tightening your core muscles first.
- Hold static holds – Planks, side planks, hollow hold, and other isometric exercises build endurance.
- Increase intensity slowly – Use more challenging variations and longer hold times over time.
- Allow recovery time – Avoid training core every day. Follow an every-other-day or 3 days/week schedule.
Commit just 7 minutes to following this quick but effective core routine 3-4 times per week and you will be well on your way to a stable, strong core that supports your entire body. A rock solid midsection takes consistency, but the payoff is worth it – you’ll have the abdominal strength to conquer daily life and fitness activities. Keep your core engaged and reap the benefits!