5 Intermediate core exercises you can do at home
So, you’ve mastered the plank and now you’re looking for something a little more challenging? Here are five intermediate core exercises you can do at home.
A strong core is essential as a runner. Not only will a stronger core aid with balance and stability, but this will also improve your running form and overall control when running. Finally, not to mention, who doesn’t want an aesthetically pleasing six-pack?
However, core training and core strength are often overlooked for many sports, including running. It is only now that many runners and athletes alike are beginning to realise the importance of core strength. It’s not all about ‘abs’ either, it’s building up your core to improve performance while coping with the intense stress running places on our bodies.
An easy way to build up your core strength is by performing beginner core exercises, whether this is at home or in the gym. Popular beginner moves include planks, sit-ups, crunches, and side-planks, while more advanced moves include bicycles, flutter kicks, and weighted sit-ups.
We have provided five intermediate core exercises below which you can do at home. If you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry! Start off with a few beginner moves and slowly work your way up.
1. Weighted sit-ups
The weighted sit-up is a great variation to the standard version. First, you will either need to find weight such as a dumbbell, a medicine ball, or a household item that weighs no more than 5kg. Start in the sit-up position, place the ball tight to your chest bringing your torso towards your knees. To make this more difficult, you can elevate the ball above your head during the upward motion of the movement.
Perform for a total of 15-20 repetitions with at least a 30-second rest period between each set.
2. Single-leg plank
We’ve all heard of the regular plank. Chances are, you either love it or you hate it. However, once you can easily hold the position for at least 60 seconds, it’s time to make it a little more challenging. One way in which we can do this is by elevating one foot off of the ground for a few seconds, making sure to alternate legs each rep. This adds greater resistance to the plank as our core muscles are forced to further stabilise each time we raise our feet off of the ground.
Hold this position for at least 30-seconds while alternating legs, completing a minimum of three sets.
3. Ab wheel rollouts
For this exercise you will require one piece of equipment, however, it’s totally worth it for the intense burn you’ll feel as you sculpt that six-pack. Alternatively, instead of using an ab wheel you could also use a barbell to perform the exercise.
REEHUT Ab Roller Wheel
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To perform ab wheel rollouts:
- Start on all fours holding the roller with both hands (palms facing downward)
- Roll out by pushing the roller away from the body almost forming a plank-like position
- Rollback to the starting position
Perform this exercise for a minimum of 30-seconds and a maximum of 60. Repeat 3-5 times for best results.
4. Hollow body exercise
The hollow body is a simple yet extremely effective ab exercise that also works the quads, hamstrings, and lower back.
To perform the hollow body:
- Lie down flat on a mat contracting the abs with both arms and legs held straight in front of the body
- Raise both the legs and arms off of the ground a few inches while keeping the lower back glued to the floor
- Hold this position for 30-60 seconds
Repeat for a total of 2-3 reps with at least a 30-second break in-between each rep.
5. Windshield wipers
The windshield wiper exercise is a tough yet rewarding exercise, certainly not for the faint-hearted.
To perform the windshield wiper exercise:
- Lie down with your back on the floor and your legs at 90 degrees
- Rotate your legs from side to side stopping short of touching the floor
Tip: Place your arms to the side to increase support during the movement.
Repeat for anywhere between 30 and 60-seconds and for a total of 2-3 sets.
There are many great core exercises out there that you can do from the convenience of your own home. Try these five intermediate core exercises today and reap the rewards in your running in the weeks to come.
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.