Strengthen Your Core With These 9 Moves

Core Exercises

You’ve heard by now that if you really want to get fit, core is king. A strong core means more than just looking good in a swimsuit though — it supports your spinal column and provides the foundation for all movement. Core muscles include those in your butt, hips, through your torso and into your upper body. Core strength prevents injuries, creates good posture and brings power to your workouts and everything else you do.

“Fundamentally core strength starts from your internal abdominal and back muscles and builds from the inside out,” says Leanne Kurzweil, co-owner of The Dailey Method in Kenilworth, Illinois.

The Dailey Method incorporates core exercises to enhance alignment, improve posture and strengthen muscles, optimizing spine health and overall movement.

“The more core strength you have, the more stable you are to move your body, functionally each day,” Kurzweil says. “With more stability comes a better opportunity to work large muscle groups throughout our class and ultimately in life, from walking up and down stairs to picking up boxes, etc.”

Here Kurzweil shares nine of The Daily Method’s core-strengthening exercises. For each exercise, she suggests starting with 30-60-second holds and progressing to 20 repetitions of movement. Combine periods of holds and movement for more challenge.

Exercise #1: Forearm Plank

Core Exercises: Forearm Plank (Move 1)
Amy Garber, Senior Instructor, The Dailey Method
  • Start on knees with forearms on the floor.
  • Pull abdominals in and hold engagement for core stability.
  • Tuck toes for more challenge.

Core Exercises: Forearm Plank (Move 2)

Extra Challenge: Single-knee bends (works obliques)

Core Exercises: Forearm Plank (Move 3)

Exercise #2: Hands and Knees “Seatwork”

  • Start on knees with palms on the floor, fingers spread wide.
  • Align wrists under shoulders and knees under hips.
  • Pull abdominals in and hold engagement for core stability.
  • Reach one leg straight behind you and lift off the floor.
Core Exercises: Hands and Knees “Seatwork” (Move 1)
Jennifer Joyce, Senior Instructor, The Dailey Method

Extra Challenge: Keep abdominal muscles engaged, add leg lifts, leg open and closes, bent knee leg lifts and hamstring curls.

Core Exercises: Hands and Knees “Seatwork” (Move 2)

Exercise #3: Back-Dancing “Seatwork”

  • Start on back with knees bent.
  • Draw abdominals in and lift hips off the floor (shoulder blades stay flat on floor).
  • Lift one leg off the floor (keep hips aligned with abdominal engagement).
  • Lift and lower hips.

Core Exercises: Back-Dancing “Seatwork” (Move 1)

Extra Challenge: Keep hips level, lift and lower leg for two counts, leg to the side for two counts and hips lift and lower.

Core Exercises: Back-Dancing “Seatwork” (Move 2)

Exercise #4: Cross-Body Mountain Climbers

  • Start on knees with palms on the floor, fingers spread wide.
  • Pull abdominals in and hold engagement for core stability.
  • Tuck toes under and start in a straight-arm plank.
  • Knees cross to opposite elbow.

Core Exercises: Cross-Body Mountain Climbers

Extra Challenge: Time your cross-body mountain climbers with 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Build up to 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off.

Exercise #5: Neutral Spine Plank

  • Start on knees with palms on the floor, fingers spread wide.
  • Align wrists under shoulders and knees under hips.
  • Pull abdominals in and hold engagement for core stability.
  • Lift knees off floor.

Core Exercises: Neutral Spine Plank

Extra Challenge: Lower and lift knees, press knees in or reach knees from side to side to challenge obliques. Movements are all small range of motion.

Core Exercise: Neutral Spine Plank (Move 2)

Exercise #6: Flat Back on the Floor

  • Start on back with knees bent.
  • Draw elbows to the floor (option for full arm to be down to stabilize back).
  • Lift both knees off the floor, keep toes slightly higher than knees.

Extra Challenge: Keep your spine to the floor with abdominal engagement and add single leg walks, double leg walks and option to straighten legs.

Core Exercises: Flat Back on the Floor

Exercise #7: Reverse Table

Core Exercises: Reverse Table

  • Start in a seated position with feet hips-width apart.
  • Lift hips up toward the ceiling.
  • Stretch chest, shoulders and back and strengthen back in extended spine position.

Exercise #8: Side Plank

Core Exercises: Side Plank

  • Start in forearm plank.
  • Bring thumbs to touch.
  • Press down through right forearm to stabilize shoulder.
  • Lift left hip on top of right, right arm up.
  • Repeat on other side.

Exercise #9: Dolphin Crunches

Core Exercises: Dolphin Crunches

  • Start in a forearm plank.
  • Lift hips to ceiling, forearms on the floor (option to clasp palms together to stabilize shoulders).
  • Bend knees to floor and stretch them long.

Extra Challenge: Knee bends can be done slowly for 2-4 counts or faster. This is a great exercise to end with as you will balance core strength with flexibility.


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