15-Minute Core & Balance Routine
I have a lovely friend, Eva, who took the time to create great workout for the blog centered around balance. What better way to balance out your lifestyle than by literally giving your core a workout?
Eva has a Bachelors of Science in Health & Exercise Sciences and is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer…so you know she knows what she’s talking about. ;)
Below you can learn the benefits of each move, find a way to integrate it in to your own core workout, learn how to care for your core, and/or simply do the full-fledged, at-home core exercise!
Alright, here's Eva:
15-Minute At-Home Core Routine
One thing I like to point out with core exercises is the importance to take the movements nice and slowly in the beginning, this is your workout and not a race, there is no need to try and smash through everything as quickly as possible. You will get far more benefit out of taking your time to do the movements correctly.
What You'll Need
A mat if you like. Otherwise – just yourself!
- 10 (5 each side) Single leg Romanian dead lift
- 10 (5 each side) Standing side crunches
- 20 mountain climbers
- 20 Dead bugs
- 20 Heel taps
- 20 Penguin Sliders
- 20 Superman Swimmers
- 20 reverse crunches
- 10 (5 each side) plank to knee tap
Complete as many rounds as possible in 4 minutes.
Round 1 (four minutes)
1 Minute rest
Round 2 (four minutes)
1 Minute rest
Round 3 (four minutes)
Finish strong with a plank for at least 20 seconds, longer if you can!
*Some may know the exercises listed above by a different name, these are simply the names that I have been using in my fitness journey.
Scroll down to learn what each position is and how to best complete the action.
Single leg Romanian dead lift
Works balance and obliques
This is a weight training exercise but for this routine we will simply be doing the movement to help with our balance and core.
To start, shift your weight onto one foot and begin leaning forward until your other foot comes off the ground. The goal is to reach down towards your toes on the grounded foot while your other leg is straightened behind you and your ankle is almost level with your hip, and then lower that leg again to come back to standing. Some tips for this exercise is go keep your hips level, there may be a tendency to have your hip on your lifted leg elevated about the other, try and keep them square as much as possible. If you would like to make this exercise more challenging, do not step your foot all the way back down, simply hover your foot before going into the next rep.
Standing side crunch
Works balance and obliques
Stand with feet hip width apart and hands behind your ears so your elbows are pointing out. Simply lift one knee up and out the side, you can lift as far as your hip feels comfortable, and lower your elbow on the same side as if you are going to touch your knee to your elbow and then release and repeat.
Works lower abdominals and hip flexors
This is a nice on to integrate into core routines because it also helps keep your heartrate up throughout your routine, which leads to burning more calories if that is your goal.
To begin start in a plank position, (on hands and toes) with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your hips down so your booty isn’t straight up in the air. With a quick pace, drive one knee up towards your elbow on the same side and then back to plank and switch to the other side. If you want more of a challenge, drive your knee toward the opposite elbow so that your knee is reaching across your torso, this will engage your obliques (abdominal muscles on your sides) a little more.
Works lower abdominals
Lie flat on your back and lift your knees up so they are directly over your hips and your shins are parallel with the ceiling or sky above you. Next lift your arms up so they are straight above you (your thighs and arms should be parallel to each other). Slowly straighten one leg out as you lower it to the ground, hovering a few inches about the ground. As you do this, you should simultaneously lower the opposite arm above your head a few inches about the ground as well. So you are dropping your right leg and left arm together and left leg and right arm together. Hold the arm and leg about the ground for about a second and then lift them back to the starting position and switch sides. During this exercise, be sure that your lower back stays flushed to the ground and does not round up when lowering your legs, if it does, do not drop your leg as low.
Works lower abdominals
Same position for the dead bugs, on your back with knees lifted and shins parallel to the ceiling. Your arms however can be flat on the ground next to you or wherever they feel most comfortable. Slowly lower one leg at a time keeping your knee bent until your heel kisses or hovers about the ground and lift back up to starting position and switch sides. Again, be sure to keep your lower back flushed to the mat here and lower the leg less if needed. The further away from your glutes you tap your heel to the ground, the greater the challenge.
Works lower abdominals and obliques
Lie on your back with your hands down by your side and your knees bent with your feet on the ground. Lift your shoulders off the ground and reach with one hand down toward your heel on the same side (right hand reaches for right heel, left hand reaches for left heel) and then swivel to tap the other side. The most important thing with this exercise is to keep those shoulders off the ground.
Works back and shoulders
Flip your burger and lie on your stomach now. Lift your arms above you (elbows should be next you’re the ears) and lift your knees and feet off the ground so you can kind of rock back and forth on your stomach like a deformed sailboat. Slightly lower one leg with the opposite arm (right leg and left arm and left leg and right arm) and lift back up and switch, just like you are swimming!
Works back and shoulders
Still lying on your stomach, lift your shoulders and chest off the ground, legs stay on the ground so you are in a bit of a cobra pose. You can lift your hands by your ears or let them hover by your shoulder with elbows by your side. Slowly lower your chest and chin toward the ground and lift back you, a little crunch for the back muscles.
Plank to Knee Tap
Works just about everything 😊
Plank positions once again (on hands and toes)! Shift your hips up and back so that you go into a downward dog position and lift one hand off the ground to tap the opposite knee (right hand to left knee, left hand to right knee) once you place your hand back on the ground shift forward into a plank position once again, hold for a second and go back to downward dog and tap. The key here is to not use your upper body to push your hips up to downward dog but to power the transitions with your abs, lifting your hips and pulling yourself forward without the use of the arms and legs.
The plank at the end is dealer’s choice, you can be on your knees, toes, hands, elbows, whatever you feel comfortable with! Be sure to keep your hips down and your heels driving back.
Fun Facts About Your Core
Your abdominal muscles are considered an endurance muscle.When weight training it is recommended that you give each muscle group (like your arms, legs, glutes) a few days to recover. The general rule is 48 hours before training that muscle group again. However, we use our abs every single day when we walk, sit down, stand up, we are constantly engaging them, so they are considered an endurance muscle and can therefore be trained at a higher frequency than other muscle groups. Of course, you should always take time to recover whenever you feel it is necessary, especially if you are sore.
Your back is considered part of your core...so don’t forget it when exercising! Just like everything else in life, balance is a huge part of exercise and it is important to exercise opposing muscle groups to balance you out. You know those beefy blokes at the gym who have their shoulders hunched forward? They lack balance. They have focused so much on building their chest muscles and neglected their upper back muscles, so their chest muscles have grown and tightened, pulling their shoulders forward, they would look totally normal if they sprinkled some upper back exercises in their routine. Balance is key motherfuckers. Namaste.
Arnold said it best, “Abs are made in the kitchen”.You can do as many crunches as you want but a healthy, clean diet is going to impact your abs in ways that exercise cannot. If you eat right and exercise, your body will reward you in time.
Enjoy everyone! Hope you feel the burn ;)
-Eva (& Grace)