Summer is always around the corner, and that means it’s almost time to hit the beach, do some yard work outside, and go for some morning runs. All of these activities have one thing in common: they’re a lot better when you don’t have to wear your shirt.
Of course, you’ll want to feel confident and proud to show off your body when the time comes, and there’s no better way to do that than shedding some fat and toning your abs. That’s why doing core workouts during your next training session is essential for improving your overall physique, as well as tons of other benefits.
Don’t know where to start? Not a problem. Grab your resistance bands and do this 30-minute core workout to turn your flab into rock-hard abs.
Core stretches help loosen your muscles and gear them up for everything that lies ahead. There are plenty of core stretches, but one of our personal favorites is the child’s pose, as it stretches both your abdomen as well as your lower back.
To do a child’s pose stretch:
- Sit on your knees with toes pointing back. Place your hands square under your shoulders on the floor.
- Push your hips and glutes back as far as you can towards your ankles.
- Hold this position for about 30 seconds and then return to start. Repeat three times.
After you’ve given yourself a proper stretch, you can move onto the warm-up.
When you warm up, you’re quite literally raising your internal body temperature by increasing your heart rate. This dilates your blood vessels which ensures adequate oxygen supply to your muscles while also giving them optimal flexibility. This helps prevent injury during your intense workout.
Before a core workout, you want to make sure that the muscles in your abdomen are getting some attention specifically while also raising your heart rate. For that reason, we really like plank jacks to get the best of both worlds.
To do some plank jacks:
- Get into a high plank position, hands square under your shoulders. Engage your abs and keep your spine straight
- Jump both feet outward as if you were doing a horizontal jumping jack.
- Bring your feet back together. Repeat 20-30 times, or until you feel your heart rate rising.
The warm-up in total shouldn’t take you much longer than five minutes, but feel free to incorporate more stretches or warm-up exercises to your heart’s content.
Once you’ve worked up a sweat and you’ve gotten your core all set for the challenges ahead, it’s time to get to work. You can do these exercises in any order that you want. Just make sure you have your Gorilla Bow handy.
The traditional crunch is one of the first ab exercises you learn in P.E. class, but the pike crunch takes it a step further and incorporates some resistance. This exercise targets the rectus abdominis, or your abdomen, paying particular attention to the lower portion.
To do a pike crunch:
- Lay flat on the ground and have the band secured beneath your lower back. Grip the bar with your hands in front of your chest.
- Engage your core, keep your back straight, and push forward into a sit-up position.
- Hold the bar at the top of the movement for one breath before slowly returning to the starting position.
- Repeat for three sets of eight to ten reps.
For a more difficult variation that targets more of the upper abdomen, you can raise your legs in the air and push the bar towards your toes.
Rowing is an exercise that works almost every single muscle in your entire upper body, but it pays particular attention to your core and back muscles. The problem is that row machines are expensive and are too big to fit anywhere in your home.
But it’s a good thing you don’t even need one when you have the Gorilla Bow.
Strap on some heavier bands for this one, and let’s get to work with the seated row:
- Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent. Secure the band under your feet.
- Keeping your core engaged and your spine straight, pull the bar towards your septum.
- Hold for one breath, then gently return to starting position.
- Repeat for three sets of six to eight reps.
This will help to strengthen your back muscles and shoulders while also stabilizing your core. You’ll want to go for heavy resistance with this exercise.
In a world dominated by crunch variations, the oblique muscles on the sides of the abdomen often go unnoticed. It’s time to give them the attention they deserve, as your oblique muscles help support your back and overall posture.
The bow twist is a great resistance exercise to get your obliques burning:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with the band secured underneath. Place the bar behind your neck, resting on your shoulders.
- Keeping your lower body stable, engage your core, and twist your upper body 90 degrees to the right.
- Slowly return to the starting position, then twist the body to the left in the same fashion. That’s one rep.
- Repeat for three sets of ten reps.
This is another exercise where you’ll want a lot of resistance to really feel the burn in your obliques. You can also hold the bar at your chest instead of your back to activate your biceps and shoulders during the exercise.
Resistance Band High Plank
Let’s face it, planks are tough. And that’s why so many people are afraid to even do them. The thing is that planks are one of the best core exercises because not only does it help to strengthen almost every portion of your core, but it also helps with stability and balance. You can’t add weight to a plank, but you can add resistance.
Here’s how to do a plank with the Gorilla Bow:
- Secure the band behind your back and hold the bar with your hands. Get into a high plank position with hands and bar square under your shoulders and legs straight out behind you.
- Keep your spine straight and your core engaged. Hold for 45 seconds.
- Take a 15-second rest and then repeat for three sets.
You can do a lot from this position as well. Maybe try to do some plank jacks just like you did during the warm-up, or do a resistance band push-up instead of holding the plank.
Regardless, we like to save the planks for the end. It’s true that they’re often the hardest to complete, but you feel super satisfied when you’re all done.
After those exercises, you’ll be begging to go home and take a nice long nap. You can spend the rest of your day however you’d like, but just because the meat of the workout is over doesn’t mean you can wrap up just yet.
When you give yourself time to cool down with stretches, it lets your body gradually return to homeostasis and reduces the risk of feeling ill or lightheaded. Plus, since your body is already warmed up and loose, now’s a good time to increase your muscle flexibility.
A good stretch during a cool down from this core intensive workout is the seated forward bend:
- Sit on the floor with your legs slightly bent.
- Keep your spine straight and lean forward, trying to touch your toes.
- Hold for up to one minute, and return to the starting position.
This stretch loosens your lower back muscles, which is great after doing the rows and crunches. But it also gives your hips some attention, which is a major component of your core in the same way as your abs and lower back.
Your core is aptly named, as it’s an essential component of your entire body. Your core helps to enhance your posture as well as improve the movements of almost every other body part that stems from this area of the body.
This exercise routine shouldn’t take you longer than thirty minutes to complete, but you’ll definitely be putting in the work. And the best part is that you can do all of it right from your living room.
If you want more exercises to help expand your arsenal of resistance training exercises, the Gorilla Bow All-Access Membership is your one-stop-shop for live and on-demand fitness classes. Whether you’re a beginner or a fitness junkie, these programs will have you feeling and looking better in no time.