In a previous installment of our ongoing series on bodyweight fitness, we went over upper body exercises. This article was written for the same reason as the rest of this series, because one does not always have access to a gym or gym equipment, for those who travel or spend the night out often, for those just starting back into fitness, or looking for exercises to do on off-days and need to supplement their workouts. But today we are going over core routines specifically, and it just so happens that core exercises tend to mainly consist of workout routines that do not need equipment, weights, or benches to begin with.
The first exercises that we are going to go over are the exercises that focus on your obliques, the part of your abs that are on the side of your stomach. There are several ways to target this using weights, but for our purposes we are going to be going over a few types of sideways planks, stationary, moving sideways planks (45 degree angle), and dipping sideways planks (laying down on side). These are very important if you truly want to have muscle that is actually practical and a body that is not missing huge portions of muscle groups.
The first exercise that you will want to start with is the stationary sideways planks. Sit down on the ground and lay down, with one side of your hips touching the floor, your elbow touching the ground, and your arm forming an L facing outwards away from your body, and your feet extended all the way down but only one touching the ground, essentially forming a plank but on your side. You are going to be measuring how you do in this exercise not by how many reps, but by seconds. To start lift your hips off the ground so that only your elbow and the sides of your feet are touching the floor. Start with 30 seconds to a minute of holding position, keeping your back straight during, and once you set your goal, don’t stop until you reach that time. Remember to keep in mind that nothing bad will happen to you(unless you are in pain unrelated to exhaustion) and you should push through the fatigue. As well after you have done this, flip over to the other side so that you’re facing the other direction and balancing on your other elbow. Repeat on each side three to four times and then move on to the other kind of planks.
Sideways Plank Dips
The second exercise is essentially sideways plank dips, which are going to be the same position but start in the up position and after holding for a second, slowly lower your sides. Repeat by going back up for five seconds, slowly going down and then going back up. It is recommended you do this between 10 to 20 times in at least three sets. A variation using weights would require a 45 degree angle, finding out your hip, and essentially holding the weight in the side of your body that your hip is touching and using your core touching the weight to the ground and dragging it back up.
Target Core Planks
For the core of your abs it is also recommended that you do planks but this time both elbows touching the ground with you looking straight down. Once again do this for 30 seconds to a minute you can increase to however much time you can handle and do 3 or 4 sets. The next step is to find some type of pull-up bar, a common replacement is a swing set support beam, and form a 45 degree angle with your elbows lifting yourself up and supporting yourself with your legs straight down, then do 10 sets of lifting your knees to your elbows while keeping your elbow straight and your core flat and you will be targeting your triceps as well as your core.
The next exercise you’ll be wanting to do to target your core is of course sit ups, though as these are extremely common we will not be going over them in great detail. A good variation is to hold 5 to 10 pounds behind your head and then do the stretch. And one other way to mix it up and target your lower abs is to put yourself at a downward 45 degree facing angle, putting weights behind your head and doing 10 to 20 sets with the time increasing week by week starting at 30 seconds and increasing from there.