Your core and your lower body muscles are the trunk of your entire body, holding you upright and allowing for seamless mobility. This is why fitness trainers are always preaching the importance of both core and leg exercises, because the stronger these muscles are, the easier you’ll move through life. As it happens, our Trainer of the Month Charlee Atkins is bringing us a core and leg workout you can do at home.
The good news? This workout is all bodyweight exercises, so you truly don’t need anything at all. And you can fit it in whenever, since it’s just 10 minutes of 10 moves, all of which work your most important major muscle groups—including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, obliques, and lower abs. Oh, and you’ll squeeze in some balancing work while you’re at it. Keep scrolling to get burning.
Try this core and leg workout at home
Do each exercise for 45 seconds each, with a 15 second recovery.
1. Knee drive + rotation: Start by bracing your core while standing up. Keep your hands on your core to ensure that it’s stable, then pull one knee up towards your chest, bringing it right in line with your hip. Pull your knee up then open it out to the side for a rotation, tapping the foot behind you, and bringing it back up and around. Switch legs. For a modification, you can simply lift your knee without rotating it.
2. Squat + oblique crunch: Bring your feet a little wider than hip-width distance apart. Bring your hands behind your head and come down into a squat, then lift one knee up towards your elbow, crunching the side of your body. Squat back down, then bring your opposite knee up into a crunch. When you squat, make sure that your chest stays up and your knees press out, tailbone reaching back.
3. Plank climbers: Come into a plank position, bringing your forearms down to the ground, shoulders in line with your hips. Pull one knee in towards the chest, place it back behind you, then switch feet. Make sure that you’re using your hip motion to pull the knee in without raising your hips too high. For a modification, you can hold a forearm plank for 45 seconds.
4. Glute bridge + crunch: Come onto your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips towards the ceiling with your core engaged, slowly lower back down, bringing your hands behind your head to crunch up. So your hips raise into a glute bridge, then you crunch. For more of a challenge, do three crunches followed by one hip raise. With the crunches, make sure that your chin isn’t too far onto your chest—open your chest to the ceiling as you lift your heart up to the sky.
5. Hollow hold: On your back with your legs extended, feet flat, lift your hips so that your lower back presses into the mat. Then, your shoulder blades come up as your arms come up overhead. Hold this position the entire time. For a modification, you can lower your feet down and just lift your shoulder blades up while keeping your core engaged. If you want to, you can lift one leg up and then the other.
6. Pike up: Flip over into a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists. From here, your tailbone goes up to the sky, tiptoeing as you bring your hips up into a pike, then slowly come right back into a plank. So as you walk up, you’re putting your weight into your hands, then slowly walking back. If you’re on a kitchen floor, you can slide your feet, but otherwise, just tiptoe.
7. Reverse lunge + single-leg deadlift—left: From a standing position, step back into a reverse lunge as your left knee kisses the ground. Take that heel back straight into a single-leg deadlift, then come back to standing and repeat. Keep your right leg balancing underneath you and maintain a neutral gaze the entire time. In the deadlift, make sure that your toe is flexed and your head moves in the same line as your heel.
8. Reverse lunge + single-leg deadlift—right: Repeat this exercise with your right leg.
9. Plank jack: Set up into high plank position with your shoulders right over your wrists. Step one foot out to the side, bring it back, then do the other foot, switching back and forth. You could also choose to hop both feet out at the same time. Keep your hips low and your head neutral as your shoulders stay in line with your hips. Don’t let your butt raise too high—keep your body as straight as possible.
10. Butterfly sit-up: Come down onto the mat with the soles of your feet together, knees splayed out in butterfly position on your back. Bring your hands behind your head and crunch up by lifting your heart to the ceiling, gazing up. Or, you can sit all the way up, tapping the other side of the mat in a full sit-up, then lower back down. And repeat.
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