There's a reason why trainers are constantly telling you to "fire up your core." Why? Because the benefits of doing so extend long after you step off of the mat. By turning on your abdominal muscles—even during moves that aren't core specific, like squats or push-ups—you're training those same muscles to fire up during your daily movements, like walking up the stairs or sitting down in a chair. This, in turn, trains your entire body to work together, which can help increase overall stability, alleviate low-back pain, and improve your posture, and this week's Trainer of the Month Club workout is dedicated to helping you get there.
Over the course of the 15-minute session, Amber Rees and Lindsey Clayton, senior instructors at Barry's and co-founders of Brave Body Project will lead you through a core workout routine at home. Your sweat sesh will feature some classic core movements, like side planks, plus total-body moves like lunges and renegade rows that will help you draw awareness to your core. During each exercise, remember to check in with your core, because the more you remind yourself to engage those muscles, the better they'll get at turning on on their own.
"If I had to pick one, a core workouts would be my all-time favorite," says Rees. And after you finish this 15-minute core workout routine at home, they might just be your all-time favorite, too.
Take a sneak peek at some of the moves
1. Cat-cow to bear plank: We're starting off today's workout with some spinal mobility combined with traditional core work. Get your cat-cow party started on all fours. Push your spine up to the sky and drop your head for your cat, reverse the position by drawing your belly toward the floor for your cow, and then—in a neutral spine—lift your knees an inch off the ground for your bear plank.
2. Alternating step-up: This next move is going to test your balance by transitioning from a straight-arm plank to standing. Starting in a plank, alternate bringing one foot at a time in between your hands, and bring yourself up to standing on that foot. Still balancing on that same leg, slowly come back down to the ground, get back in your plank, and switch sides.
3. Squat with rotation: Using a weight or opting for bodyweight-only, pop down into your squat. On the way up, bring your knee up to touch your opposite elbow. Twisting in an upright-position is a great way to turn on those obliques.
4. Lunge with rotation: Continuing to train your core and lower-body to work together, step your right foot back into your reverse lunge, creating a 90-degree angle with both legs. Using your weight (or not), twist over towards your front knee and come back to center. Bring your right leg back and hit your reverse lunge on the other side.
5. Single-leg deadlift, right side: It's hamstring time! Placing 95 percent of your bodyweight in your right leg, pop your left leg behind you like a kickstand. Either holding onto your weight or keeping your hands behind your head, hinge over with a flat back. When you start to feel that burn in the backside of your standing leg, use your core to bring your upper body back up.
6. Renegade row, right side: This move is tough—but luckily, so are you. Up in your straight arm plank, keep your entire body still while you row your weight up with your right hand up to waist-level. If you're not using a weight, just bring your right hand up to waist-level and bring it back down. To modify this move, bring your knees down to the ground.
7. Side Plank, right side: No core workout is complete without some sort of plank. Coming up on your right elbow, send your body straight out to the side. Once you feel solid, slowly dip your right hip to the ground and come back up. To take some pressure off your right shoulder, you can do this one on your knees too.
8.Lever crunch, right: Lay on your back and turn yourself into the letter 'X.' Crunch up and tap your right arm to your left foot and come back down. Once you hit your single-leg deadlift, renegade row, side plank, and lever crunch on your left side, you're all done.
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