The 20 Best Core Exercises and How To Do Them

Übungen fürs Core-Training

Include these 20 core exercises in your next ab workout to strengthen your core and tone your abs. Core exercise help build a strong core that will keep you healthy and pain-free. Sculpt your abs while strengthening your core in the same workout!

Your core is your center of gravity. A strong core allows for stronger functional movement throughout exercise and everyday life. You should constantly engage your core, whether you are doing a workout, standing in the kitchen cooking a meal, or sitting down at work. 

A strong core will help prevent injury and promote more efficient workouts overall.

What you will learn:

The 20 best core exercises you can do without equipment. How to strengthen your core and tone your abs whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced athlete. Learn about core muscles and which muscles each exercise works. Learn about the benefits of having a solid core as a foundation for sports and life. You will even learn how to build your very own core workout with the adidas Training app!

5 Reasons Why You Need to be Doing Core Exercises

1. Core exercises strengthen core muscles

It may seem like a no-brainer, but doing core exercises builds core strength. It’s hard to strengthen a muscle group without doing exercises to strengthen it!

2. Improve posture

Why is a strong core essential? A robust and healthy core means good posture. Good posture means a healthy body, especially a healthy back. Slumping in chairs and arching the neck at screens is horrible for posture—a healthy core helps alleviate that tendency.

3. May improve running/training performance and balance

Core exercises don’t just help tone and sculpt six-pack abs! Core exercises are great for improving overall balance. Running and training require a solid foundation. A strong core helps build and maintain that foundation. The core is used in virtually every movement so it makes sense to strengthen it!

4. Core exercises help reduce injury when combined with full-body strength training

A strong core doesn’t just improve running and other training; it can help decrease the risk of injury. Ultimately, this improves athletic performance since less time injured means more time and energy for safe training. A holistic training plan that includes full-body strength training is a great way to bulletproof the body.

5. Reduce lower back pain and stiffness 

Most people suffer from lower back pain and stiffness. Core strengthening can help alleviate that pain. As mentioned above, it also decreases the risk of getting injured again.

Which Muscles Core Exercises Work

When most people think of core muscles, they think of abs. But the core is made up of more than 12 different muscles! They include deep core muscles as well as outer core muscles. Expect to work the following muscles when performing core exercises:

Deep core muscles

  • Pelvic floor muscles (supports vital organs)
  • Transverse abdominis (the muscles that help protect the spine)
  • Internal obliques (muscles on the sides of the abdomen)
  • Multifidus (deep back muscles)
  • Diaphragm (primary respiration muscle)

Outer core muscles

  • Rectus abdominis (six-pack abs muscles)
  • External obliques (muscles on sides of the abdomen)
  • Erector spinae (lower back muscles)
  • Quadratus lumborum (part of the abdominal wall)
  • Hip muscles including glutes, hamstrings and quads

adidas Training: Find the Best Core Exercises, Build a Core Workout

The adidas Training app has 310 individual exercises and more every day! Plus, do full Guided Workouts that are super fun and core-focused. If that’s not enough, athletes can build a customized core workout with the Workout Creator.

Create a Custom Core Workout in 10 seconds using Workout Creator

  1. Decide how long to work out
  2. Choose Abs & Core
  3. Pick how hard to make the workout
  4. Choose to work out with no equipment or just resistance bands (more equipment coming in the future)
  5. Finally, choose if the workout should be neighbor-friendly (no jumping or noisy exercises)
  6. Generate Workout

adidas Training Workout Creator screenshot

Keep reading to check out some of the most popular core exercises Premium Members love doing! Learn which muscles the exercises work and how hard each exercise is. Plus. each exercise has a video showing you exactly how to perfectly perform the movement!

Core Exercises Circuit Training

It can be overwhelming to find the right core workout. Here is how you can easily build your own core workout step-by-step from the list of exercises below:

  1. Select five exercises that are within your ability level
  2. Perform each exercise for 40 seconds
  3. Without resting, go right into the next exercise
  4. After completing all five exercises, recover for about a minute
  5. Repeat the circuit up to three times

The 20 Best Core Exercises

1. Hollowman

Muscles Worked

This exercise is an isometric hold, which means the core muscle is activating but the body is not moving. This is a great exercise to build a good foundation for your core. It is also great for anyone who gets pain by moving their lower back as it is a static hold.

Exercise Difficulty

This core exercise is great for beginners and advanced athletes. Variations can make the exercise suitable for various athlete levels:

  • Beginners: Bend knees, tuck chin
  • Intermediate: Legs straight, chin slightly tucked, arms by sides and palms face up
  • Advanced: Raise your hands above your head and/or lower legs closer to the ground

Sets & Reps

  • 40 seconds hold
  • 20 seconds rest
  • Perform 3-4 sets

How to do this Core Exercise

Lie on your back with legs at 45-degrees, arms by the side and chin tucked. Your back should be flat on the ground. Tuck hip bones and rib cage together and squeeze stomach, quads and glutes. Breathe deeply to engage the diaphragm. Tuck your chin. Pull shoulders down and away from your ears.

Hollowman

Common Mistakes

  • Not breathing 
  • Having space between the back and the floor. This means the core is not engaged and you are stressing the lower back. 
  • Trying the hardest option before mastering the easier option. Start with the minimum recommendation and work your way up to more reps, sets and difficult variations.

2. High Plank

Muscles Worked

  • Core muscles (Transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal/external obliques)
  • Anterior Deltoids (Shoulders)
  • Pectoralis Muscles (Chest)
  • Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is suitable for intermediate athletes, but it can be made easier with the following variations:

  • Make it easier by performing the move as in the video, except drop the knees 
  • Make it harder by using an unstable surface—like a basketball—to place your hands on 

Sets & Reps

  • Hold for 40-60 seconds
  • 20 second rest
  • 3 sets

How to do this Core Exercise

Place hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, same with legs. Keep neck neutral, slightly looking forward but at the floor. Make sure you keep your butt tucked in, your back flat and your stomach tight to use your core muscles and avoid lower back pain. Make sure you squeeze your legs and glutes, as they are an extension of your core. Rounding your shoulders can feel nice and helps support the lower back.

Common Exercise Mistakes 

  • Sticking your butt out
  • Not activating your leg muscles 
  • Looking up 

3. Glute Bridge

Muscles Worked

  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings 
  • Erector spinae
  • Transverse abdominis (Keeping stomach tight)

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is suitable for beginners. Increasing the difficulty can add additional strength stimulus. Make the exercise more challenging by extending one leg out at the top of the bridge. Switch legs. One set equals both legs extended.

Sets & Reps

  • 20 reps
  • Rest for 20 seconds between sets
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to do this Core Exercise

  • Lie on your back with feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Keep your hands on the ground. Raise your hips slowly by squeezing your glutes (butt) while keeping your core (mid-section) tight.
  • Return to starting position

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep Chin tucked. 
  • Keep hip bones and rib cage tucked together and core engaged. 

Common Exercise Mistakes 

  • Performing too quickly 
  • Not engaging core muscles 
  • Not squeezing glutes at the top 
  • Losing form at the top 

4. Superman pull

Muscles Worked

  • Erector spinae 
  • Glutes 
  • Hamstrings
  • Latissimus dorsi (known as “lats)
  • Shoulders
  • Core muscles

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is suitable for intermediate level athletes. 

Sets & Reps

  • 20 reps
  • Rest for 20 seconds between sets
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to do this Core Exercise

Lie on your stomach with legs straight and arms above your head. Raise your arms and legs up off the ground and engage your back and glute muscles. Pull your elbows backwards and downwards in a “W” shape to activate your back and shoulder muscles. Return to starting position in reverse order.

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep chin tucked tight to stabilize your neck
  • Keep core muscles engaged throughout the movement
  • Squeeze glutes and hamstrings along with back and shoulders 
  • Do not rush the movement

Common Exercise Mistakes

  • Performed too fast
  • Not focusing on squeezing all relevant muscles
  • Ignoring core muscles 

5. V-ups

Muscles Worked

  • Rectus abdominis
  • Transverse abdominis
  • Internal and external obliques 
  • Hip flexors 

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is for advanced athletes. Beginner and intermediate athletes should try normal crunches instead.

Sets & Reps

  • Perform 15-20 reps
  • Rest for 20 seconds between sets
  • Work up to 3 sets 

How to do this Core Exercise

  • Lie on your back with your arms above your head 
  • Legs remain straight with feet together or as close together as possible
  • At the same time, role shoulders off the ground to “crunch” your stomach, and lift your legs off the ground. Try to keep them mostly straight.
  • Form a “V” with your body where your hands and legs come together to touch 
  • Return back to starting position slowly

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep your core engaged throughout the movement.
  • Chin stays tucked
  • Keep legs almost straight
  • Breathe OUT on the way up, and IN on the way down

Common Exercise Mistakes

  • Performing too fast
  • Holding your breath 
  • Not engaging your core
  • Not keeping chin tucked 
  • Bending your legs and performing a standard crunch

6. V-up Hold Arm Pump

Muscles Worked

  • Transverse abdominis 
  • Rectus abdominis 
  • Obliques
  • Quads
  • Hip flexors

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is suitable for intermediate athletes. Beginner athletes should try to work their way up to doing this exercise. Advanced athletes can use this exercise as core maintenance work.

Sets & Reps

  • Hold for 30-40 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds between reps
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to do this Core Exercise

  • Sit on your butt
  • Lean your torso back and lift your legs off the floor at a 45-degree angle (or as close as you can get)
  • Keep legs straight and feet together
  • Engage core muscles 
  • Make sure not to arch your back
  • Hold arms straight and slowly “pump” your arms up and down 

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep core tight throughout the movement
  • Tuck chin 
  • Pull shoulders down and away from your ears (no shrugging)
  • “Curl” hip bones up to rib cage to avoid your back rounding the wrong way

Common Exercise Mistakes

  • Swing arms too fast 
  • Lose core engagement 
  • Not tucking your chin in 
  • Not breathing 

7.  Plank knee crosses

Muscles Worked

  • Transverse abdominis 
  • Rectus abdominis 
  • Obliques
  • Quads
  • Hip flexors

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is suitable for intermediate athletes. Beginner athletes should try to work their way up to doing this exercise. Advanced athletes can use this exercise as core maintenance work.

Sets & Reps

  • Hold for 30-40 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds between reps
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to do this Core Exercise

  • Sit on your butt
  • Lean your torso back and lift your legs off the floor at a 45-degree angle (or as close as you can get)
  • Keep legs straight and feet together
  • Engage core muscles 
  • Make sure not to arch your back
  • Hold arms straight and slowly “pump” your arms up and down 

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep core tight throughout the movement
  • Tuck chin 
  • Pull shoulders down and away from your ears (no shrugging)
  • “Curl” hip bones up to rib cage to avoid your back rounding the wrong way

Common Exercise Mistakes

  • Swing arms too fast 
  • Lose core engagement 
  • Not tucking your chin in 
  • Not breathing 

8. Leg Raises 

Muscles Worked

  • Transverse abdominis
  • Rectus abdominis 
  • Hip flexors 
  • Obliques 

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is suitable for beginner and intermediate athletes. 

Sets & Reps

  • 20 reps per set
  • Recover for 20 seconds in between sets
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to do this Core Exercise

  • Lying flat on your back, start with your legs in the air (90-degrees) and feet together 
  • Arms stay flat by your sides
  • Keep chin tucked in 
  • Core engaged and strong 
  • Keep back flat on the ground. You should not be able to place a hand under your back
  • Slowly lower your legs to just above the floor 
  • Return to starting position 

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Lower your legs as low as possible without arching your back 
  • Keep tummy tight throughout, like bracing for a punch
  • If additional support is needed, put your hands facing down underneath your butt
  • Breathe in on the way down, and breathe out on the way up 

Common Exercise Mistakes 

  • Loosening the core 
  • Not breathing
  • Rolling head back instead of keeping it tucked in

 

9. Low Plank Twist

Muscles Worked

  • Transverse abdominis
  • Rectus abdominis
  • Obliques 
  • Shoulders
  • Glutes
  • Quads 

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is suitable for beginner and intermediate athletes. Advanced athletes will probably find this exercise boring, but they can still do it!

Sets & Reps

  • 30 total (15 reps per side)
  • Rest for 20 seconds between sets
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to do this Core Exercise

  • Start with elbows directly under your shoulders in a low plank position
  • Keep legs straight, toes planted on the ground 
  • Stomach stays tight and engaged, not letting lower back round or your butt stick out
  • Keep your upper back tight and engaged
  • Pull shoulders down away from your ears
  • Slowly tilt hips over to the left side bringing them close to the floor (but not touching the floor), return to the center. Switch to the right side and feel all the core muscles tighten 

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep core, quads, glutes, shoulders all engaged throughout the exercise
  • Return to the middle each time and reset posture to make sure you are engaging the correct muscles

Common Exercise Mistakes 

  • Doing the exercise too fast 
  • Bouncing hip off the ground
  • Not returning to center 
  • Sticking your butt out and losing core engagement
  • Not focusing on squeezing all muscles involved in the movement

10. Low Plank Jack-Taps 

Muscles Worked

  • Core muscles (Transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal/external obliques)
  • Anterior Deltoids (Shoulders)
  • Pectoralis Muscles (Chest)
  • Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is a bit tougher than some of the others. It’s suitable for intermediate athletes, and something beginner athletes should work towards being able to do.

Sets & Reps

  • 30 total
  • Rest for 20 seconds between sets
  • 3 sets

How to do this Core Exercise

Perform this exercise like low plank plus:

  • Pick up your left leg and move it to your left side. Return your left leg to center. Repeat the same motion with your right leg.

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Try not to rock the hips as this means the core is disengaging
  • Keep spine neutral and core engaged throughout
  • Focus on breathing throughout 
  • Squeeze arms, quads, glutes and core together

Common Exercise Mistakes

  • Performing the movement too fast and losing form
  • Not breathing 
  • Rocking the hips and losing core engagement 

11. Low Plank

This exercise is similar to Hollowman in that it is an isometric exercise, which means the muscles are contracting, but the body isn’t moving through its range of motion. It is more challenging than most people think, but there are many ways to make it easier or more challenging (just check out these plank variations you have to try). 

Muscles Worked

  • Transverse abdominis 
  • Rectus abdominis 
  • internal and external obliques
  • Hips: quads, hamstrings, glutes
  • Shoulders

Exercise Difficulty

The humble Low Plank is for all athletes!

Sets & Reps

  • 40 seconds hold
  • 20-second rest 
  • Work up to 3 sets  

How to Perform this Core Exercise

  • Lie on your stomach
  • Prop yourself up onto your elbows. Arms should be shoulder-width apart
  • Feet also shoulder-width apart or slightly closer together
  • When in low plank position, keep your chin tucked in
  • Pull shoulders away from ears
  • Keep core braced: pull belly button inwards towards spine 
  • Tuck your butt “under;” don’t stick your butt out 
  • Squeeze glutes, hamstrings, quads, stomach, and arms
  • Make sure you engage your upper back. You should not feel like you are sticking your chest out.

Common Exercise Mistakes

  • Not using all muscles that should be engaged
  • Sticking out your butt means you’re not bracing your core 
  • Not breathing or holding your breath 
12. Ankle Touches 

Muscles worked

  • Oblique muscles 
  • Transverse abdominis 
  • Rectus abdominis 

Exercise Difficulty

Ankle Touches are suitable for all levels of athlete. They can be made easier or harder with a few simple modifications to the exercise. 

  • Make it easier: bring heels closer to your butt
  • Make it harder: move your heels further away to increase the range your obliques need to move

Sets & Reps

  • 30 total (15 per side) 
  • Rest for 20 seconds between sets
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to Perform this Core Exercise

  • Lie flat on your back with your knees bent 
  • Arms remain straight down by sides
  • Lift upper back and head off the floor (tuck chin in but do not curl shoulders forward. Keep spine neutral)
  • Using oblique core muscles to bend, reach with the right hand down to reach the right heel slowly and return to starting position
  • Repeat on left side

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep spine neutral with chin slightly tucked in (double chin tucked in, not curled in)
  • Use obliques to move, don’t just move without intention
  • Breathe

Common Exercise Mistakes

  • Aimlessly moving through the motion
  • Completely curling back when lifting slightly off the ground

 

13. Bicycle Crunches

Muscles Worked

  • Rectus abdominis
  • Obliques 
  • Leg muscles, hip flexors

Exercise Difficulty

  • This exercise is excellent for beginner and intermediate athletes. Advanced athletes might find it too easy.

Sets & Reps

  • 30 total
  • Rest for 20 seconds between sets
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to Perform this Core Exercise

  • Lie on your back and lift legs off the ground so there is a 90-degree angle at the hip and knee joints
  • Place hands behind your head but keep elbows out wide 
  • Lift head and upper back off the ground and engage core muscles 
  • Use obliques to perform a “crunch” motion while bringing right elbow and left knee close together at the same time. While making this motion, straighten the right leg. 
  • Return to starting position
  • Repeat on the opposite side

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep elbows wide
  • Perform “crunch” motion to ensure you are using oblique muscles along with rectus abdominis 
  • Always keep neck comfortable by performing “double chin” motion, do not just role head up and tuck your chin in. Picture making a double chin vs. nodding to say “yes.”

Common Exercise Mistakes

One common mistake is to perform Bicycle Crunches too fast. This is not a speedy exercise despite what you see in some gyms! Keep it in slow motion. It is good sometimes to count how long it takes to move through the movement. For example, it should take about 2 seconds for your right elbow to meet your left knee. 

14. High Plank Walk 

Muscles Worked

High Plank Walk works the same muscles as High Plank. In addition, it also works shoulders, chest and arms. It’s a great exercise that works the whole body!

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is excellent for intermediate athletes. Beginner athletes should work their way up to this exercise.

Sets & Reps

  • Perform the “walking” motion for 40 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds before starting the next set
  • Work up to 3 sets 

How to Perform this Core Exercise

  • Setup in a High Plank position. Keep hips and core tight. Try not to use rocking or momentum to move.
  • Move left hand (and foot) out to left side (approximately half of a shoulder’s width away), and bring right hand (and foot) with it so as the distance from the two hands is the same as the starting position. 
  • Repeat this twice to the left, followed by twice to the right. 
  • Always keep your core tight, butt tucked under, shoulderblades strong (as if pushing the ground away)

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Pull shoulders down away from ears 
  • Keep hips “stuck” and not rocking 
  • Take your time
  • Always think: “suck belly button in to meet spine” to keep core engaged

Common Exercise Mistakes 

  • Too rushed and “messy.” This means your core is not engaged 
  • Butt sticking out, meaning the core is not engaged.

 

15. Low Side Plank

This is an isometric exercise like the Low and High Plank.

Muscles Worked

  • Transverse abdominis 
  • Internal and external obliques
  • Glutes 
  • Adductors 
  • Quads 
  • Hamstrings

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is great for beginners and intermediate level athletes. Beginners can make Low Side Plank easier by being on their knees like in Half Plank.

Sets & Reps

  • Hold for 40 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds between sets
  • Work up to 3 sets 

How to Perform this Core Exercise

  • Lie on your side with legs straight 
  • Tuck elbow in and prop your body up so as the elbow is directly under/in line with the shoulder
  • Keep neck neutral so spine is straight. Look straight ahead.
  • Keep core engaged. Make sure you squeeze your hip bone, rib cage and stomach. Pull belly button back towards your spine.
  • While your core is engaged, also make sure your chest is wide and you are not hunched inwards 
  • Squeeze core, glutes, quads, hamstrings, arms

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Pull shoulders down and away from your ears 
  • Keep your body as straight as possible

Common Exercise Mistakes 

  • Holding your breath: it is important to breathe here and use your diaphragm
  • Letting hips dip towards the ground means you are not engaging the obliques 
  • Sticking your butt out puts unnecessary pressure on the lower back 

16. Starfish Crunch 

Muscles Worked

  • Rectus abdominus
  • Transverse abdominus
  • Internal and external obliques
  • Hip flexors

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is suitable for intermediate athletes. It is also a movement that beginners should work towards being able to complete as they progress.

Sets & Reps

  • 30 total
  • 20 second rest
  • 3 sets 

How to Perform this Core Exercise

  • Lie flat on your back in an “X” shape 
  • Leading with your right arm, roll your upper back off the floor into a cross-body crunch motion 
  • While leaning up, bring your left leg straight up (keeping it mostly straight), and reach your right hand to meet left ankle 
  • Return to start 
  • Repeat on opposite side 

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep chin tucked safely so as to not strain neck 
  • Keep core tight at all times, even when lying flat in “X” shape
  • Focus on cross-body crunch feeling and do not rush the motion or else momentum will take over
  • Try to keep legs as straight as possible

Common Exercise Mistakes

  • Using momentum 
  • Not breathing 
  • Bending legs

 

17. Swimmers

Muscles Worked

  • Obliques
  • Transverse abdominus
  • Back extensor muscles (erector spinae)
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings 

Exercise Difficulty

This is an excellent beginner core exercise! It’s excellent for any athlete, but beginners will significantly benefit.

Sets & Reps

  • 40 seconds
  • 20 seconds rest
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to Perform this Core Exercise

  • Lie on your stomach with your arms above your head 
  • Engage your core muscles
  • Keep your chin tucked and spine neutral 
  • Keep your shoulder blades engaged and away from your ears
  • Gently lift your chest off the ground while engaging your core and back muscles
  • Lift arms and legs slightly above ground 
  • Gently “swim” or pump right arm up while at the same time “swim” left leg up in controlled manner 
  • Return to center and repeat on opposite side

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep core engaged. Your belly button should be sucked-in towards the back of your spine. Your hip bones and rib cage should come as close together as possible. 
  • Squeeze glutes throughout
  • Don’t forget to breathe! 

Common Exercise Mistakes

  • Holding breath 
  • Trying to look ahead and not at the floor. This can lead to neck pain. 
  • Performing the exercise too fast and losing core engagement 

18. Windshield wipers 

Muscles Worked

  • Rectus abdominis 
  • Internal and external obliques
  • Erector spinae
  • Hip flexors

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is for advanced athletes only. Beginner and intermediate athletes should work there way up to being able to perform Windshield Wipers correctly. Take care if it is your first time trying this movement.

Sets & Reps

  • 10 reps per side
  • rest for 20 seconds between sets
  • Perform up to 3 sets

How to Perform this Core Exercise

  • Lie flat on your back with arms out by your sides at a 90-degree angle to your body 
  • Lift your legs straight up in the air, also at a 90-degree angle at the hip joint 
  • Ensure your back is flat against the ground. Tuck butt in by bringing your hip bones and rib cage close together. Squeeze your belly button towards the back of your spine.
  • Keeping your arms on the ground and legs straight, slowly bring both legs down to the right side so your body forms an “L” shape
  • Return to center and repeat on the other side, as if you are windshield wipers on a car

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Keep your core engaged throughout 
  • Try to think “slow on the way down, faster on the way back up.” Don’t go too fast or else momentum takes over .
  • Breathe in on the way down, and breathe out on the way back to center

Common Exercise Mistakes 

  • Performing the exercise too fast
  • Too much rocking and using momentum
  • Disengaging your core 

19. Low-Plank Double Knee 

Muscles Worked

  • As per low plank plus hip flexors 

Exercise Difficulty

  • This exercise is great for intermediate athletes to test themselves. It is more challenging than other intermediate moves, but not as difficult as some of the more advanced exercises.

Sets & Reps

  • 10 per side (Right side x 10, then Left side x 10, or right and left interchangeably)
  • Rest 20 seconds between sets
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to Perform this Core Exercise

Perform this core exercise just like low plank and add the following movements:

  • Keeping upper body engaged and stiff, bring your right knee up to meet right elbow
  • Return to start position then bring right knee across to meet opposite elbow
  • Return to starting position and repeat on the same side, 10 times (OR, do left and right interchangeably

Form Tips and Cues

  • Do not move your upper body too much, try to keep engaged and stiff 
  • Really focus on oblique muscles. Feel the “crunch” motion when your knee is meeting your elbow. 
  • Do not rush 
  • Breathe throughout

Common Exercise Mistakes 

Once the body starts to feel like it is moving forward, it probably means you are using momentum and not the muscles that need to be doing the work.

20. Crunches 

Muscles Worked

  • Rectus abdominus
  • Obliques 

Exercise Difficulty

This exercise is great for beginners. Most people do their first crunch in school and it’s still a great movement! 

Sets & Reps

  • 15-30 reps
  • 20 second rest between sets
  • Work up to 3 sets

How to Perform this Core Exercise

  • Lying flat on back, bring your hands behind your head with elbows wide (or gently behind ears so you avoid using your head to pull) 
  • Bend knees up while keeping your feet flat on the floor 
  • Tuck your chin in 
  • Engage core before moving by pulling belly button towards spine 
  • Gently lift upper shoulders off the ground and form a “crunch” motion before returning to starting position 

Form Tips and Cues 

  • Think of this as an exercise where you are crunching your stomach by rolling your back off the ground, one spine bone at a time. This way, you wont rush through the movement and you can focus on the core muscles being engaged. 
  • Try not to use momentum and do not pull your head. Your hands are not there to pull your head up, the work is done at the core.

Common Exercise Mistakes 

  • Using momentum 
  • Moving too fast 
  • Not breathing 
  • Pulling your head forward/using arms to try do the movement

Find the Perfect Core Workout for You

Not sure where to start? The adidas Training app has tons of great workouts to help you achieve your goals. Head to the adidas Training app to start working on your core!

Check out these posts for even more core!

***

RATE THIS ARTICLE NOW

Morgan Cole Cole has over a decade of experience as an endurance athlete. What moves him is moving you. View all posts by Morgan Cole