Reminder: We’ve partnered up with the good peeps at PaleoHacks to bring you some new recipes (like this immunity-boosting soup), workouts (like this leg-day-at-home one), tips, and more! PaleoHacks is a top source for amazing Paleo recipes, fitness tips, and wellness advice to help you live life to the fullest. Read on for a core-strengthening workout that you can do with just exercise bands (we dig these) — and stay tuned for more healthy content from them in the coming weeks.
News flash: Your core is made up of way more muscles than just your abs.
While many view the core as just the muscles of your belly, the core is actually made up all of the muscles between your hips and your ribs — including the pelvic floor, diaphragm, hips, the muscles that surround and support your spine, and, yes, your abs.
Shifting your focus to all of the muscles of the core will give you a strong physical support system. This means that you’ll be less likely to throw out your back, exercise will be more fun, and you’ll have better balance.
Bodyweight core exercises are great, but using exercise bands (like these) can be a super fun, effective, and versatile way to mix it up and target some of those harder to reach core muscles. Also, you can take them anywhere, unlike heavy dumbbells or other workout equipment.
So, grab a light to medium resistance exercise band and a mat and prepare to say hello to a strong core. Practice this routine two to three times per week for maximum results.
Clamshell Bridge: 15 reps
This is the ultimate core exercise, strengthening the abs, hips, glutes, and back, preventing lower back pain.
- To begin, sit on your mat and loop your legs through the band so that it sits around the lower thighs.
- Lay down and bring the soles of your feet together to touch, letting your knees open out into a butterfly position. Reach your arms down alongside your body.
- Press into your palms as you exhale and lift your hips up towards the sky. Squeeze your lower abs and your glutes at the top. Then, exhale to tap the hips back down to the floor before lifting again.
- Repeat for 15 reps. You should feel your entire core activate.
V Pulse: 12 reps
Strengthen your abs and hips with this simple yet challenging exercise.
- Sit on the mat with your knees bent and your feet hip-width distance apart on the floor. Loop your hands into the ends of the band and pull it taut as you reach it overhead. Engage your abs.
- Take an inhale to pulse back a few inches, keeping your spine straight. Then, exhale to pulse back up.
- Repeat for 12 reps.
V Up: 15 reps
You’ll feel your belly burn with this exercise!
- Begin sitting in the same starting position as above. Loop your hands into the ends of the band and hold it taut overhead.
- Inhale to lean back a few inches, lowering the band above your knees. Then, exhale to sit back up and reach the band overhead.
- Make sure that you are keeping your spine straight the entire time. Repeat for 15 reps.
Russian Twists: 30 secs
This exercise strengthens the obliques.
- Sit on the mat with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Hold one end of the band in each hand and reach your arms straight out in front of you. Lean back, keeping your spine straight, and then lift your feet off the floor.
- Exhale to twist your torso to the right. Pull the right side of the band towards the floor, keeping your arms straight. You should feel your abs and arms working.
- Inhale to come back to center, then switch sides. Continue going side-to-side for 30 seconds.
Leg Raises: 15 reps
This exercise targets the lower abs as it uses the entire core to stabilize.
- Lie on your back. Loop your feet through the band around the bottom of your feet and reach your arms down by your sides.
- Straighten your legs up towards the sky. Engage your abs and press your lower back and palms into the ground.
- Inhale to lower your feet about one or two feet above the ground. At the same time, spread your feet apart, putting tension on the band.
- Exhale to lift the legs straight back up towards the sky, using your lower abs and bringing the feet back towards each other. If you feel your lower back strain at all, lower your legs less.
- Repeat for 15 reps.
Abductor Hip Squeeze: 15 reps
This exercise strengthens your outer hips and abs at the same time.
- Lie your back with the band looped around the bottom of your feet. Hold the other end of the band in your hands.
- Lift your legs straight up towards the sky and flex your feet. Exhale to press your feet out to the sides.
- Inhale to bring your legs back together.
- Repeat for 15 reps.
Bonus: To make this more challenging, lower your feet a few inches towards the ground as you do this.
Plank Walk: 30 secs
Adding a band to this traditional exercise makes your core work even harder.
- Kneel down on the mat and loop your band around your hands. Then, place your palms on the mat and step your feet back to come into a high plank position. Engage your abs and keep your hips in line with your shoulders.
- Inhale to step your right hand and right foot out to the right, creating tension on the band. Then, exhale to step your left hand and foot to the right, coming back into your regular high plank position.
- Inhale to step your left and hand and foot to the left, creating tension on the band. Then, exhale and move your right hand and foot to the left.
- Continue going side-to-side for 30 seconds.
Side Plank Pull: 30 seconds per side
Test your balance as you strengthen your core with this exercise.
- Lie on your right side and prop yourself up on your right forearm, bringing it parallel to the top of your mat. Stack your feet and flex them. Hold one end of the band in your right hand.
- Engage your abs as you press into your forearms and lift your hips off the ground. Pick up the other end of the band with your left hand.
- Exhale to row your left elbow up and back, creating tension on the band. Then, exhale to lower it back down, releasing some of the tension.
- Continue pulling up and down for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Superman: 30 seconds
This exercise will strengthen your lower back muscles to protect your spine and prevent back pain.
- Lie on your belly with your arms extended out in front of you and your legs extended back behind you. Loop your hands into your band and pull it apart so that it is taut.
- Inhale as you lift your arms, head, chest, and feet off the ground to come into a superman position. Keep your gaze down and forward so that your neck is straight.
- Exhale to pull the band apart with your hands and spread your legs apart at the same time. Inhale to bring them all back in.
- Hold your superman as you repeat that motion for 30 seconds.
Who knew you could do so much amazing full core work with just an exercise band?! –Kelly Collins