You might not realize it, but you activate your core muscles multiple times a day in different ways. Any time you bend over, lift something, or even stand up, you engage your core. Not to mention, any time you hop on a bike, these muscles are working to stabilize your body and drives your legs forward to keep pedaling.
All this regular activation means it’s harder to fully fatigue your core. So while you definitely want to have rest days for your legs or upper body, you can get away with doing a daily core workout that’s short at an easy to moderate effort level.
“This [workout] can be done every day. I use a lot of these exercises in my warmups for core activation,” says Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., CEO and founder of TS Fitness in New York City.
Tamir put together this short workout that targets the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen. You can do these moves at any time, whether it’s before a ride or other cross-training session or as a standalone core workout. And you can play around with intensity each day as to not totally overwork those muscles.
It’s important to note: You don’t need to do a core workout every single day if you are unable to for any reason. Daily workouts are great motivation to make an exercise habit stick, but if you need to give your muscles a break, do say and take a day or two off until you fully recover.
[Looking to start cross training but don’t know where to start?The Beginner’s Guide to Strength Trainingwill teach you all the fundamentals to get the most out of your weight session, priming you for stronger miles in the saddle.]
How to do it: Perform each move below for the recommended number of reps daily. Each exercise is demonstrated by Tamir so you can learn perfect form. You don’t need any equipment. An exercise mat is optional.
Start in high plank position, shoulders over wrists. With core and glutes engaged the entire time, lift left hand up and tap right shoulder. Return to starting position. Then bring right hand up and tap left shoulder. Alternate shoulder taps for a total of 20 reps—10 reps per side.
Start on your side with your left forearm on the ground, forming a straight line from your head to your feet, feet stacked on top of each other. Your left elbow should be directly under your shoulder. Lift hips as high as you can and raise your right arm straight up in the air. Keeping your right leg straight, raise it as high as you can and then lower it back down, keeping core engaged the entire time. Do 15 leg lifts per leg.
Lie faceup with knees bent and feet on floor. Engage glutes and press through heels to send hips straight up into a glute bridge. Engage core and lift left leg off the ground so it makes a 90-degree angle. Lower it back down to starting position. Repeat on right leg. Alternate marches for a total of 20 reps—10 reps per side.
Start in forearm plank position on your right side. Engaging your core and glutes, lift left foot up off the ground. Return to starting position. Lift right foot off the ground. Alternate leg lifts for a total of 20 reps—10 reps per side.
Lie faceup with head against a wall. Bring palms of hands to wall and lift legs up to a 90-degree angle. Engaging your core, extend left leg and lower it down until it’s a few inches off the ground. Return to starting position. Extend and lower right leg. Alternate legs for a total of 20 reps—10 reps per side.
Start in a high plank position with hands shoulder-width apart and legs directly behind you, knees bent. Push toes of the right foot into the floor while squeezing the left thigh and glute. Move the right hand and the left leg forward to start crawling. Alternate moving arms and legs while keeping back straight. Crawl forwards and backwards 8 times.