Here are four core exercises you can do that will take you five minutes and will work on activating your core muscles.

1) The Front Plank

2) The Side Plank

3) The “Superperson”

4) A to Z – it’s that easy!

The Front Plank

Beginners: kneel on the floor and lean forward on your forearms keeping your spine straight. Intermediates: follow the same position but on your toes as in a push-up position. Advanced: try intermediate position while stabilizing your forearms on an exercise ball making you work harder to stay steady or you can stay on the floor and rock side to side on your forearms. Hold the position until you can’t hold it any longer – for example when your arms or legs begin to shake. Repeat three times.

The Side Plank

Beginners: lie down on your left side, and lift your hips and thighs off the ground by holding yourself up on your left forearm (knees are on the floor). Intermediates: take the same position but make sure you keep your knees off the floor and put your weight on your left forearm and feet. Advanced: try holding a light dumbbell and moving it around to offset the center of gravity, making you work harder. Hold as long as you can and repeat three times on each side. Take a 30 to 60 second break between repetitions.

The “Superperson”

Beginners: get down on your hands and knees (like the yoga ‘table position’). Lift your right arm and left leg up: hold. Make sure that your hips don’t drop. Stay level from left to right with a straight back. Intermediates: use the same position on an exercise ball to increase the level of difficulty. Advanced: use the ball as intermediates, but add hand-weights and move your arm side to side while in the position to alter your center of gravity even more. Alternate sides and do 12 reps each side.

A to Z – It’s That Easy!

Beginners: sit on an exercise ball with your core muscles fully engaged and simply “write” the alphabet from A to Z with your hips moving back and forth and side to side. Intermediates: you can increase the challenge by holding small dumbbells in front of you while “writing” the alphabet with your hips. Advanced: as intermediates, move the dumbbells from side to side while doing your A to Z. This is also a great exercise for muscle coordination.

FitnessCore strength – improve your core with these 4 fast exercises