The core muscles make up everything but your arms and legs. The abdominals, pelvic floor, lats and spinal erectors to name just a few. Visualize that for a second. Your torso, front and back, including your glutes are your core muscles. 

Performing countless crunches in an effort to build that coveted six-pack isn’t the best use of your time and effort. Training the core and etching in the details of your abdominal muscles will require patience, execution of perfect form in everything you do and a focus on progressive overload. 

You’ll also need to pay close attention to your nutrition if you want to strip away body fat and reveal your hard work, but I’ll save that for a future Blog post.

For now, let me introduce five unique core exercises you may have never tried: 

The Half-Kneelng Pallof Press is an anti-rotation exercise that will help improve hip stability. Squeeze the glute of the trailing leg, and maintain perfect form in your upper body, slowly extending your arms out and then bringing them back in to your chest. You are using your core to resist rotation here, so continue to keep your glute engaged throughout the duration of the movement.

The 3-Way Plank Planks don’t need to be held for a long period of time in order to be effective. The 3-way plank is held for 20 seconds in each direction for a total of 60 seconds. 

Tips on form: Don’t allow your head, hips or shoulders to drop. Relax your mind and breathe normally, don’t hold your breath at any point. Don’t allow your hands to touch in the regular plank position, keep your elbows shoulder width apart and your arms bent at a 90 degree angle. Don’t clasp your hands together, keep them wide. Tighten up your glutes and quads in each part of this movement.  

Flat Bench Leg Lifts are an advanced movement that target the lower abdominal muscles. The low back, which is an integral part of the core is helping to stabilize as you lower your legs. This movement should only be performed by those who do not have low back pain or injury. Be mindful, always maintain control and focus on inhaling through your nose as you bring your legs up and exhaling through your mouth as you lower them. 

Feet Elevated BOSU Pushups: This is a fun way to work the core while adding in a bonus challenge to the chest, triceps and shoulders. If elevating your feet is too difficult at this point in time, modify the exercise by keeping them on the floor. 

The Side Plank with Plate raise: Position yourself in a solid side plank with your hips up high and pushed forward (don’t let your butt shift backward). Pick up a light (5 LB) weight plate or Dumbbell and raise it up in alignment over your body, then slowly lower it down in front of you. Repeat. To modify this movement, you can stagger your feet instead of stacking them. You also do not need to load this exercise, just move your arm in the same way without holding any weight or keep your hand on your hip. 

Tips on form: Keep your hips up high and your glutes and quads tight throughout this movement. Don’t allow your body to sway, your head to drop or your hips to sag at any point. As you fatigue, check your position and alignment. Don’t allow a movement to fall apart simply because you’re tired and want to get through a set as quickly as possible. 

The next time you hit the gym and want to work your core, give these five exercises a shot!