Core training is a pivotal part of any training program, and can be beneficial to anybody no matter what their personal fitness goals may be.  Many of us know the importance of core training and make attempts to train it on a regular basis which is awesome, but the one thing I notice is the lack of variety.  I find many people stick to the basic planks, side planks, leg raises, and different variation of crunches.  While these are not necessarily bad exercises, after a while they will either become easy or very repetitive and boring.  Today I am going to show you 9 of my favorite core exercises that will challenge you and help give your workout routine some spice!  Some of these exercises are common ones with a little twist, and some may be exercises you have never heard of before.  This list is in no particular order, and I recommend you try them all!

1: Reverse crunch

The reverse crunch is a great exercise because it can be performed nearly anywhere in or out of a gym.  All you need is an object to act as an anchor.  The heavier the object the easier the exercise will be.  Start lying on your back with your weight (in the video we use a kettle bell) right behind your head.  Your legs will start in a table top position (90 degrees), and you will slowly bring your knees towards your elbows trying to maintain that table top position the entire time.  Once your knees get to your elbows you will slowly exhale and lower your butt back to the mat.  This exercise can be performed from anywhere from 5-10 repetitions.

2: Stability ball rollout

Next up we have the stability ball rollout which is another exercise where minimal equipment is needed!  You will need a stability ball and a pad/cushion for your knees.  Start with the ball about 6 inches in front of the pad and place both fists into the ball at shoulder width.  Before you begin to move forward make sure you maintain a flat back and keep your abs tight.  Go as far forward as you can without dropping your hips down, and then return to the starting position.  This is a great replacement if you ever get bored of doing the ab wheel rollout!

3: Side plank w/ cable row

Side planks are an amazing core exercise but once you can do one with good form for more than 30 seconds it might be time to make it more challenging without having to do minutes of endless side planks.  The side plank w/ cable row is a great progression because you get all the core and hip stability benefits of the side plank as well as shoulder benefits with the row.  You will need a cable machine or a resistance band to complete this exercise.  Start about arms width away from the cable and go into your side plank.  Then you will grab the cable and perform a row making sure the hips stay in line with your body then entire time.  To add an extra bit of difficulty you can perform a 2-3 second isolated hold with the row which will really get the core and oblique screaming!

4: 1/2 kneeling pallof press

The pallof press is an exercise that I find is growing in popularity and it is for a good reason!  The pallof press can be performed in many different positions, but one of my favorite ways is in the half kneeling position.  The purpose of this exercise is to resist rotation in your core as you press an object out in front of you (in this case we use a cable).  Start facing to the side of the cable machine in a half kneeling position with your outside leg to the machine in front of you.  Make sure your knees are in front of your hips before you press the cable out.  Once in position grab the cable and bring to your chest with both hands.  Then, you will extend the cable in front of you and hold for a second or two without moving your hips.  This exercise is best performed between 5-10 repetition per side.

5: Pledge plank

Just like how the side planks can become a little boring the regular planks are no different, so I have a variation of the regular plank to try as well!  This is the pledge plank and you do not need any equipment for this movement.  Start in a plank position and then we will slowly raise one hand to your opposite shoulder while trying to maintain the plank position the entire time.  If this is still easy you can add a 2-3 second pause while your hand is tapping your shoulder and it will make it even harder!

6: Leg lowering w/ band hold

The leg lowering is a common exercise that can be very challenging, and this variation of it with the band hold makes you feel it in your core even more!  Hold a band over your chest and start with your legs over your hips.  The straighter your legs are the more difficult the movement will become.  Slowly lower your heels towards the floor while keeping your low back pushed into the ground.  The slower you go with this exercise the harder you will make it!

7: Valslide miyagis

This next exercise uses one of our favorite modalities here at R3 Fitness and those are the val slides.  These are a great tool to help create some variety with basic exercises.  The val slide miyagi is a simple exercise, but difficult none the less if done correctly.  Start in a push up position with your hands on the val slides directly under your shoulders.  You will then move one arm at a time in a circle and then return then hand to under the shoulder.  You will then alternate and perform again on the opposite side.  Try not

8: SA bent leg sit up get up

9: TRX busdrivers

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