Start training your core without crunches

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Here’s the thing: we don’t mind crunches – if they’re done properly in a training plan that’s been crafted by experts.

Unfortunately, crunches and sit-ups can put a strain on your lower back if you don’t get the technique right, and they’re both pretty tough moves for someone who’s just starting on the exercise comeback trail.

Our take: you’ll get much more health and strength benefits by focusing on core moves that are more beginner- and back-friendly. 

By making your core stronger, you are injury-proofing yourself and making your body more effective for anything you do daily. You’re also preparing your body for tougher workouts.

An easy sell, right? We’re going to start with two isometric (also known as static strength) moves – which just means that you’re contracting your muscles without movement – and one gentle activation and stability move.

Not only are these moves much safer injury-wise, but it also teaches you one of the most vital training skills: how to brace your core.

Get that right, and you’ll build up a strong foundation that will help you train and move better. Once you get stronger, you can start doing more advanced exercises that use movement and extra weight. 


All you need is an exercise mat, some water, and your best vibes. This is a circuit – start with three rounds, and then when your core gets stronger, you can work up to five.

You can take a 30-second break between circuits, but if your form breaks down in any set – take a rest. Don’t sacrifice your technique at any stage!

Plank + Side Plank Combo: Do 20 seconds of a regular plank, and then 20 seconds on each side (resting on your elbow or with a straight arm). Check here for a full technique breakdown. 

Group of women practicing yoga in side plank pose

Hollow Hold: Lie down on your back and do 15 seconds of a hollow hold. Here’s a link to show you how. The main tip: always keep your back pressed into the floor!

Bird Dog: Raise your right arm and left leg together as per this example, and repeat it to do ten reps. Then swap sides for another ten reps (left arm and right leg raises).

Young sporty female practicing yoga, doing Bird do

This article was originally published on The Movement Empire (TME).

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