Let’s get this out of the way right up front: a core workout is about so much more than abs. A strong core supports you in everything that you do, from cycling to running to your daily activities, and it incorporates far more muscles than you think. Luckily, some of the most simple core exercises are also the most effective for building up your core muscles, so if you’re in the mood for a quick workout, Peloton instructors Matty Maggiacomo and Emma Lovewell are letting you in on their favorite moves, which are easy to build into a quick sequence–try each exercise 3 times with little to no rest. Even if you’re short on time, working your core doesn’t have to be complicated or require any equipment, so grab a towel and meet us in high plank position!
- “My favorite bodyweight core move would have to be a hollow hold,” says Emma Lovewell. To try it out, lay on your back, arms overhead, legs out long, and at the same time lift your legs/feet and head, shoulders/arms off the ground, using your deep core muscles to hold you up. “Hold that hollowed out position for 30 seconds for an intense burn!” says Emma.
- “Another great core workout is the bicycle crunch,” says Emma. “Like a regular crunch except you reach your elbow to the opposite knee, twisting your midsection to really work on your oblique muscles. I like doing these to the beat of the music, switching up the tempo, to keep it interesting!” If you’re searching for a beat, check out our instructors’ favorite playlists here.
- Emma’s other favorite core exercise is (surprise!) a plank. So simple and straightforward, you can do this almost anywhere. “Hold a plank position with your elbows on the ground, right under your shoulders, torso and legs nice and straight and on your toes,” says Emma. “See how long you can hold a plank, start by holding for 10 seconds, and then work your way up to holding it for a full minute!”
- You’re working core stabilizers, abdominals, and transverse abdominals when you try Matty Maggiacomo’s high plank taps. “Starting in high plank with your hands on the floor placed directly beneath your shoulders, arms straight and spine in neutral, suck your navel into your spine while you squeeze your glutes and press the creases of the backs of your knees to the ceiling while you press your heels away from you. Once you’ve established your starting position, your will now lift your right hand off the floor while you drive your left knee toward your midline and tap your knee cap with your hand. Return to high plank, now drive your right knee in and tap with your left hand. Alternate and continue for 30 to 60 seconds. Make sure your hips are not shifting too much, maintain control,” says Matty.
- If you’ve taken Matty’s class, you definitely know this one! The bear plank hold begins in high plank position as detailed above. “Step your feet in so that you are holding your knees off the floor directly in line with your hips and bent at 90 degrees,” says Matty. “Hands should remain on the floor, arms straight and in line with your shoulders, and back remains flat and core and quads engaged. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. You are working abdominals, core stabilizers, erector spinae.”
- Ready for more? The plank pike to tap and drive also starts in high plank position, but that’s just the beginning of your core journey. “Pike your tailbone to the sky and drop your head in between your biceps (just like in downward dog) and as you do so, reach your right hand to tap your left toe,” says Matty. “Return to High Plank position and drive your left knee to your right elbow. Return to pike position and reach your left hand to tap your right toe. Return to High Plank position and drive your right knee to your left elbow. Alternate sides and continue for 30 to 60 seconds. This one is a burner and targets your abs as well as your shoulder girdle and even your quads!”