Workout of the Month: 20- Minute Core

by Riley Sugarman

photography courtesy of Carina Lee

College students often neglect to incorporate physical activity in their daily routines, whether due to lack of time, energy or motivation.

Meaghan Walsh (SAR ’20) believes her hectic schedule rules exercise out of the question completely.

“My days start early and end late,” Walsh said. “I have work during the week and an insane amount of homework every day. To workout regularly, I’d need more hours in the day.”

Fortunately, not all exercises are difficult or time consuming. Busy students can find relief in quick, at-home workouts anyone can do, no matter the skill level. For example, core is an integral part to any workout routine and doesn’t require any equipment.

According to Shape.com, “Your core muscles play a huge role in your everyday activities, from getting out of bed, to walking down the street, and bending over to grab your purse — but, most importantly, they literally help you stay upright.”

Here are a few easy exercises anyone from novice to expert can use for a quick core session:

Crunches

Everyone remembers crunches from the physical fitness test in elementary school. They aren’t as terrible as you may remember, and are great for the core.

Find a spot to sit, avoiding hard surfaces that could be uncomfortable on the tailbone. Plant your feet on the floor with knees bent and hands behind your head. Next, lift your head and chest a few inches off of the ground. Make sure to not lift too high; these are crunches and not sit-ups.

For a bit of an extra challenge, lift your legs off the ground so they are bent at a 90-degree angle from the waist and knees.

Reverse Crunches

These bad boys are also known as candle sticks.

Lie flat on your back with your legs outstretched and arms against your sides, with hands firmly planted on the floor. Lift your legs, hips and lower stomach off of the ground and swing your legs up so they are perpendicular to the ground, before lowering them back down at a relatively slow pace.

Support your lower back with your hands to make this exercise a bit easier.

Mountain Climbers

Get into a plank position with your arms outstretched and body as flat as possible. This alone is a workout, but mountain climbers add an extra level of intensity.

Lift your legs by bending one knee and bring it as close to the corresponding elbow as possible, before stretching back out to plank position. Alternate between each leg and try to keep your back as straight as you can.

Bicycle Kicks

Lie flat on your back with hands behind your head and legs bent at a 90-degree angle from your waist and knees. Lift your head and chest off the ground (similar to crunches) with hands behind your head. Twist your upper body and bring your elbow toward the opposite knee, with the other leg extending out. Twist back to the original position, and repeat with the opposite side.

Slow down the pace for an extra challenge.

Flutter kicks

Start in the same position as the beginning of reverse crunches. Lift your legs a few inches off of the ground, and lightly kick your legs up and down, making sure your legs are always moving in opposite directions.

As with bicycle kicks, slow down the pace to increase difficulty.

This set of easy core workouts can be as long or short as desired, and done in any location. Try them at home or at FitRec to see how easy it can be to start exercising.

Molly Cohen (Wheelock ’19) said she is open to regular exercise if she could find the right workouts.

“If I could find workouts that are both quick and easy to do, I would be much more likely to actually workout in my spare time,” Cohen said.