5-Minute Core Workout: Strong Abs and Back

Ball SquatBall SquatBy Nancy LePatourel

Sculpting your core will give you a beach-ready body and an edge on any outdoor sport. "Ab strength supports muscles and joints when you're golfing, swimming, or running outside," says Cathy Sassin, adventure racer and Intrafitt exercise performance specialist. Try this quickie workout from Sassin.

Related: 5-Minute Workout: The Brazilian Butt Lift

Ball Squat with Knee Lift
Minutes 0:00-1:00
Targets: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Core, Chest, Shoulders
• Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a weighted ball in front of chest.
• Bend knees 90 degrees.
• Hold for 2 counts.
• Slightly straighten legs, shifting weight to left foot as you lift right knee to waist height and extend arms overhead (shown).
• Return to start and complete 10 reps on each side.

Single-Leg LungeSingle-Leg LungeSingle-Leg Lunge
Minutes 1:00-2:00
Targets: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Core
• Stand in a lunge with left foot in front, knees bent and left thigh parallel to floor.
• Lean forward from hip, then straighten left leg, extending right leg behind you 45 degrees (shown).
• Return to start.
• Complete 10 reps on each side.

Related: The Hot Legs Workout

Push-Up with Leg LiftPush-Up with Leg LiftPush-Up with Leg Lift
Minutes 2:00-3:00
Targets: Chest, Triceps, Core
• Start in the up phase of a push-up.
• Keeping hips square to floor, lift left leg 10 inches.
• Bend elbows to lower chest toward floor (shown); hold for 2 counts.
• Return to start and lower left leg.
• Do 10 times; then switch sides.

Standing Leg LiftStanding Leg LiftStanding Leg Lift
Minutes 3:00-4:00
Targets: Glutes, Core
• Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball in front of your chest, elbows bent.
• Shift weight to right leg and extend left to the side in 3 counts as you extend your arms (shown).
• Hold for 2 counts, then take 3 counts to return to start.
• Do 15 times, then switch sides.

Related: Spot Training: 5 Exercises for Your Arms, Back, Legs, Butt and Shoulders

Bicycle CrunchBicycle CrunchBicycle Crunch
Targets: Upper Abdominals, Obliques, Hip Flexors
• Sit with knees bent 90 degrees.
• Hold a medicine ball at chest level and lean upper body back to engage abs.
• Bring right knee toward left elbow, extending left leg (start).
• Return to start. Do 15 reps on each side.

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