The Best Way to Strengthen Your Core, According to a Trainer

It's time to really feel the burn.

Core Strengthening work out
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You want a strong core, right? Thought so.

Of course, while "flat abs" might be the main reason you have been Googling how to strengthen your core, the truth is a tough center can also nix lower back pain, improve your posture and keep you moving through everyday tasks.

All of that sounds great (and necessary), but with all of the information out there it can be tough to know where to begin, especially if you're new to exercise.

That's why we asked Holly Roser, a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist in San Francisco, to weigh in with her top five core strengthening exercises — here's what she had to say.

Spider Plank

Starting in a pushup position, keep your back flat and shoulders in line with your wrists. Bring your right knee to the side of your right elbow and back to your pushup position on your toes. Make sure to engage your obliques. Roser says, "You should feel this burning your love handles." Repeat on the opposite side for two sets of 20 repetitions.

Stability Ball Crunches

Sitting on a stability ball, lie back and bring your right elbow to your left knee like a bicycle crunch. Roser says, "Ensure your arm is out to the side, really focus on the obliques as you twist your elbow with your hands behind your head." Continue by switching to bring your left elbow to your right knee; repeat for two sets of 20 repetitions.


Sit upright and bring your legs off the floor in a "V" shape, working to keep them in a straight position. Raise your arms on either side of your legs, holding your hands about two inches from your legs. Lift your upper back off the ground and hold the "V" sit for 45 seconds. "Try to relax your neck as much as possible and remember to breathe," Roser says. "To make this move more challenging, bring your lower back closer to the ground." Repeat the "V" sit with a 45-second hold for three repetitions.

Plank Walk

Start this move by standing with feet hip-width apart, then walking your hands out into a push-up position. Keep your wrists under your shoulders and immediately walk your hands back to your feet and stand back up. "Try to keep your body as straight as you can and try not to dip your lower back," Roser says. Repeat for three sets of 10.

Frog Sit-Up

"This move is excellent to ensure you're not using your hip flexors and actually using your abs in a sit up," Roser says. To do it, lie down with your arms over your head and feet in a butterfly position with the soles of your feet facing each other. Bring your arms over your head and reach between your knees, then return to your starting position. Repeat for two sets of 25 reps.

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