Core strength is integral to overall health. Strong cores support good balance, flexibility, and posture, to name just a few benefits. What’s great about core work is that you don’t need any fancy equipment to build strength — you can effectively work out your core right at home without spending hours in the gym. If you only have time for three core exercises, these are the ones you should prioritize fitting into your schedule. You can do these anywhere, so no excuses.
When it comes to straightforward core exercises, it doesn’t get simpler than a plank. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to do, though — this total-body move will get you sweating in a short amount of time. The tried-and-true plank builds core strength without movement, so it’s a great option if you don’t have a lot of space. To get into the plank position, start on your mat with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Place your forearms on your mat, then pop your body up on your toes. Create a straight line with your body from your head to your toes, and hold the position for at least 30 seconds.
Bird dogs are another simple core exercise you can easily do in your apartment. In addition to building core strength, this move will also activate your glutes. Begin on your mat in a tabletop position so that your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. Next, reach your left arm forward while raising and straightening your right leg. Create a straight line from your fingertips to your toes, then slowly return to your starting position. Do the same thing on the opposite side, and perform at least 15 reps on both sides.
Flutter kicks strengthen your core while also giving your hip flexors a good workout. The move mimics swimming, so you can reap some of the benefits of aquatic exercise on land. To perform flutter kicks, lie down on your mat and put both hands at your sides (right next to your butt). Lift your right leg slowly off the ground while keeping your lower back pressed firmly against the mat. Lift your leg a little past your hip, then raise your right leg a few inches from the mat. Hold this position for a couple seconds before switching legs, so that you’re creating a “flutter” motion. Repeat for at least 30 seconds.