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The CORE of It All

I am generally not giving you specific exercise advice, but here is one area that I believe is so important that I wanted to give you something to actually do. Nearly all of us neglect our core and most misunderstand it. But it’s one of the easiest things to fix and will give you some of the biggest benefits in life.

Firstly, I’m not just talking about your abs and I don’t even care about you having a six-pack. We all know about our abdominal muscles that sit underneath the layer of skin and fat at the front of our bodies. But think of the core as being a corset that extends all the way around your body including your sides and your back. It is like a support structure that holds you up and keeps you balanced. Take care of your core and it will take care of you in return.

The beauty of the core is that you only need to spend a few minutes to make a big difference. But remember, don’t worry about how it looks on the outside, it’s all about what’s underneath. If you starve yourself for long enough and then get dehydrated, you will eventually have a six-pack, but that doesn’t mean your core will be strong.

You can do these three exercises in less than five minutes (you can make them go a lot longer if you want, of course—this is just for starters), try setting your alarm five minutes earlier and doing them every day for two weeks. You will feel a difference.

Before doing any of these then please consult with a doctor and make sure it is safe to do so. If you experience discomfort then stop immediately.


The Plank/Superman

One of the best exercises ever, it is low impact and you can modify it to be easier in the beginning and harder as you get better. Start with this to warm up your core.

There’s a bunch of names for this exercise but I like the whole superhero idea so I stuck with this one. It works your back, and again, you can modify it to make it easy or harder.

Lie face-down on the floor with your legs shoulder-width apart and your arms lying palm-down in front of your body. Slowly raise your arms and legs off the ground at the same time, then hold them up for a few seconds and then lower in a slow and controlled fashion before repeating.

Abdominal Crunches

Don’t confuse these with “sit-ups.” I just want you to come up part of the way and really focus on tightening those abs as you do it. Work the lower part of your core and be careful not to pull your lower back.


Finish with these, and really focus on the stance and technique. There’s a right way to do squats and a lot of people get it wrong, but once you’ve warmed up the core, bust out as many of these as you can. No weights needed. Take them slowly if you are new- the best thing is to do them safely and gently in the beginning until you get comfortable.

Excerpt from the book ‘Pulling It All Together’ by Paul Wharton – available on Amazon.