15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs

15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs

From Google searches to message board posts, no other part of the body draws as much inquiry as the muscles comprising the core. Lean, defined abdominals and obliques have not only become the emblem of fitness, they provide logistical support for nearly all other parts of the body. It’s no wonder everyone wants to know what are the best core exercises so they can strengthen their core.

To that end, we’ve assembled 15 of the best core exercises from some of our top Beachbody Super Trainers, including Autumn Calabrese, Sagi Kalev, and Jericho McMatthews. All of the moves featured below can be found in programs available on Beachbody On Demand.

The moves are split into seated core exercises, plank variations, and supine (lying down) core exercises. Weave a handful into your current gym workouts, or (if you’re already doing a Beachbody program in which some appear) use the step-by-step instructions to master them. Instead of counting reps for each move, perform three sets of 30 to 60 seconds, depending on your fitness level.

15 of Beachbody’s Best Core Exercises

SEATED CORE EXERCISES

Unicorn15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Unicorn

This exercise targets your hips and rectus abdominis, and also works your transverse abdominis by requiring you to keep your core braced throughout each set.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Chisel

– Sit on a bench with your feet on the floor and your knees slightly bent. Grip the bench behind you, leaning back slightly.

– Keeping your core braced, lift both legs as high as you can.

– Return to the starting position, and repeat.

 

C-Sit Tap15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs C Sit Tap

Not only does this exercise force you to hold the hardest part of a sit-up (and hammer your rectus and transverse abdominis muscles as a result), but it also incorporates a rotational element that nails your obliques. The result: A comprehensive core sculptor that spares no muscle between your hips and shoulders.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Hammer

– Sit with your butt and heels on the floor, your knees bent slightly, and your arms extended in front of you, palms up.

– Keeping your core braced, lean back slightly, and rotate to your right as you reach back with your right arm to touch the floor behind you.

– Return to the starting position and repeat to your left. Continue alternating sides.

 

Seated Rainbow15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Seated Rainbow

Think of this exercise as combining the best elements of the previous two. Not only does it target your hips and rectus abdominis, but it also forces your obliques to take center stage as you rotate left and right. Even your transverse abdominis is called into action, helping to maintain stability as you trace an imaginary rainbow through the air with your toes.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Chisel

– Sit on a bench, gripping it behind you with your hands. Brace your core, lean back slightly, and raise your feet off the ground so that your hips are bent 90 degrees.

– Rotate left as you lower your legs and touch the floor with your toes.

– Reverse directions, drawing an arc/rainbow in the air as you rotate to your right and tap the floor again. Continue alternating sides. Too difficult? Lose the bench and perform the exercise on the floor.

 

Bicycle Crunch and Punch15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Bicycle Crunch and Punch

This move has a lot of moving parts, so it’s especially important that you keep your core braced to minimize the stress on your spine. Want to make it even more challenging? Grab a pair of very light dumbbells. Trust us—you don’t want to go heavier than 10 pounds even if you’re a guy.

Find this move in: Autumn’s BOD Exclusives: Kill Cupcake

– Sit on the floor with your legs straight and your guard up.

– Brace your core, lean back slightly, and raise your legs off the ground.

– Simultaneously draw your left knee toward your chest, extend your right leg, and punch across your body with your right hand.

– Switch sides, bringing your right arm back, drawing your right knee towards your chest, extending your left leg, and punching across your body with your left hand.

– Continue alternating sides. Too difficult? Touch the floor with the heel of your extended leg instead of keeping it elevated during each punch.

 

C-Sit Scissor15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs C Sit Scissor

As with every exercise on this page, you want this one to primarily target your core, so don’t ease the pressure on it by relying too heavily on your arms for support. The more forcefully you grip the bench, the less work your abs will do, and the more emphasis you’ll place on your hips.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Chisel

– Assume the same starting position as the rainbow tap, but elevate your heels a few inches off the floor.

– Keeping your core braced and back as flat as possible, raise your right leg.

– Simultaneously lower your right leg and raise your left leg in a scissor-like motion.

– Continue alternating legs without letting your heels touch the ground.

 

PLANK VARIATIONS

Forearm Run15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Forearm Run

Think of this as a mountain climber in a plank position. It’s a great warm-up for any workout, as it fully engages the armada of muscles between your hips and shoulders that is so important for stabilizing your body in, well, every single thing that you do. Plus, it will get your heart pumping, boosting blood flow and priming your muscles for action.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Hammer.

– Assume a plank position with your weight on your forearms, your elbows below your shoulders, and your body straight from head to heels.

– Keeping your back flat, bring your right knee towards your chest.

– Return to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg.

– Continue alternating legs.

 

Elevated Bird Dog Crunch15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Elevated Bird Dog Crunch

This plank variation will challenge your balance as your core fights to help you maintain stability as you alternately touch opposite arms and legs.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Chisel.

– Assume a plank position with your forearms elevated on a bench.

– Keeping your back flat and core braced, extend your left arm in front of you and your right leg behind you.

– Bring them in, touching your left elbow to your right knee.

– Return to the starting position, and repeat with your right arm and left leg. Continue alternating sides.

 

Straight-Arm Plank Cross15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Straight Arm Plank Cross

Much like the rotational exercises in the first section (and the elevated bird dog crunch above) this exercise reminds your body that it has obliques, and hammers them relentlessly so that it doesn’t forget again.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Chisel

– Assume a push-up position with your arms straight, hands in line with and slightly wider than your shoulders, and your body straight from head to heels.

– Lift your right foot off the ground, and bend your right knee as you cross it under your body to touch your left arm.

– Return to the starting position, and repeat with your other leg, bringing your left knee to your right arm.

– Continue alternating sides.

 

Side Plank Wing15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Side Plank Wing

This move targets your obliques and works every muscle in your core, but its blast radius also includes your hips, glutes, and shoulders.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Hammer

– Lie on your right side, propping yourself up on your right forearm and lifting your hips so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Place the fingertips of your left hand lightly behind your left ear.

– Lower your right hip to the floor, and then return to the starting position.

– Bend your left knee and touch it to your left elbow as you contract your abs.

– Return to the starting position and repeat the entire sequence. Switch sides halfway through each set.

 

Mountain climber with push-up15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Mountain Climber With Push Up

By pairing mountain climbers with a push-up, this two-move combo doubles down on the benefits provided by either exercise alone. You’ll nail your core, work your chest and tris, and hammer your most vital muscle of all: your heart.

Find this move in: Jericho McMatthews’ Half & Half

– Start in a push-up position with your body and arms straight, and your hands aligned with (but slightly wider than) your shoulders.

– Keeping your back flat, bring your knee as close to your chest possible, tapping the floor with your toes.

– Return to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg.

– Continue alternating legs. Perform one pushup after every eight reps of the mountain climber.

 

Side Arm Twist15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Side Arm Twist

Here’s another powerful core move that makes your obliques work extra hard. It might not look especially difficult, but that’s an illusion; regardless of whether you perform it on a mat or with your arm elevated on a bench, you’ll begin to notice its muscle-fatiguing effects after just a few reps.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Chisel

– Assume a side plank position (weight on forearm, body straight from head to heels) with your left arm on a mat or elevated on a bench. Position both feet on the floor (right foot forward), and extend your arm toward the ceiling.

– Reach under and behind your torso with your right hand, rotating from your upper (not lower) back.

– Return to the starting position and repeat. Switch sides halfway through each set.

 

SUPINE CORE EXERCISES

Triple Bicycle Crunch15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Triple Bicycle Crunch

Sometimes what makes a very basic core exercise even more challenging is slowing the pace at which you do it. Need proof? Try this move. Slowly.

Find this move in: Jericho McMatthews’ Half & Half

– Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees. Place your fingertips on the sides of your head behind your ears, and elevate your shoulders off the floor.

– Extend your right leg as you rotate your torso to the left, bringing your left knee toward your right shoulder.

– Repeat to your other side, straightening your left leg as you bring your right knee toward your left shoulder. Continue alternating sides.

 

Hammer Run15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Hammer Run

With this exercise and the previous one in your fitness arsenal, you’ll have have two variations of one of the best exercises for your abs (the bicycle crunch) at your disposal.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Hammer

– Lie face-up on a mat with your arms at your sides (palms down), legs raised, and hips and knees bent 90-degrees so that your lower legs are parallel to the floor.

– Lift your head and shoulders off the mat, and begin pedaling your legs, keeping them close to the ground and fully extending each leg as you kick.

 

Knees to 90 Crunch15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Knees to 90 Crunch

Devised by Jericho McMatthews, one of the co-creators of CORE DE FORCE, this move relies on slow, deliberate movement to tax your entire core.

Find this move in: Jericho McMatthews’ Half & Half

– Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees. Place your fingertips on the sides of your head behind your ears.

– Lift your shoulders off the ground and sweep your arms in an arc, so that they end up reaching towards your heels.

– Reverse the move to return to the starting position, and repeat.

 

Windshield Wiper15 of the Best Core Exercises From Beachbody Programs Windshield Wiper

This deceptively simple exercise targets the oblique and abdominal muscles with sustained movements. To protect your back, you can place your hands or forearms under your hips throughout the move.

Find this move in: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel: 10 Min Ab Hammer

– Lie face-up on a mat with your arms straight out to your sides. Lift your legs so they form a right angle with the rest of your body. This is your starting position.

– Keeping your legs as straight as possible, slowly lower them to your left, going as low as you can under control without touching the ground. Pause, and then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

– Maintaining the same straightness in your legs, lower them toward the ground in front of you, pause, and then return to the starting position.

– Again keeping your legs as straight as possible, slowly lower them to your right, and then return to the starting position.

– Lower your legs straight down one more time before repeating the entire sequence.

Get your best core ever with these 15 simple ab workouts from Beachbody’s best programs.

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