Having a tight core sure looks good on the beach but it is also essential for everyday activities. Almost every movement we do, from getting the groceries out of the car to wrestling with the kids on the carpet, requires core strength. Understanding your body mechanics is essential.

We were told for so many years to just get on the floor, place our fingertips behind our ears and “crunch" our way to a healthy center but we've come a LONG way since then.

The core consists of so much more than just that 6-pack. It also includes the back, glutes and hips. Get those strong and your everyday movements become easier and your workouts better because you have a solid base!

Give this sequence of functional strength training a try. They work all the muscles of the core which saves you time…and who doesn't want that!

~Start in full plank

~Lower down to a forearm plank

~Brace your core and come into a 1 arm plank and hold for a few seconds

~Turn to the side into a forearm side plank

~Lift the hips into a pike and return to a full plank

Continue this right to left for several reps. Your goal is to go until you lose proper form (which is going to be different for each person). You'll know you've lost proper form when you sink into the shoulders and/or hips and cannot keep your neck, back and thighs in alignment.

To modify, keep both knees down during your plank and the bottom knee down in the side plank.

About the Author: "There was a point in my life that I was quite the junk food junkie! It wasn't until just after I had my two children that I started to really consider what I was putting into my body and how to properly care for it. I eventually started to take group exercise classes and thought 'I bet I could teach too' and my love for fitness was born! 18 years later I have been in multiple consumer workout videos and have trained and certified thousands of others to share their passion for fitness, through teaching too! I love teaching classes but my heart longed to help others more than just that 1 hour I had with them a week. I came across an opportunity to help others exponentially in addition to my classes and have loved it! I am able to help others through my true passion for fitness."

Find Melissa on her website at: melissamadeonline.com


rmt exercise to increase core strength: clock swings

functional strength training: core workout with the rmt club