Looking for workout inspiration? Look no further than Josephine Skriver and Jasmine Tookes’ shared workout instagram @JoJa, an account dedicated to embodying wellness, health, and exercise in exceptional style. They make working out look elegant and cardio appear effortless; and, sure, maybe in a perfect world we would all have the time to look and feel our best in all hours of the day, but real life is messy — we have to find ways to grab a workout when we can, and that's where Monarch comes in: check out our solution below to 5 easy exercises you can do anywhere to keep your core toned and your spirits high.
The benefits of exercise are undeniable — raising your heart rate releases mood-boosting endorphins, strengthens your bones and muscles, and even improves the function of your brain; and, in the grand scheme of working out, the core muscle is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle (and, conveniently, one of the easiest to train!). Toning your core extends beyond your abdomen to include your pelvis, lower back, and hips, ultimately leading to more stability and overall strength.
Exercising your core with these five simple movements is painless, fast, and requires no equipment whatsoever. There’s no excuse now! Plus, the hardest part of any workout is showing up— so, if you are reading this, move your chair aside, take a deep breath, and congratulate yourself; you are present, the hardest part is over, and now we are invested in bettering ourselves for the next fifteen minutes together.
*No equipment is required, but workout clothes, a comfortable floor (such as a yoga mat), and a resilient attitude is preferred!
We will cycle through these exercises three times. Each movement lasts 45 seconds, with a 15 second rest — it may feel easy at first, but by the third cycle your core should burn! Still not convinced? Turn on our go-to workout playlist here!
How: Lie with your back on the floor, legs extended, and position your hands under your lower back. Taking care to keep your lower back flat on the ground, contract your abs, press your thighs together, and lift your legs until they form a 90-degree angle with the floor. Once your hips are fully flexed, gradually lower your legs back down. Your abs work just as hard to move your legs down to the ground, so be sure to complete the full exercise slowly and with intention.
Why: This movement strengthens your core and your hip flexors, helping to alleviate lower back pain and improve overall stabilization in your body.
How: With your body in a full plank position, engage your core and bring your left knee to your right elbow. Return to the full plank position before alternating legs, twisting your right knee up to your left elbow. Be sure to keep your core engaged the whole time — these quick twists will strengthen your obliques and raise your heart rate.
Why: The mountain climber twist increases your heart rate while working several muscles at once— it is ideal for advancing your agility, strength, and balance.
How: Start on your back, knees together, and your legs bent at 90 degrees with your feet on the floor. With your palms on the ground for balance, contract your core and pull your knees to your chest, lifting your hips off the floor. Hold your knees to your chest for a beat before lowering your feet back to the ground. Speed is essential here: move gradually and mindfully to keep your core engaged; the longer your core is flexed, the more protected your lower back will be.
Why: Without putting tension on your back, the reverse crunch fortifies muscles in your lower abdomen and strengthens your core as a whole.
How: Lie with your back on the mat, arms facing out so that your body makes a “T” shape on the floor. Lift your legs until they form a 90-degree angle with the floor, and rotate your hips to the right so that your legs move toward your right arm. Without letting your legs touch the floor, lift your legs up to center and return to the starting position. Repeat the movement on the opposite side until the set is complete. Keep your back protected by completing each movement slowly and with your core engaged.
Why: Windshield wipers strengthens your abdomen while reinforcing your hip joints, leading to a stronger connection between the core and your lower body.
How: Lying on your left side with your knees together, place your left hand on the floor and your right hand behind your head. Contract your abs to pull your legs up toward your right elbow, raising your hips, legs, and shoulders together to create a “V” shape with your full body. Repeat the movement on the other side, taking care to keep your legs straight and your core flexed.
Why: The side v-up crunch strengthens your obliques, stabilizing muscles positioned on the sides of your abdomen, and your shoulders.