#REALGIRLFIT…strengthen your core with these simple exercises

The more I exercise, the more I’ve come to understand how important a strong core is!

But what exactly is your core? 

The core is made up of more than just your abs, it also includes your paraspinal muscles (muscles that support your spine), pelvic floor muscles, deep gluteal muscles and your quadratus lumborum (which is technically an ab muscle but is positioned at the back of the body so is often referred to as a back muscle).

And why is it so important?

A strong core will help with balance and stability while exercising, which in turn will help to prevent injury. By strengthening your core you will also lower your risk of debilitating lower back pain, as well as improve your posture.

I’m on a mission to strengthen mine, as I often find I get lower back pain when performing certain exercises (deadlifts and wall squats). So, I asked personal trainer Rudy Rigo (and boxing coach extraodinaire), to share his favourite and most effective core exercises with me. I will be adding these to my workouts asap…



Make sure that your body is level, back should not arch and bum should not be sticking up into the air.

Hold for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds.


Plank Dips

As you hold your plank lower your hips side to side, while ensuring the body stays level.

Perform for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds.


Plank Twists

As you hold your plank, twist your knees towards your opposite side (left knee, towards the right side of your hips, right knee towards the left side of your hips).

Perform for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds.


Mountain Climbers

Like running on the spot in plank position, remember no arching of the back.

Perform for 30 seconds to a minute, rest for 10 seconds.



Lie on your front, hips square to the ground. Lift and lower (3 seconds up, 3 seconds down) the legs and the arms (they can be back like in the picture or raised in front). Your hips should stay planted on the mat throughout.

Hold for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds.


Leg Raises

Lean forward, using a tree, wall, pole or TRX for balance. Lift one leg, and keep the other soft at the knee (don’t lock out completely), kick back in a controlled manner (3 seconds up) and squeeze the glute when you get into a 90 degree angle. Keep the back straight throughout.

Perform 10 on each side.

Do 3 sets of each exercise