You won't find a single crunch in this easy abs workout

You won't find a single crunch in this easy abs workout

When you think of core exercises, you probably think of situps, crunches, and six-packs. Though we often get caught up focusing on the parts of our midsection that we can show off, our core goes so much deeper than that.

Whether you're a planking pro or just getting started with easy ab workouts, know this: Your core plays a really important role in your ability to be strong and fit. This collection of muscles supports your spine, allows you to move in all sorts of directions, and protects all of your organs.

Having a strong core can also help you avoid injury and actually ease back pain. So, while having a really sculpted six-pack is a totally fine goal to have, keeping these muscles in tip-top shape is a must if you want to run, lift, jump, and do whatever fitness you love for the long run as best you can.

The five major muscle groups make up your core:

  • rectus abdominis (your six-pack muscles)
  • transversus abdominis (the muscles beneath your rectus abdominis)
  • internal and external obliques (side abs)
  • multifidi (muscles in the back of your core, along your spine)
  • erector spinae (muscles along the sides of your spine)

Other muscles also contribute (like your pelvic floor and diaphragm), too—hence why your workouts should hit all 360 degrees of your midsection, not just the front of your stomach. To work your whole core, incorporate the following easy ab workouts into your routine.

Time: 12 minutes

Equipment: Mat

Instructions: Select five exercises from the list below. Perform each for 30 seconds, then rest for 15, and continue onto the next. Once you've completed all five moves, start from the top and repeat twice more for a total of three rounds.

You'll definitely feel the burn

From Harper's BAZAAR