Strengthening your core muscles is something Americans can share, no matter what level you're at or what your goals are. You could be just starting out, or trying to chisel a 10-pack out of your existing 8-pack. Functional core strength is vital for daily activities, like getting out of bed in the morning and holding a good posture all day. Because it's so critical to overall health, the fitness industry capitalizes on it by creating and delivering programs that focus solely on the core.
Becky at the Y might instruct a real ab-torcher group fitness class, but only a couple dozen people can experience it. It's time to dive into the creative, pre-choreographed, highly detailed and widely popular classes available to you anywhere around the country. Some of these may surprise you!
1. Les Mills CX WORKS: In 30 minutes, you'll work the abs, glutes, thighs and back, strengthening them together as a solid core unit. The music and moves are all pre-selected and your instructor holds a specialty certification to teach this unique program. You can find it all over the world. Find a class near you to sign up or stream a workout from the Les Mills site here.
2. Shaun T's Focus T25: Creator of Insanity DVDs, trainer Shaun T delivers again with a niche workout for the core. He mixes cardio exercises in before each core exercise to get the blood flowing and create the ultimate workout. Grab a copy here.
3. Pilates Reformer Class: Mat classes are amazing and effective, but if you can find a spot for a reformer session, your abs will love/hate you forever. The reformer is not a torture device, although it resembles one. It's built to provide resistance and work the muscles in a very unique way. You literally cannot do half of the exercises without the reformer. Search your city for the closest class and check for deals online.
>> Read more: What's the Pilates Reformer?
4. Rebounder Workout: Disguised as a pure cardio workout, the mini trampoline will have you doing hundreds of crunches and constant stabilization. Plus, when you get that heart rate up during any type of strength training, the muscles work that much harder and reap that many more benefits. You can't jump unless you have a coordinated core! Try this free rebounder workout here.
>> Get ready: Bounce and Burn: Trampoline Fitness Class
5. Surfset Classes: Find balance and burn when you try to navigate your way through a Surfset class. The key piece of equipment is a board with three stability balls lodged underneath. When you're on top, you're constantly battling to find the perfect balance, which works your tiny stabilizing muscles. You can burn between 450 to 800 calories per class! Find one near you by clicking here.
6. Aerial Silks: Bring out the dancer inside by signing up for a silks class! It takes strength and coordination, flexibility and mind-body power. You'll have to lift and stabilize your entire body with a strong core. You won't realize you're working those ab muscles until the soreness sets in the next day. Read what one Resident Mom has to say about finding her inner acrobat! Check out what a beginner class looks like here or get inspired with advanced routines here!