If you exercise to keep your body capable and in good working order you are going to love this core routine from Kira Stokes. The celebrity trainer, who's so well qualified there’s an alphabet soup of acronyms after her name (NASM CPT, PES and WFS), shared three “sneaky” core moves on her Instagram account.
The complicated-looking exercises require all the elements of your trunk—core, lower back, lats, glutes—to work in harmony so that you complete the movement without toppling over. For many people, even those who hit the gym regularly, this may prove a challenge. Look at Stokes’ co-demonstrator during the single-leg Romanian deadlift and note how far his rear foot lifts off the floor. No disrespect intended, I certainly will not be sharing footage of my attempts at these exercises, but it shows you can’t blitz your way through these moves with brute force.
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If you find these movements taxing, take it as a cue to spend the time to master them—it will help you get the most from the body you’ve got. As Stokes says in the video: “The core is the powerhouse of your body. Strength stems from your core. And when you have a strong powerhouse you can move better, stabilize properly and basically function at your strongest capacity.” Sounds good to me.
The three moves require a combination of a free weight and a small or long looped resistance band. As you’ll discover in our round-up of the best resistance bands, you can pick up a band very cheaply. Dumbbells are a different matter, especially if you follow our advice and invest in a pair of adjustable dumbbells, but a kettlebell will work well for these core exercises and pound for pound kettlebells tend to be cheaper. Take a look at our picks of the best kettlebells to see if something fits your budget.
If you’re stuck without any equipment, Pilates is a great way to work on your “powerhouse”. This Pilates-inspired core workout focuses on your midsection, while this Pilates home workout will help to improve your posture, or you can start slow with this beginner Pilates workout.
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Lois Mackenzie is a fitness writer working on news, features, reviews and buying guides for Coach and sister site Fit&Well. Lois is a hill walker and avid runner who has just completed her first marathon. Before joining Coach, Lois worked as a senior SEO reporter at Newsquest Media Group.