But according to Chris Dollar (Clinical Specialist, PT, DPT, OMPT, FAAOMPT at OrthoCarolina), most of the exercises those listicles recommend don't actually help you build core strength.
"Most 'core exercises' you see on the internet--and the ones taught in most exercises classes--are in fact NOT core exercises, but exercises that blow past core muscles and train 'vanity' muscles," Chris told us.
So, why should your core be a priority when you're working out, and what exercises should you actually do to strengthen your core? We asked Chris to find out.
Why Should Core Strength Be A Priority?
"Much like the foundation of a house, the core muscles form a solid base from which all functional activities are performed," Chris explained. "If the core muscles are weak, then the ability to do one’s daily activities becomes less controlled, less 'solid.' Core muscles form the foundation for movement control of the body."
As opposed to some of the other muscle groups in your body, core muscles can (and often should) be worked every day, rather than every other day or a few times per week.
"Core muscles are functionally endurance muscles, whereas 'vanity muscles' or muscles you can see are functionally power/strength muscles," Chris told us. "Endurance muscles can, and often should, be trained daily. Alternatively, strength muscles could be trained as infrequently as once per week."
5 Exercises Recommended to Build Core Strength
"Exercises that work in diagonal planes can often work core muscles, as can simply putting an emphasis on balance and/or proprioception abilities," Chris said.
Ready to strengthen those core muscles? Chris recommends starting with these five simple exercises. (He didn't recommend doing them with a beer in your hand, though—that was Work For Your Beer's suggestion.)
Do seven reps on the right side, then switch to do seven reps on the left side. That's one set. (You should do three sets total).
Do this for two minutes on one side, then two minutes on the other. That's one set. (You should do three sets total).
Raise your right arm and left leg so that they are in line with your torso. Pause here and hold for three seconds. Slowly return to your original position, with your palm planted and knee firmly on the ground. Then do the same with your left arm and right leg.
Do three reps on each side. That's one set. You should do five sets.
Sit back and down, almost like you're sitting into a chair. Keep a slight, natural arch in your back (do not round your lower back). Lower until your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, pressing your weight into your heels. With control, push through your heels back up into your original standing position. That's one rep.
Do five reps per set. You should do three sets total.
Slowly, with control, return to your original standing position. Do the same with on the other side, with your left leg lifted.
Do five reps on each side. That's one set. You should do three sets total.
Learn More About Building Strength & Protecting Your Body From the Experts at OrthoCarolina
Beer Of The Week
Just CLT Things
Work For Your Beer Love Stories
Work For Your Beer Spotlight
Work For Your Booty