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    Core Strengthening Hacks

    By Cinder Ernst

    “Hack” is a trendy and relatively new term that refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life. Today I’m going to give you abdominal strengthening hacks so that you can improve your core strength in surprising and easy ways. You will learn an ab exercise you can do in the car, one for while you’re in the elevator, and one that is easy to do at your desk.

    The last three “Easy Fitness” columns were devoted to the ins and outs of abdominal and core strengthening. We learned that ab crunches are obsolete, pelvic tilts are the bomb, and you can’t spot reduce, so let go of that idea. Check the archives for more details.

    Ab Hack#1: Core in the Car

    Seated pelvic tilts work well in the car. To do them, you sit up tall and then press your lower back into the seat. It is important to keep your ribcage lifted throughout the tilt. You can add a butt squeeze to this move for more range of motion and benefit. We call this a Tush Tilt, and you can find more directions on YouTube. To make this more interesting, try squeezing one butt cheek at a time with your tilt. That one butt cheek with a tilt gives you a diagonal motion that works your abs in a different and useful way. Also, it’s fun, and hard to do without a smile. Hacks are best when they are fun!

    Ab Hack #2: Elevate in the Elevator

    Your time in the elevator can be well spent when you do a standing pelvic tilt. Start with your feet hip distance apart, knees unlocked, and ribcage lifted. Keep your eyes straight ahead, which is good form in an elevator anyway. Now, sustain the standing posture and tuck your butt under with a squeeze, moving your pelvis forward and your navel to your spine. If your back is feeling stiff or sore, then do these gently with a rocking motion. If you feel fine, then secure your posture, hold and tilt and breathe normally until you reach your floor. When you are in the sustained standing tilt, if you lift an arm or both overhead, it creates more challenge. You can try the Elevator Ab Hack right now or anytime you are standing around.

    Ab Hack #3: Do It at Your Desk

    This Ab Hack I learned from the T-Tapp exercise lady (she is one of the original exercise hackers). It’s so simple. Just sit up tall and straight in your chair and press your feet into the floor. You will feel the muscles in your mid-section tighten up, as though you were wearing a corset. Hold for a few seconds. Be sure to breathe. When you get the hang of this, you can hold longer. It’s really important to breathe throughout the contraction. The “Do It at Your Desk” Ab Hack is also a great stress buster. If you are aggravated with someone, just press your feet into the floor instead of losing your temper!

    Have fun with these hacks while you improve your core strength.

    Cinder Ernst, Medical Exercise Specialist and Life Coach Extraordinaire, helps reluctant exercisers get moving with safe, effective and fun programs. Find out more at