For the past few weeks, I’ve been concentrating on getting my core into shape. Your core muscles are those in your abs, glutes and lower back. Core muscles can help improve an athlete’s power, speed, endurance and stability. A strong core can even help you prevent injury!

You don’t need special DVDs or classes to get a good core work out. Basically, all you need is a small space on the floor and a few moves.


Core Workout Routines For Athletes:

Get Ripped Abs: This Men’s Fitness workout looks hard core with one-legged dumbbell rows and plate raises.

Rock-solid Midsection: This Men’s Health has a routine with side bridges (ouch) and a plank with a diagonal arm lift.

Hard Core: This routine from includes oblique crunches, and heel touches, which look brutal.

Muscle-builder: Check out these three core workouts from—a Traditional Core Workout, a Unique Core Workout and Non-traditional Core Training.

Cyclist Core: This core routine from Bicycling is focused on the most important cycling muscles.

Fast Abs: Runner’s World shares Olympic runner Lolo Jones’s core routine.

My Routine: I adapted a routine I found on the blog Cook Train Eat Race. I like this routine because it is simple. It is 15 minutes, and basically consists of 4 moves, each done for 1 minute followed by a 1-minute rest interval for 3 reps. I aim to do the routine every day and I mix up the moves all the time.

What’s your favorite core work out?