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Hate planks? Here are 3 core exercises you can substitute

by Jenna Wolfe /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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A strong core helps you in just about every activity you do during the day. And it's even more important if you engage in any kind of sport or real athletic activity.

But why is it so crucial to keep your core in shape?

Think of it this way: Without your core, you have no way of keeping your pelvis, lower back, hips and abs working together in sync. When these different muscles work in tandem, you’re able to prevent injury. You’ll experience better stability and balance in all activities.

I suggest integrating the following three exercises into your core routine two to three times a week.

 Jenna Wolfe demonstrates the side hip-up exercise. TODAY

Side hip-ups

Lie on your right side and prop yourself up on one elbow so your shoulder lines up with your elbow. Your hand should be in front of you. Keep your legs straight out to your side, feet stacked on top of one another. Place your left hand on your left hip.

Slowly raise your hips by engaging your core and pushing against the floor with your feet until your body forms a straight line. Do 10 on each side, or as many as you can do in good form.

 Jenna Wolfe demonstrates the pike exercise. TODAY


Place yourself in a push-up position. Keep your core engaged as you roll up on the tops of your sneakers and hike up your hips toward the ceiling, forming an upside down “V.”

Pause, then slowly make your way back out to starting position, and repeat. Aim for 10 or more reps, or as many as you can do while maintaining good form.

 Jenna Wolfe demonstrates the steam engine exercise. TODAY

Steam engines

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands behind your head, with fingertips lightly touching each other (just as you would do for a crunch on the floor). Keep your elbows out to the sides. Engage your abdominal muscles as you rotate your upper body and try to touch your right elbow to your left knee 20 times. Then, repeat with the left.

Do the same 19 times on each side, then 18 times, 17 times, 16 times and so on, until you reach a single rep on each side.

As always, be sure to eat clean and do cardio along with these exercises for a lean, strong body.

Want more of Jenna's Fit Tips? Sign up for her weekly newsletter! And find more workouts here.

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