7 Epic At Home Core Exercises (That Aren’t Crunches!)

Dancers are constantly told that they need to have a strong core. Core strength is about so much more than rippling abs – especially for dancers. Weak core muscles can not only cause problems in your technique, but they can lead to lower endurance and even injury


Yet, due to our jobs, we don’t always have access to a gym. That’s why having an arsenal of at home core exercises can definitely come in handy. But I’d be willing to guess, my core exercises and your core exercises look a little different. 


You see, dancers across the country have been doing the some variation of the same crunch combination since the dinosaurs walked the earth. You know the combo: center crunch, single-leg-crunch, switch, lift-both-knees-to-90-crunch, both-legs-straight-up-crunch, straddle-crunch, side-crunch, switch, static plank, collapse. 


More and more evidence is coming out that crunches are not the be-all-end-all for core strengthening. In fact, crunches only target a very small portion of your core and can create lower back pain


So where does that leave your list of at home core exercises? Looking a little thin? That’s okay! I have compiled a list of seven at home core exercises that will take your core training up a notch!



personal training for dancers




Dynamic Planks

A dynamic plank is a plank that is not static. In other words, you’re doing more than just “holding” the plank. Dynamic planks are a fantastic at home core exercise because, first, they are equipment free and, second, they engage more than your abs. Dynamic planks engage both your superficial and deep abdominals, but they also fire your glutes, obliques, shoulder girdle and hips, for stability. 


Good examples of dynamic planks are: around the world planks, plank pull throughs, up-down planks, RKC planks, and side planks with flexion. Want some other plank variations? Try out these five core moves for a dynamic core workout. 

Bird Dogs

Bird dogs are a Dancers Who Lift favorite. Why? Because Bird Dogs train your body to maintain a neutral and stable spine while your limbs work seperately. These exercises are particularly great as a part of your pre-show warm up. You can do them anywhere and they get your whole body engaged and focused. 



We here at Dancers Who Lift LOVE the bird dog. It’s. Great dynamic, functional core exercise. So often as dancers, we fall into the trap of static core training, such as planks for time. And while this might *feel* really effective, ultimately when we’re dancing, we need to be able to engage our core as we’re moving! The bird dog is an optimal exercise for training contralateral movement— while maintaining postural alignment! Additionally, this movement works for hamstrings, the glutes, the rectus abdominous, the obliques, the spinal extensors, the lots and the posterior shoulder musculature ! So it’s a lot of bang for your buck ! It can also be easily progressed or request, depending on the dancers strength and ability. 👉A regression (easier) might look like just moving one limb, or not having the limbs leave the floor 👉 a progression (harder) might look like maintaining a hovering quadruped position, or even working in a full plank position, or potentially holding weights in the hands. If you want to learn more great movements like this, and how they can apply to one’s dancing, join our free ab challenge for dancers ! Link is in my bio! #Dancerswholift #shelifts #mobilitywod #movementitmedicine #strongnotskinny #fitness #dance #nycdancer #abs #selfcare

♬ original sound – Amber 💜


Dead Bugs

Another DWL staple and wonderful at home core exercise is the dead bug. Dead bugs are fantastic at working your deep core muscles, preventing back pain, and promoting strong spinal stability. The best part? There are TONS of variations on the dead bug so no matter what your mood, you can choose the variation that works best for your needs. 


Reverse Crunches

Reverse crunches are sneaky hard. But, for this exercise, you will need to find something stable to hold onto while you’re lying on the floor; this could be a couch or bed frame, something that wont move as you do these. Once you’ve found it, lay down and grab hold of it with your arms above your head and get started. Ready to level up your reverse crunches? Try out coach Ariel’s Dragon Flag reverse crunch here

L-Sit to Bridge

Okay, this little combo will have you SWEATING. Add this at home core exercise to your pre-show ritual and you will be warm and ready! Start in an L-Sit, hovering your booty just above thr ground. Then, push your hips up toward the sky until your body is in a table top position. Finally, return to the L-sit starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat. Want a visual for the form? Click here. 



I know, I know. But before you yell at me that push-ups aren’t a core exercise, take a moment and think about good push-up form. Yes, that’s right, good push-up form is basically a plank. Therefore, is a push-up not a type of dynamic plank? Push-ups are a true full body exercise and they will do wonders for your core strength when done correctly. The key to making push-ups a part of a dynamic core workout, is ensuring that you are mastering your form before you progress to the next level. Not sure what that looks like? Give this form break down a quick scan. 


Hollow Holds

Finally, we get to hollow holds. Hollow holds are fantastic for targeting your deep core muscles. Hollow holds work against back pain, increase pelvic floor strength, and will do wonders for your front extensions! Hollow holds also have tons of variations like hollow holds with flexion, banana rolls, supermans, and hollow hold rocks. 

So, which of these core exercises will you add to your workout? Pick a couple and let us know how it goes! Want us to check your form? Tag us in a video on instagram @dancerswholift. We’d love to give it a look! 


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