Do you want to improve your posture, invigorate your workouts, boost your balance and reduce your chance of injury?

Then let’s get to the core of the matter—core conditioning, that is.

Your core—which includes back, side, pelvic and buttock muscles—forms a vital link between your upper and lower body. And because it’s literally in the center of everything, it needs to be strong and flexible to sustain your overall health and well-being.

Core workouts should be part of a comprehensive fitness plan that includes at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, most days of the week. Add to that 20 to 30 minutes of strength training, including some core work, two to three times a week, and you will be well on your way to developing core competency.

So if you’re ready to rock, 24Life has compiled some expert moves to help you get more from your core.  Mix, match and add a few of these moves to the end of your next workout for a killer burn in your core. Note: Don’t forget to warm up and cool down as needed before and after performing these moves.

Hollow-Body Hold to Reverse Crunch

  • Begin lying on your back with your hands at your sides and your feet together.
  • Bring your hands over your head and hover your feet off the ground in a hollow-body hold, bracing your core and driving your lower back on the ground.
  • Bring your arms down toward your sides as you reverse-crunch your feet toward the ceiling, bringing your hips off the ground.
  • Repeat this sequence.

Three-Beat Crunch

  • Begin in a supine position with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent and hands on your thighs.
  • In three movements, slowly crunch up, creeping your hands up your thighs to knee height.
  • Slowly lower down and repeat.

Plank With Shoulder Tap

  • Begin in a high plank with your hands under your shoulders and your toes on the ground, forming one long line from head to heels.
  • Brace your core and bring your right hand up to tap your left shoulder. Place it back on the ground.
  • Bring your left hand up to tap your right shoulder. Place it down and repeat, alternating hands. Don’t rotate through your core—maintain your plank.

If you want to add some equipment to your core exercises, here are a few to consider.

TRX Standing Oblique Rollout

Make this movement easier by stepping away from the anchor or make it harder by stepping back. As you roll out, try to stabilize your body on the straps and engage your core in 360 degrees.

  • Stand facing away from the anchor point in a standing plank position with your feet under your shoulders.
  • Lean forward so the handles are in front of you, your hands at chest height, arms straight.
  • Maintain a tight body position and roll out with control, letting your hands come up above your head and keeping your body one long line from head to heels and your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Press on the handles and squeeze your armpits to bring the handles back down in front of you and return to start.

Kettlebell Windmill

  • Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart.
  • Place your left foot forward at the 12 o’clock position; your right foot should be placed at about the 4 o’clock position. The toes on both your right and left feet should be pointing in the same direction.
  • Hold a kettlebell in your left hand so that it is resting along the inside of your left thigh. Hold your right arm extended straight up.
  • To start the move, keep both knees slightly bent, turn your head to look up at your right arm and push back into your right hip.
  • Keep your spine long and straight with your eyes on your right hand as you hinge forward, allowing the kettlebell to slightly lower to the ground. Once you can no longer hinge forward on your hips (you will feel your spine start to move), push your hips forward and pull yourself back up to standing using your glutes. The movement speed should be slow and controlled throughout.

SandBell V-Up

  • Start by lying flat on the ground or on a mat with your arms and legs outstretched, gripping the SandBell in two hands overhead.
  • Lift the SandBell as you crunch through your abdominal muscles while simultaneously lifting your straight legs until your arms and legs meet at the top. Your body should be in a V shape at the top of the crunch, torso lifted and core engaged. Modify by lifting only one leg at a time or bending your knees to reduce the intensity.
  • Lower down slowly to the starting position, keeping your core engaged and back flat throughout the movement. Repeat.

Photo credit: m-imagephotography, Getty Images