Besides building rock hard abs, regular core exercise can improve your balance and stability. A strong and stable core can help the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen work in harmony, leading to improved posture. With benefits that go far beyond washboard abs, regular core work should be incorporated into your training routine.

Grab a mat and try this quick core crushing routine for a stronger, more defined core.

High knees (3 sets of 30-second intervals)

  • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart
  • Hover your hands over your belly button, palms facing the floor
  • Quickly drive your right knee up to meet your right hand
  • Bring the same leg back to the ground and immediately bring the left knee upward to meet your left hand
  • As you alternate knees, you want to maintain a hopping motion on the balls of your feet
  • Be sure to engage your abdominal muscles throughout the exercise

Reverse crunches (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)

  • Begin on your back, arms by your side and palms facing down to help maintain balance
  • Bend your knees 90 degrees and lift your feet up so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor
  • Press your palms into the floor as you crunch your knees into your chest
  • Pause briefly at the top of this movement then lower your legs slowly, in a controlled manner, back to the ground without letting your back arch off the ground for one rep

Windshield wipers (3 sets of 8 to 10 reps)

  • Lay on your back with your legs raised straight above your hips
  • Spread your arms straight out to your sides, forming a “T” shape
  • Rotate your legs to one side, stopping just before touching the floor
  • Repeat on the other side for one rep

Pike ups (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)

  • Begin in a plank position with your forearms on the floor
  • Lift your buttocks into the air so that your body forms an upside-down “V” (note: you may need to move your toes closer to your body to achieve this position)
  • Hold for five seconds at the top of this movement before returning to the starting position for one rep

V-sits (3 sets of 12 to 15 reps)

  • Lay flat on your back with your arms by your sides
  • While keeping your legs straight and together, slowly raise them as high as you can
  • As you bring your legs upward, lift your torso towards your thighs until your body forms a "V" shape
  • Hold momentarily at the top of this movement before lowering your legs and your torso back down to the ground for one rep