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5 Best Floor Exercises: A Few Simple Practices Can Keep Your Body Well-Grounded

Sep. 11 2023, Published 5:43 p.m. ET

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Who says you need fancy equipment to get in a workout? Here are five floor exercises requiring nothing but your body and a desire to build core muscle strength.

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Strengthen your core muscles, including your abdominals and lower back, with this simple exercise. “A plank is when you hold your body in a straight and in-line position like a plank of wood,” explained Cleveland Clinic exercise physiologist Katie Lawton.


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From plank position, the simple act of pushing the ground away involves more than one joint and works chest, arm and shoulder muscles. “You get more bang for your buck by targeting muscles and less time,” said DJ McDonough, an exercise epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health.

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Mountain climbers

Starting in a press up-position (as if one were doing a plank or push-up), you can work the shoulders, hamstrings, triceps, quads and core muscles by just quickly pulling one knee to your chest and then the other. That's why, explained the folks at the U.K.'s PureGym, it is often considered a full body exercise.

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“Anyone can do a bridge,” said Marty Boehm, a physical therapist with Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Lying down on your back, simply lift and hold your buttocks off the ground. The whole region “from the rib cage to the pelvis and all the way from the belly button around to the back becomes solid and creates a contraction of all the muscle groups, like a corset” — which can strengthen your glutes, abs and hamstrings.

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This oldie but goodie works core muscles and hip flexors. Lying down and bracing your feet, lift your back off the ground using your abs and then lower yourself as if uncurling one vertebra at a time. John Shackleton, strength and conditioning coach for men’s basketball at Villanova University, recommends that you cross “arms at your chest as opposed to hands behind the head to keep any unnecessary strain off the neck.”


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