Taking your core workout to the next level

muscle maintenance

Time can pass awfully slow when you're hoping to see results after embarking on a new exercise regimen. But if you do gentle core work consistently, you can start to see progress in as little as two to four weeks. Once you do, you might wonder when and how to progress from there or how to just maintain the gains you've made. Either way, our tips below will help.

When to progress

Repeatedly challenging muscles makes them stronger. As you get stronger, exercises in your routine will become easier to do. You're ready to progress if you can manage all four of these tasks throughout each exercise:

  • maintain good form
  • stick to the specified tempo
  • use a full, or comfortable, range of motion
  • complete the suggested number of reps or hold the position for the suggested number of seconds.

How to progress

You can continue to challenge your muscles by making one of these choices:

  • adding sets (up to two, if specified in the instructions)
  • trying the higher level variation of the exercise
  • moving up to a more challenging core regimen, such as the six workouts provided in the Core Exercises Special Health Report.

How to maintain gains

At some point, you may be satisfied with the gains you've made. To maintain gains, continue your routine, sticking to the highest level of challenge you've achieved.

If you get sick or take time off for other reasons, you may need to drop down a level or do fewer reps and sets before building up again.

What if you begin to feel bored? Go over your goals again. Then vary your core work by trying a new workout or selecting new exercises to do throughout the day.

For more details on developing an exercise plan, buy Gentle Core Exercises: Start toning your abs, building your back muscles, and reclaiming core fitness today, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.