Core Exercise Routines for Strength & Power in Older Women

Keeping your core strong can keep your muscles and bones strong, too.
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Tight abs and a toned core body are important for more than just looking good. When your core is strong, you have better balance, stability, back strength and posture. Working out your core can be especially useful for middle-aged and older women because it builds strong muscles and strong bones to guard against sarcopenia -- the loss of muscle mass and strength -- and osteoporosis, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Body-weight Workout

Even if you don’t have access to expensive gym equipment, you can build a workout that will strengthen your core. The key is practicing body-weight exercises, which use your own weight for resistance. In an article for the Monkey Bar Gymnasium, health advocate Kevin Gianni writes that body-weight training is very effective for people of all ages in that it builds strength, endurance and flexibility. In a short, 10-minute, core body-weight routine, you might include 60 seconds each of double crunches, a static plank pose, bicycle crunches, mountain climbers and superman exercises, which also strengthen your lower back. Rest and then repeat the circuit.

Core With Weights

Adding weights to your core workout forces your body to overcome more resistance in performing each exercise. If you can do it and maintain proper form, you might notice better toning and increased strength. For a 10-minute core workout with weights, do 60 seconds each of Russian twists with one hand weight, double crunches with two weights, side plank poses with an overhead lift -- on one side and then the other -- and chest flys with your legs in a tabletop position. Then repeat the circuit.

Full-Body Exercises

Full-body and compound exercises build strong arms and legs, and most of them involve some degree of balance. That means that even if you aren’t doing crunches, your core is fighting to stabilize and will get stronger with practice. Try alternating your normal core exercises with one-legged squats, deadlifts and lunges in which you don’t return your foot to the floor in between reps. You can also perform bent-over rows or reverse flys in a stork stance, with one leg extended out straight behind you, to force your abs to work.


Your core muscles need to recover after you focus on them exclusively during a workout, so allow them to rest for 24 to 48 hours before repeating the same routine. In between core sessions, you can do cardio workouts. Aim to meet the American College of Sports Medicine's recommendation of 150 minutes or more of moderate physical activity per week. When using dumbbells with core exercises, choose weights heavy enough so that you can barely complete the last repetition or two in a total of about 12 reps per set.


It’s normal for your body to lose strength and power as you age, which is why it’s especially important to maintain an exercise routine. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular physical activity can help combat cardiovascular inefficiency, shrinking bones, weakening muscles, loss of balance and menopause-related weight gain. Before you try any new exercise program, get approval from your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition.

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