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Do These 3 Abs Exercises For A Stronger Core

Abs-olutely a great way to get fitter in less than a half hour a day.

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Having a strong core is really good for you.

Via instagram.com

Your core muscles — including your abs — stabilize your spine, which means you can thank your abs for helping control your head, neck, and pelvis. Your core helps you stand, walk, run, jump, and lift things. So, whether you want to become a better runner or weightlifter, improve your tennis swing, lift luggage and push a vacuum, or just prevent back pain and injury, the stronger your core, the better.

So we asked a fitness expert to put together a 21-day core-strengthening challenge that takes only about 15 minutes a day.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

Meet Albert Matheny of Soho Strength Lab and Promix Nutrition. He put together a plan to help you get a stronger mid-section in three weeks, using three moves that are safe and effective and way more interesting than just holding a plank.

You can do them first thing in the morning, add them to your current workout, or even squeeze them into your lunch break.

The important thing, Matheny says, is to complete each day's reps with proper form and control. You're not trying to blow through them as quickly as possible; you're trying to maintain stability and form with every single rep. That means you can take rest as you need it, particularly toward the end of the challenge (when you're doing a lot more at once).

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Here's how to do a candlestick:

Jon Premosch / Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

• Start with your back and arms flat on the floor, your legs at a 90º angle with your torso.

• With your core engaged, your toes pointed, and your legs vertical, lift your hips off the floor as you roll on your shoulders. It's OK if your head comes off the mat a little, but don't let your lower back arch.

• Use your arms for support by pressing them into the floor.

• Maintain tension throughout your body as you return to the start position with control.

• Repeat.

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Here's how to do a side plank with knee to elbow:

Jon Premosch / Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

• Start in a side plank, keeping your body in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.

• Your bottom elbow should be stacked under your shoulder, but you can move your forearm in or out for comfort.

• Holding your torso still, bring your top arm and top leg toward each other so that elbow and knee touch.

• Complete prescribed number of reps before repeating that number on the other side.

And here's how to do a spiderman plank crunch:

Jon Premosch / Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

• Start in a plank, with your hands under your shoulders, or slightly wider apart. Squeeze your glutes and tighten your core.

• Keep your body in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Tuck your chin.

• Without rotating through your hips, bring your left knee to your left elbow.

• Complete prescribed number of reps before repeating that number on the other side.