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Beautifully-defined abs are on everyone’s summer must-have list. However, there’s much more to your core than how you look in a bikini. A strong core is essential for reasons beyond aesthetics; from balance and stability to back support and everyday tasks (Harvard Health). Your core is always working for you; it’s time to put a bit of work into it. Forget the standard crunches, and get ready to give your core some tough love! (photo credit here)

Perform each of the exercises below for 1 minute, doing as many of each move as you can during that time without sacrificing form. Complete this routine on three, non-consecutive days each week, and you’ll see – and feel – the benefits of a powerful core.

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1. Basic Plank via Women’s Health Magazine – The plank is one of the most effective core exercises. If you find it difficult to hold for one minute, take 5 second breaks as needed, then get right back into position. Work up to one minute with no breaks. (photo credit here)

2. Stomach Vacuums via Yahoo Voices– This little known move takes “sucking in” to a whole new level, and it delivers stellar results in the process!

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3. Side Plank with Reach Unders via Fitbie– Get ready to shred your core! Work up to one minute on each side, dropping the hip to the floor and taking 5 second breaks as needed. (photo credit here)

4. Row Your Boat via Fitness MagazineRowing is an amazing workout, and you don’t need a boat to do it! Check out this move from Fitness Magazine that will have your abs on fire!

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5. Spiderman Plank Crunch via Men’s Fitness – A fantastic oblique and overall abdominal exercise. I dare you to do a minute of these! (photo credit here)

6. Reverse Push-up via Men’s Health– The classic push-up is revamped to focus on strengthening your core!

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7. Russian Twists via Jillian Michaels – Jillian Michaels demonstrates this incredibly effective move. To increase difficulty, hover feet a few inches off the floor. (photo credit here)

8. Stability Ball Roll-Out via Shape– Work on core stabilization with this highly effective, low impact move.

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9. Stability Ball Knee Tuck via SixPackFactory– A stability ball is one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment. We’re targeting the lower abdominals specifically with this move! (photo credit here)

Remember:  Great abs are made in the gym but revealed in the kitchen!  Check out this list of foods you should pick up on your next trip to the grocery store to keep you burning fat long after you’ve finished your workout!