6 Best Core Exercises For Abs
The key to stronger abs is doing the right core exercises.
Everyone wants abs, but only those with 10% or less body fat will have them showing. It’s one of the most difficult things to achieve, but with the right ab workout, it’ll be one of the most rewarding.
You see, doing regular ab exercise gives you a lot more than a 6-pack. In addition to strengthening your core, an ab workout will give you better posture, improve training performance, and reduce the likelihood of stiffness, pain, and injury during training.
There are countless core exercises you can try out to work your abdomen out, but today we’re going to talk about 6 of the best. Whether you’re just starting to get in shape or you’ve been going to the gym for years, keep reading and you’ll have a great jumping-off point to get your core strength where it needs to be.
The plank is an old-school ab workout that is common practice in any beginner’s yoga class. It looks easy, and there isn’t much to it, but holding a plank for a long time is about as physically exhausting as any of the other exercises on this list.
To do a plank, you put your hands/arms and feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart. All you have to do is lift your torso and legs so that you’re balancing on either your forearms or hands, as well as your toes. Keep your back and glutes flat, your stomach tight, and your neck slightly forward.
To maximize your plank, hold it for 40-60 seconds, then give yourself a 20-second break. Do 3 reps, making sure your butt isn’t sticking out and you’re not looking up. This will work out your core muscles, as well as your pecs, delts, and legs.
If you’ve got a spotter and you want to make your ab exercise a bit harder, you can try a “weighted” plank. While you’re in plank position, have your spotter add weight in between your shoulder blades to give you more downforce.
2. Hollow Hold
A hollow hold, otherwise known as a “V-sit”, is another common yogic pose that can do a number as a core exercise. Like the plank, it’s easy in theory, but difficult in practice.
Start by laying face-up on the ground, then extend your arms above your head and press your legs together. Push the legs and upper torso/arms off of the floor so that you’re balancing on your butt. With your legs and arms creating instability, your abs have to work really hard to keep you balanced.
Hold the position as long as you can, but 40-60 seconds is a good marker to shoot for. Do 3 reps with short breaks in between and you’ll boost isometric and anti-rotational strength.
By rocking a little bit during the exercise, you can create a bit more instability. You can also try doing “V-ups” by raising and lowering your legs and torso repeatedly.
3. Ab Rollout
To do an ab rollout, you’re going to need a barbell with circular weights or an ab wheel. Get down on your knees and grip the barbell/ab wheel with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your chest by extending your hips into the ground and try not to arch your lower back at all.
Also try to shorten your range of motion so that you’re not extending yourself too much, as it’ll be difficult to get back up. To get back to the starting position, squeeze your lats and push yourself up.
The goal of this exercise is to strengthen your core by lengthening it. It works on muscle fibers that you wouldn’t normally be able to reach and boosts core stability, as well as flexibility.
4. Pallof Press
You’ll need a tension band to do the Pallof press. Loop the band around a pole at around chest level, then face the pole with the band in both hands. Take 3 steps to the side until the band is pulled tight, then extend your arms forward without twisting your arms or torso.
Your outstretched arms are causing the tense band to pull on your torso, so resisting the pull boosts your core and anti-rotational strength. It’s also really good for improving your posture, and your awareness of it while working out, which you can carry over to other core exercises.
5. Sit Ups/Crunches
There’s still a place in the world for situps, one of the best core exercises there ever was. You don’t need any equipment, but the technique is very important here.
To do it the right way, lay flat on your back with your knees bent at a right angle and your arms folded on your chest. Tense up your abs and lift your torso towards your knees, then lower yourself back down to complete a rep.
With situps, you can do as much as your stamina will allow. They mainly target the abs, giving you better ab definition and overall core strength. It’s something you can do at home or in the gym, and it’s hard to argue with a classic.
Gymnasts know a thing or two about the benefits of an L-sit. It’s another simple exercise that generates a lot of tension in the core. Get two dumbbells or kettlebells and sit with them on either side of you with your legs fully stretched out.
Slowly lift yourself off the ground and keep your legs stretched. If you want it to be a bit easier, tuck the legs in towards you a bit, or raise them if you want it to be more difficult. Make sure to keep the tension in the middle and upper back so that you don’t hurt yourself.
L-sits aren’t easy, but once you get them mastered, you’ll have something that works out your arms and core at once.
Take Core Exercises Seriously
Integrate these 6 core exercises into your routine on a regular basis and you’ll notice a difference in no time. Your abs and core are an important part of your overall health, as well as your physique, so if you need help developing an ab workout, it might be time to get some real training.
At Fitness CF, we offer a free training pass to all new guests. No matter what age or fitness level you’re at, we can help, so don’t hesitate to come by for a session ASAP.