What is Core Exercises?
As the name suggests, your “core” is the central mid-region of your body, serving as a foundation for a range of daily movements. Every time you twist, bend, pivot, or lean, you’re using this chain of muscles, which include not just the abs, but the hamstrings, glutes, lats, traps, and hip abductors as well. Most importantly, your core muscles help you retain balance.
Benefits of Core Exercises
It’s fairly obvious that the best ab workouts and core exercises deliver a range of advantages for men, however, there are more benefits to this regimen than meet the eye. Yes, you’ll be generating stronger abs, improving your sense of balance, strengthening your mid-section, retaining better posture, and increasing your agility, but you’ll also be eliminating back pain.
Below are our top SIX exercises for a solid core.
Planks are great for working both your abs and your lower back. And by doing dynamic planks, you can target your arms and shoulders at the same time.
How: Get in a press-up position but rest on your forearms rather than your hands. Make sure your back is straight and tense your abs and your glutes. Hold without allowing your hips to sag.
- Glute Bridge
A strong core needs a strong set of glutes, but if you spend all day sitting behind a desk then chances are you're suffering from weakened glutes and lower-back issues. Activating them will do wonders for your physique now and in years to come.
How: Lie flat on the floor with your legs bent. Drive through your heels to push your hips upwards as far as you can go, before pausing and returning to the start position.
- Flutter Kicks
These are another great exercise for feeling the burn as you should keep your muscles tensed throughout the entire exercise. They’re also particularly good for targeting your lower abs.
How: Lie flat on the mat with your legs straight. Place your hands under your lower back and make sure your spine stays straight throughout the exercise. Lift your legs up so they are at around a 45-degree angle to your body. Move your feet apart and then bring them back in so that your right leg crosses over your left leg. Then move them apart again and bring them back in so that your left leg is on top. Repeat for the full minute.
- Superman Hold
Actual, real-life, in-water swimming is great for your core, but a static extension of your hips and upper back is also going to strengthen your glutes and core. We added the 'swimming' movement at the end just to make the whole thing a bit harder.
How: Lie on your stomach, keeping your spine and neck in neutral. Extend both arms and both legs at once as if you’re Superman flying through the air. Your waist and belly button should be the only things touching the floor. Hold the position for 15 seconds during the early rounds and build that time in increments as you progress. Make sure your upper and lower body are moving in sync.
- Leg Raises
Leg raises are fantastic for working your lower abs, which is one of the harder areas to target. They also work your hip flexors.
How: With your back firmly pressed into your exercise mat, lift both legs up until they are at a 90-degree angle to your body. Lower them back down until they are just about to touch the floor and then take them back up again. You might want to place your hands under your lower back to help stop you from over-arching your back.
If doing both legs at the same is too hard then try doing alternate legs to build up strength.
- Reverse Crunch
When doing traditional sit ups, it’s easy to rely on momentum. However, by doing reverse sit ups, you remove that temptation. Reverse crunches instead focus on building strength and control.
How: Lie flat on your back with your hands beneath your hips. Bend your knees and lift them towards your head, drawing them upward slightly at the end of the movement. Lower your feet back down just above the floor to complete one repetition.