How do you know if your core is weak? Can you hold a plank for at least 40 seconds? Can you do at least a few pushups without your back sagging? These may both be hints of a weak core. Try these proven movements to strengthen and tighten up your mid-section.

Ab Roll-out – Probably one of the best movements to train entire front of body. There are different variations to the Ab Roll-out: Stability Ball, Barbell, Kneeling Ab Wheel, and Standing Ab Wheel.

Directions:

  1. It’s recommended that you start with a Stability ball. The bigger the ball the easier it will be.
  2. Kneel on a mat or the floor and place hands on ball (or ab wheel). Roll it forward while allowing your hips and shoulders to drop down towards the ground at the same time. Back should be flat. When you have extended all the way, or as far as you can, roll back.
  3. 3-4 Sets of 10 Repetitions.
  4. You can start with a stability ball then work your way to a barbell or Ab Wheel.

 

Stir the pot – The Plank is one of the best exercises for the core. After you are able to hold it for 40 seconds here are some variations that you can try:

Directions:

  1. Get into a low plank position with your forearms on a Swiss ball.
  2. Keep your hands together and pretend you have a big wooden spoon.
  3. Make a big circular motion and ‘stir the pot’ with the big spoon.
  4. Be sure to keep your core tight and your glutes engaged.
  5. Try to minimize movement in the lower back (keep it flat).
  6. However many you do in one direction, be sure to replicate the other way.
  7. Aim to do 3 sets of 10-20 reps.

 

Pallof Press – Most focus their core work on the ‘aesthetic’ portion of the abs (rectus abdominis). This is a great exercise to strengthen your complete mid section (Rectus abdominis, internal, and external obliques, as well as transverse abdominis). Variations: Tall Kneel, ½ Kneel, Standing, and using cables, tubing, or monster bands.

Directions:

  1. Attach a single handle to a cable pulley system.
  2. Adjust the cable so that it is just below your chest (if standing).
  3. Grab the handle and align in the middle of your chest
  4. Press the handle straight out.
  5. Be sure to keep your hips and shoulders square and not rotate your body as you press.
  6. Start with a light weight and move your way up.
  7. If standing is too hard try a full kneel then ½ kneel and finally standing.

So there you have it, those are three of the best ab exercises you’ve never heard of. Try incorporating these into your next workout.

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