There are many exercises, besides the typical crunches and sit ups, that can help you develop a stronger and more defined core. The below 6 exercises and technique will shape and tighten not just your core, but also your back and biceps as well as help you improve your posture.
The combination of using these exercises and a few fitness items that can be found at the gym, will benefit your overall goals, and make your core workout more challenging and fun at the same time.
Try these 6 different exercises and feel their effects on your body:
1. Medicine Ball Exercises
Medicine ball exercises are a great way to strengthen your core. This simple piece of equipment allows you to perform a lot of different exercises.
– You can do ball slams to train your abs and lats while getting a cardio workout at the same time.
– Medicine ball planks are a great abdominal exercise that really challenges your balance and build your core stability.
– You can also do medicine ball sit-ups if you need some additional resistance.
– Try doing some rotational medicine ball throws or sit-up medicine ball throws with your gym partner. These are both great exercises for abs and back strengthening.
Planks are one of the best core exercises. Although people often think of them as just abdominal exercises, they work multiple muscle groups, including your back, shoulders, arms and even legs.
Because they don’t involve the same bending as crunches, planks can be a good exercise for improving your posture, flexibility and even fix back pain
You should begin with a basic elbow plank, and gradually increase the time you spend in this position. As you get stronger, try to add plank variations to further test your balance and strength.
You can try uneven planks where you rest one elbow on the ground but support your other side with your hand (imagine a position similar to the bottom of a push-up).
You can raise an arm or a leg, or you can try side planks to get at other core muscles.
The next few abdominal exercises are a great change from standard crunches and sit ups. Cable machines can provide you with a great core and back workout.
If you place the cable high enough, and pull it down and across your body, you can perform wood chops to work your rectus abdominus and obliques. If you place the cable low and pull it up and across your body, you can do standing cable lifts to work the muscles in a different way.
You can also do cable crunches, kneeling cable crunches, reverse crunches, one-arm high-pulley cable side bends and much more.
When you really learn your way around a cable machine, there’s almost no limit to the exercises for your abs and back that you can do.
4. Ab Wheel Roll-outs
The ab wheel is a great piece of equipment that when used right can work your whole abdominal area, your lats and your shoulders
Kneel on the ground and hold the ab wheel in front of you with your hands. Place it on the ground directly under your shoulders. Tighten your core, then roll forward until your core feels like you might lose tension. Before your form breaks, stop and roll yourself back up.
5. Loaded Carry Exercises
Sounds simple right ? That’s because these exercises are really pretty simple, but effective. You pick up heavy things and carry them while you walk. A loaded carry is great for your core, but it also works your grip strength, your legs and more. You can carry dumbbells, weight plates, kettlebells or pretty much anything that’s heavy enough to be challenging for you.
- A traditional farmer’s walk, you’ll carry two equivalent objects in each hand at the sides of your body.
- In the waiter’s carry, you’ll carry a weight in one arm above your head. (When performing asymmetrical carries, make sure to complete reps on both sides)
As you perform these exercises, don’t shrug your shoulders upward. Instead, keep your shoulders back. As you walk, keep your core tight, and don’t sway back and forth as you walk.
6. Leg Raises
The hanging leg raise is a great core exercise that works your whole abdominal area. The emphasis, however, goes on the hip flexors and the lower ab area. The stabilizing muscles involved in the exercise are the rectus abdominis and the obliques. This exercise improves the stability in the lower back as well.
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These 6 multi-purpose exercises target several muscles all at once, including arms, shoulders, and yes, your back muscles as well.