Core Exercises

Here are core exercises for strengthening your midsection. Using these to improve the functional strength of your midsection can improve how you look and feel.

We list on another page in this section of our website the many myths about midsection exercise. We also highlight the key difference between this type of exercise and exercise for other body parts. If you want to review that Core Strength Exercises page, you will find the link awaiting you at the bottom of this page.

The best way to increase the functional strength of your midsection is to work the muscles of your midsection together rather than trying to isolate them to work them separately.

Midsection exercises should primarily target the rectus abdominis or upper abs, the transverse abdominis or lower abs, and the internal and external obliques.

So, let's find out more.

Core Exercises Overview

Since it's impossible to perform all movements simultaneously, what's the best order for training them?

We agree with David Grisaffi and other experts who think that they should be trained in the following sequence:

First, the transverse abdominis or lower abs,

Second, the obliques, and then

Third, the rectus abdominis or upper abs.

On the core exercise page in this section of our website, we explain exactly how to warm up for doing core exercises and how to train your midsection safely. You will find the link to that page listed on the site map/index.

What are the best exercises for each of the three core muscle groups?

Well, it depends upon two factors.

(i) It depends upon your training level. Since the various exercises have different degrees of difficulty, it's important to begin with easier core exercises and then work your way to the more difficult ones.

(ii) It also depends upon which exercises you've been doing recently. You may be ripe for a change.

Except for a Swiss (exercise, stability) ball, you don't need any special equipment to train your core. Instead of buying an expensive, ineffective abdominal machine, we suggest that you buy Grissaffi's book and a Swiss ball.

In addition to the exercises listed below, there are many other great midsection exercises. Some, such as lunge, bent-over row, front squat, and reverse hyperextension on a Swiss ball or back machine, may be familiar to you. Others, such as supine leg extension on a Swiss ball or core twister on a Swiss ball, may be unfamiliar.

Since many midsection exercises work more than just one muscle group, the following categories are somewhat arbitrary.

Exercises for the Lower Abs

Horse stance vertical

Pelvic tilt

Alternate leg lift

Leg cycle jointly

Reverse crunch on floor

Reverse crunch on bench

Hanging leg raise

Exercises for the Obliques

Cross crunch

Russian twist: bent knees

Russian twice: straight legs

Side flexion [bend] using resistance (we like a barbell in a power rack)

Swiss ball side flexion [bend]

Horizontal woodchopper using cable

Standing woodchopper using cable

Standing reverse woodchopper using cable

Exercises for the Upper Abs

Floor crunch

Swiss ball crunch

Straight-arm pull-down using cable

Weighted crunch on Swiss ball

Cable crunch

How to Proceed

There are two reasons why it's important to change the exercises in your core routine every month or two.

First, doing so will prevent your body from adapting to the exercises. Results come as your body is adapting to a routine, not after it has adapted to a routine.

Second, it helps to prevent boredom. In one respect, training to strengthen your core is more like fitness exercise than other kinds of strength exercise, namely, it tends to be boring. So keeping it as interesting as possible is important.

To design a satisfactory core routine for yourself, simply pick one exercise from each of the three categories and do them in the order listed. (Of course, use the guidelines provided on the previous page of this section.)

In addition to functional core strength, many trainees want a trim or even chiseled ["cut"] abdomen. Please understand that, even if it is strong, your midsection won't look good if its muscles are covered by a layer of fat.

If improving your appearance is a goal, please use all the other aids provided to you for free here at In particular, eating properly should be a priority, and you may be wise to use a proper dose of cardio as well.

If you'll pay the price, you can have a strong, attractive midsection.

Core exercises related pages to help further

See the pages listed below to get you started and to help you further.

Best Ab Exercises

Choosing Core Exercises

Also see 'LOSE BELLY FAT FAST' which is the first page in this section of our website. You will find that page link awaiting you at the bottom of this answer.

If you are looking for about core exercises, you can search this site or the World Wide Web.


10 Minute Cardio Dance Abs Workout

› Core Exercises

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