December 9, 2016


The best core exercises

A lot of the time when I work with clients in their early stages they always seem to mention "I just want to improve my core".

Lot of people seem to get mixed up between having a strong core to having visual abs.Believe it or not it can be quite different.If your looking for visual abs yes you are going to need to do some core work but mostly its going to come down to what you are eating in order to drop bodyfat getting leaner which in turn will visually give you those abs. 

Core work on the other hand is far more important and in general I would always have function and performance far greater than pure aesthetics.Sure body image is important but If you start focusing on moving better,training smarter,getting enough sleep and having an 80/20 approach when it comes to nutrition then I am a huge believer you will start to look better too with time.

Over the past few years I have gotten clients coming into me looking to train very similar to a bodybuilder with split programs and targeted muscle group sessions but to be honest I am really not the type of trainer for that.Great you have that goal but your better off sourcing that body builder trainer.Back to the topic of core work.It really is the center of the body that controls everything and part of your body which I feel is extremely important to work on often.

Lots of us know the basic core drills like planks,russian twists,hollow holds,side bends and so on and some of us should know by now that bringing in big exercises like deadlifts and squats are also super for building core strength but lets look at different and more challenging exercises that you may not know about that is going to help you out big time and you can bring them into your workouts.I am not saying the basic core exercises above are bad.You can never beat the basics but always good to change up your core exercises.

Here is my top 7

  • Pall-of press

One of the best exercises you need to be doing and is for all levels of fitness.I am huge fan of resistance bands as they have so many uses from mobility work,accessory work right into core work.If your a guy or girl who plays rotational sports this really is an exercise you need to be doing often.

  • Banded chop rotations

Very similar to the drill above and something you can pair together starting with chops and ending with a press.This time using 2 bands tied together.This is a type of exercise looking in that can look easy but when doing it right it really can work those core muscles.

  • Barbell rollout complex

Any type of rollout is an excellent drill.There are so many pieces of equipment you can use for this drill from an ab wheel,set of rings to a TRX. Today,I went with the more challenging version of using a loaded barbell with 5kg bumper plates each side.Getting stable over the bar was the big challenge here as straight away the bar wants to roll away from your center of mass.Get tight and try and avoid your hips collapsing forward putting unwanted pressure on your lower back as you roll out.I brought in some push ups off the bar to make it that bit more harder.Give it a go.

  • Seal drag

Another super drill and again paired these up with push ups.Client Ciaran showing great form as he remains braced and tight throughout the movement.We are using val slides here and they are really a super tool to have in the gym bag.I mentioned them here in this article.

  • L-SIT holds

One of the best core exercises out there.A gymnastic drill that is really going to test your core out straight away and something that you should aim for improving on all the time.This really is a movement that needs to be scaled back if your a total beginner and here is a handy way of where resistance bands can help you out below.

  • Bar pulls

To be honest I haven't got a name for this drill but its hard as hell and generally for the more improved athlete.Using a 6kg bar here on top of 2 small boxes and aiming to pull and hold each side.Tough drill that really works the obliques.

  • Barbell turkish get up

Huge fan of the get up and is a drill that really anybody can do.Use your own shoe to start with then work into a kettlebell or dumbbell then aim to make it more challenging going for that barbell which you can see below.


So there you go that's my top 7 and perhaps there is 1 or 2 new exercises in there that you have never seen before.Like I said before its really important in training and strengthening your core regularly.I like to change up my exercises regularly as generally get bored of the same basic core drills.

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.

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David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.