When it comes down to core strength, most people are quick to jump to ab exercises. What most people don’t know though is that core exercises go way further than just your abs. The whole basis of the group determines how strong you are when holding yourself together through a range of movements, mostly being able to stabilise yourself as you workout with a large number of weights or biased exercises.

Core strength is a great way to get yourself into proper form for other more complex exercises. Improving your core strength will soon lead to better progress across the board. When your core is strong, you’ll find your performance is far better with compound exercises, as this is where most of the stability comes from. The muscles also help you move around safely and comfortably in your daily life by strengthening your whole mid-section in a practical way. Well worth the effort!

Exercise ball plank

Exercise example

One of the most commonly used exercises to improve overall core strength is the plank. It’s a classic for a reason, despite not being the best tone definition builder. It’s amazing for core strength nonetheless.

One awesome way you can change it up to make it really hammer your abdominal muscles into good strength is to do them balancing on a stability ball. This need to keep yourself stable throughout the exercise as well as holding the position is what recruits extra muscles and makes the whole exercise worthwhile in the long run.

Overhead Lunges

Exercise example

Lunges, in general, are an excellent exercise, but they aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of improving your mid-section. That’s fair enough, as they’re a lower body exercise, and they’re fantastic at what they do.

Like so many exercises, there are a few ways to change the game and hit your core to no end. Holding a weight above you as you perform the exercise means that your legs and your core must work hard to keep you balanced throughout. This is what your core will thank you for in the long run.

Single Arm Chest Press

Exercise example

The chest press again is not one of the most common exercises that will come to mind improving your core strength - but don’t rule it out. This itself has a variation of the most basic function of the exercise that you can use to make sure that your core is doing more work than ever before. By using one dumbbell at a time in one hand, your core has to act fast to keep you still and stop the weight from essentially knocking you off balance so hard that you have to twist. It really does work.

Bosu® Squat


Exercise example

Squats, like the lunges that are involved above, do have a variation that makes them ideal for core strength building. If you add the incredible piece of gym equipment that is the half ball into the mix, it’s going to have a huge impact on the involvement your core has throughout the exercise, and it will really do some awesome work.

Any work that you do on a half ball means that you have to balance more than any other exercise you’ve done before. That’s their whole point. Since a squat is such a big lift, your core will really need to push you further than ever.

Deficit Deadlift

Exercise example

Although it isn’t too different from the principle of the half ball squat, adding in a deficit deadlift will have a huge impact on your core too, but in a different way. The deficit deadlift means that you are going far lower than usual by standing higher than you are used to with the bar still on the floor for that extra deep grab.

You’ll need to hit your muscles even harder just to be able to do the exercise. The weight that you use will make it feel easy to fall forward, and this is where your lower back and your abs will have to work overtime to keep you safe throughout the exercise!

All these exercises have a unique twist and dynamic to fire up your mid-section. They are awesome at what they need to do, and you really will see vast improvements to your overall performance as you build up your core strength.

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.