What are the best core building exercises to build a strong ripped midsection?
Dara: To build a strong and well balance core you need to hit from all directions and move it in all the ways it is designed to be moved. This means using planks, reverse crunches, hanging leg raises, and rotational movements like v sit twists and Russian twists. Weighted exercises work well too, I like weighted cable crunches and weighted v ups. And it may not directly be a core exercise, but don’t forget about HIIT to melt away the fat and reveal all your hard work!
Matt: As I stated in the previous core training round table, my preference is to see most of the work being done on the functional muscles of the core, mainly the transverse abdominis. This muscle is basically your body’s own weight belt. It wraps around your core and bears the brunt of most lifts that travel through your core. In other words, most lifts.
Planks, hyper extensions and reverse hyper extensions are my favorite exercises to target this muscle. I personally don’t do much else when it comes to core training but I put a large emphasis on those three key exercises. If I were to suggest others they would be of the twisting variety, already mentioned by Dara as this strongly activates the transverse abdominis as well and exercises like Turkish get ups and medicine ball slams. Whole body exercises that really activate the core.
Although not exactly part of the core, I also think glute strength is related directly to core stability, but that’s a subject for another day.
If it’s just ripped abs you’re after then of course diet is key but hanging leg raises and weighted crunches are great ab builders. That and a whole bunch of HIIT and a little LISS thrown in for good measure.
Colin: I still like squats and deadlifts for the primary core builders. If you are engaging your core properly during the exercise (which you should be doing anyway for not only safety but being able to move more weight) you will hit it hard. Matt’s point about the body’s own weight belt reminds me about my weight belt article and how you don’t necessarily want to use one too often during squats because you can take away from strengthening your core. Properly moving heavy weight with most compound lifts will hit your core hard. Otherwise I like ab-wheel rollouts, hanging leg raises and Turkish get ups. Also as mentioned if you want ripped abs you need a low enough body fat for them to show. HIIT and the proper diet combined with a good strength training routine will get you to a six-pack way faster than endless ab exercises will.
Round 1: The best fat loss method
Round 2: Fasted vs fed cardio for fat loss
Round 5: The best 3 exercises
Round 6: The ideal training program
Round 7: How much protein for fat loss
Round 8: The last 10 pounds
Round 9: The ultimate training split
Round 10: Do carbs or fats make you fat?
Round 15: Are cheat meals good or bad?
Round 16: The fastest way to get six pack abs?
Round 17: The most effective exercise sequence
Round 18: Is cardio necessary?
Round 19: IIFYM vs clean eating
Round 20: Newbie mistakes and advice
Round 21: The most important muscle
Round 22: Is core training necessary?