The 7 Best Core Exercises for Your Training Routine

The 7 Best Core Exercises for Your Training Routine

8 min read


27 May 2024

Hack Beast Mode

  1. What are the benefits of a stronger core?
  2. The golden rules to building a stronger core
  3. The best ab exercises for building a stronger core
  4. Getting the most out of your core workouts

Ever noticed that the most important parts of things tend to be the core?

We think about what people are really like “at their core”. Problems usually have a “core issue”. We have “core values” that we stick to.

It’s no coincidence. A strong core is the foundation for success—no matter who or what it is that we’re talking about.

And it’s the same for your body when it comes to building muscle. Your hard work in the gym will only take you so far if you don’t develop a solid and powerful core in the middle of it all.

So, we’re here to look at the best core exercises you can add to your training sessions to get that strong and tough center to complement your big arms, bulky shoulders, massive legs, broad back, and chiseled chest.

Let’s get into it.

What are the benefits of a stronger core?

man doing core workout

Before we get into our core-boosting exercises, we’ll quickly go over the reasons why training these muscles is so vital for your overall fitness and muscle-building capabilities.

Improved stability and balance 

A strong core provides a solid foundation for all of your movements, helping you maintain balance and stability during activities like running, weightlifting, and even everyday tasks like carrying groceries or bending to pick something up off the floor.

Enhanced athletic performance 

Athletes in various sports rely on a strong core for explosive movements, agility, and coordinated body control. Training your core can do the same for you, by improving your workout performance and decreasing your risk of injuries.

Injury prevention and rehabilitation

Following on from the previous point, a weak core can lead to poor posture, imbalances, and increased susceptibility to injuries, particularly in the lower back. Strengthening your core muscles not only helps prevent injuries, but also aids in the rehabilitation process if an injury does occur.

Improved functional movements

The core muscles are involved in almost all movements you perform on a daily basis, from sitting and standing to twisting and reaching. A strong core enhances your ability to move efficiently and with proper form, making everyday activities easier and reducing the risk of strain or discomfort.

Postural support

Weak core muscles often contribute to poor posture, which can then lead to chronic back pain, neck tension, and headaches. Regular core training will help you maintain good posture, alleviating these issues and promoting a healthier spine.

Greater strength and power

A robust core acts as a transfer center for power between your upper and lower body. So, by strengthening your core, you’ll enhance your ability to generate force and maximize your overall strength potential.

It doesn’t matter whether you're an athlete striving for peak performance, someone looking to prevent injuries, or simply dreaming of sculpted abs—training your entire core is a must. You know it makes sense.

Remember, it's not just about aesthetics. It goes far beyond that. It's also about building that strong foundation to support your entire body and help you move through everyday life with confidence and ease.

The golden rules to building a stronger core

man doing sit-ups

To build that solid mid-section, you need to follow the same rules as you would for building muscle on any other part of your body.

  • Maintain good form: Proper form is vital for making sure you train your muscles correctly, avoid injury, and can achieve maximum growth (a.k.a. epic gains).
  • Make the most of compound exercises: Compound movements that train multiple muscle groups will burn more calories, stimulate hormone release and muscle growth, and further enhance your core strength and stability.
  • Focus on progressive overload: Keep increasing the stress you put on your muscles over time, either by lifting more weight than in previous sessions, upping your sets or rep counts, or increasing the time your muscles spend under tension.
  • Get plenty of rest: Give your muscles the chance to recover between sessions. This is when they do their growing, as the protein you consume helps to mend the micro-tears in your muscles from working out. Speaking of…
  • Eat plenty of protein: Work out your ideal daily calorie intake and macros for your specific goals, body type, and physique.
  • Take the right supplements: Whether you’re looking to bulk up, cut body fat, build strength, or just generally supercharge your results, there are lots of great supplements to help you smash your targets.

The best ab exercises for building a stronger core

A couple of sets of some of these exercises make for great finishers at the end of your gym sessions and will set your abs on fire.

Be sure to vary the types of movements you do occasionally to really hit every muscle in and around your abdominals and core area.

Hanging leg raises

Hanging leg raises are an excellent exercise for engaging your core muscles, specifically the lower abs, lower back, and hip flexors, helping to build strength, stability, and definition in your core.

How to do it…

  • Grab a pull-up bar with an overhand grip and hang freely
  • Keeping your legs straight, slowly raise them until they are parallel to the floor
  • Hold for a moment, then lower them back down in a controlled manner

Lying leg raises

That’s enough hanging around. Time to lie down instead.

Lying leg raises take some of the strain off of your lower back and are a bit less challenging than hanging raises. But, they’re still a great way to hit those lower abs and hip flexor muscles.

How to do it…

  • Lie down on your back with your legs extended
  • Place your hands by your sides or under your glutes for support
  • Keeping your core tight, lift your legs off the ground while keeping them straight
  • Slowly lower them back down without touching the ground

Medicine ball Russian twists

Time to get those external and internal obliques involved in all the fun.

If you don’t have ready access to a medicine ball, don’t worry. You can use a weight plate or dumbbell instead. Or just interlock your fingers together to go completely weightless.

How to do it…

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and heels touching the ground
  • Hold a medicine ball or a weight with both hands
  • Lean back slightly, engage your core, and twist your torso to the right, bringing the medicine ball towards the floor
  • Return to the starting position and twist to the left side
  • Keep alternating from side to side


Ahh, the plank. The slowest way to make time pass.

There are lots of options for planking, though. Different variations (such as side planks, knee planks, forearm planks, and elevated planks) can mix things up and test your abs and core in different ways. You can also bring some movement into your planks by performing things like:

  • Plank jacks
  • Bird dogs
  • Up and down planks
  • Mountain climbers
  • Side plank dips
  • Shoulder tap planks
  • Spider-man planks

But first, start off by mastering the classic high plank position.

How to do it…

  • Start in a push-up position, with your palms flat on the ground, elbows directly beneath your shoulders, and toes tucked under
  • Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels, engaging your core muscles.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can while maintaining proper form


Right, time for some household chores… just kidding, it’s not that sort of vacuuming you’ll be doing here (although that might actually be preferable).

This is a little different to the other exercises in the list, but it targets your transverse abdominal muscles, deep inside your core, which protect your internal organs and help stabilize your spine.

Vacuums also help tighten and flatten your stomach, and strengthen your abs for better control and contraction during other exercises. 

How to do it…

  • Stand up straight and exhale all the air from your lungs
  • Expand your chest and pull your stomach in as much as possible, as if trying to touch your navel to your spine
  • Hold this position for around 10-20 seconds, then release
  • Repeat for several reps, focusing on control and deep breathing

Weighted sit-ups

Regular sit-ups and crunches are all well and good. But adding in weights can take these sort of bodyweight exercises to another level for your abs and core.

Once you’re confident using just your body weight, step things up with a light weight, then increase to heavier weights as your core becomes stronger over time.

How to do it…

  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground
  • Hold a weight plate, dumbbell, or medicine ball against your chest
  • Engage your core and lift your upper body, curling towards your knees
  • Slowly lower yourself back down with control


They might have a weird name, but inchworms hit all of the core muscle groups and provide full-body activation, enhancing your all-round strength and flexibility.

They’re also a fun way to stretch out at the start or end of your gym sessions.

How to do it…

  • Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart
  • Bend forward at the hips and place your hands on the floor
  • Walk your hands forward, keeping your legs straight until you are in a push-up position
  • Walk your hands back towards your feet and stand back up

Want some more workout inspiration? Head over to the CrazyBulk YouTube channel for a ton of effective core exercise tips and movement demos to help you perfect your form.

Getting the most out of your core workouts


There you go…seven of our favorite core-strengthening exercises to end an epic workout.

This list is by no means exhaustive, though. There are lots of other dynamic core and ab exercises that you can do, like dead bugs, wood chops, and hollow holds, plus plenty of variations on planks, sit-ups, crunches, bridges, and twists.

Just make sure to include a range of different movements so that you’re hitting the various core muscles from all angles. This will help you build strength, flexibility, and all-around core stability that will make other lifts much more effective.

In the meantime, we’ve got loads more core workout advice and strength-training tips for you over on our blog, too.

Just combine your epic workouts with smart nutritional choices, plenty of rest, and the right supplement stacks, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming abs-olutely ripped. You’ve got this.

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