Best Exercises for Men’s Core

All healthy lifestyles include some form of exercise. One of the best parts of the body to work on is your core, because it provides foundational strength and structure for the rest of your body. Ensuring the core muscles are strong and working will establish the perfect base for a healthy, fit body.

Core exercises improve balance and stability, can help tone your abs, and make it easier to do most physical activities. Specifically, they train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work together. Most sports and other physical activities depend on having stable and strong core muscles.

Exercises for Men’s Core

The core of your body is made up of four distinct muscle areas. These are:

  • Traverse abdominis (the muscles on each side of the belly button)
  • Internal and external obliques (extending diagonally from the pelvis to the ribs)
  • Rectus abdominis (known as the six-pack)
  • Multifidus and erector spinae (the muscles along the spine)

Identifying the correct exercises to work these muscle groups is an important first step. Here are several exercises that specifically target each of these areas of the core: 

Traverse Abdominis Exercises:

1. Medicine Ball Twists

Step 1: Using a light dumbbell or medicine ball, sit on the ground with your knees slightly bent and ankles crossed

Step 2: Start with the weight on one side. Lift it and move it to the other side of your body, touch it down, and bring it back

Step 3: Perform 3 sets of 20

2. High-Tension Plank

Step 1: Lie face-down on the ground, lift your upper body on to your forearms, and hold for 10 seconds

Step 2: If you aren’t able to hold this position being on your feet, try it with your knees on the ground

Step 3: Perform 3 to 4 sets of 10-second holds

3. Heel Touches

Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and pointing to the ceiling

Step 2: Raise your shoulder blades up and alternate touching each heel with the corresponding hand on that side of your body

Continued

Step 3: Perform 3 to 4 sets of 20 touches

Internal and External Obliques Exercises: 

1. Side Plank

Step 1: Lie on your side with your legs straight

Step 2: Lift your body, rest it on your forearm, and hold for 30 seconds

Step 3: Perform 3 to 4 sets

Step 4: Rotate to the other side of your body and, with your other forearm, repeat steps 2 and 3

2. Side Plank Variation

Step 1: Lie on your side with your legs straight

Step 2: Lift your body and support your weight with your hand

Step 3: Extend your free hand up towards the ceiling and hold for 30 seconds

Step 4: Rotate to the other side of your body and, with your other hand, repeat steps 2 and 3

Rectus Abdominis Exercises:

1. Abdominal Crunch

Step 1: Lie on your back and place your feet on a wall so that your knees are at 90-degree angles

Step 2: Cross your arms on your chest 

Step 3: Raise your head and shoulders off the floor and hold for five seconds, then go back down

Step 4: Do 3 to 4 sets of 10 lifts

2. Leg Lifts

Step 1: Lie on your back with your legs outstretched and arms to your side

Step 2: Lift your legs from the hips, hold for 10 seconds, and release

Step 3: Do 10 to 12 lifts 

Multifidus and Erector Spinae Exercises:

1. Segmental Rotation

Step 1: Lie on your back and bend your knees so they’re pointing towards the ceiling

Step 2: With your back continuing to touch the ground, lower your knees to one side and hold for 10 seconds

Step 3: Lift your knees back up, lower them to the other side, and hold for 10 seconds

Step 4: Do 3 to 4 sets of 20 lifts

2. Superman

Step 1: Lie on your stomach with your legs outstretched and your arms above your head

Step 2: Simultaneously lift your legs and arms, hold for 10 seconds, and release

Step 3: Do 10 to 12 lifts

Continued

Safety Considerations

Exercising is one of the best ways to feel good and be healthy. It is important to remember, however, that exercise should not cause injury or pain. Before beginning to exercise, be sure to understand where you are physically and what your body can and cannot take.

You should start any new workout slowly and with caution. Once you are comfortable with the movements and requirements of the exercise, you can gradually build up to doing more repetitions, heavier weights, or longer time periods.

Seek professional advice if you have any doubts or questions about an exercise.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 01, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Marshfield Clinic: Core Muscle Activation

Mayo Clinic: “Core Exercises: Why You Should Strengthen Your Core Muscles.”

Mayo Clinic: “Core-Strength Exercises.”

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