5 Workouts For a Stronger Core

Although nothing can compare to compound exercises like deadlifts, squats, overhead press and barbell rows when it comes to working the core muscles, sometimes the core also need some specialized work.

Here are 5 workouts that work your core directly. You can do them at the end of every workout:

Workout #1

Exercise #1 – Hanging leg raises


Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 10 on both sides

Hold onto a pull-up bar and let yourself hang while keeping the back rigid. Next, raise the legs as high as you possibly can, while twisting the lower back muscles. If raising them too high is hard for you, raising them to waist level is enough for starters.

Exercise #2 – Bicycle crunch

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 10 on both sides

Lie on the back, extend one leg and bring the opposite knee to the chest. Place the hands behind the head and touch the opposite elbow to the close knee. Twist the body and again touch your other elbow to the other knee.

Exercise #3 – Romanian dumbbell deadlift

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 15

Load some light weight on a barbell and put it on the ground. Grab and hold the bar with both hands keeping them at shoulder width and kneel on the ground so that the bar is placed in front of the chest. Keep the core firm, roll forward as much as you can before you feel that the lower back is starting to sag. Contract the lats hard and go back to the starting position.

Workout #2

Exercise #1 – Barbell rollouts

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 10

Put some light weight plates on a barbell and put it on the ground. Grab the bar with both hands at shoulder-width and kneel on the ground in a way that the bar would be positioned in front of the chest. Keep the core firm, roll forward as fast as you possibly can until the lower back muscles start to sag. Contract the lats tight and go back to the starting position.

Exercise #2 – Cable wood chop

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 10

Connect a rope handle with a low pulley of a cable machine and step backward as far enough from the machine so that there is tension in the cable. Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart and split the legs, in a way that one foot is 3 or 4 feet in front of the other. Rotate the torso diagonally upwards until you reach over your head, much like doing a chopping move. Complete the reps and repeat with the opposite side.

Exercise #3 – Back extensions

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 10

Grab a weight plate and hold it onto the chest and lock the legs in a back extension machine. Allow the torso to bend in a forward motion until you feel that you start losing the arch in the lower back. Stop there. Extend the back in a way that the torso is in a straight line. Don’t arch the back too much.

Workout #3

Exercise #1 – Plank Mountain Climber

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 15 on both sides

Get yourself into a push-up position and lower the elbows to the ground in a way that the forearms are placed flat on the ground. Move one knee to the elbow, then move it back rapidly, while pulling the opposite knee to the opposite elbow.

Exercise #2 – Cable wood chop

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 10

Connect a rope handle with a low pulley of a cable machine and step backward as far enough from the machine so that there is tension in the cable. Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart and split the legs, in a way that one foot is 3 or 4 feet in front of the other. Rotate the torso diagonally upwards until you reach over your head, much like doing a chopping move. Complete the reps and repeat with the opposite side.

Exercise #3 – Dumbbell Russian twist

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 15 on both sides

Get a medicine ball, weight plate or a dumbbell and sit on the ground and raise the feet slightly above the ground. Hold the load straight in front of you and keep the spine rigid. The torso is supposed to be around 45 degrees from the ground. Twist the torso in an explosive manner as much as you can to the left and then to the right.

Workout #4

Exercise #1 – Renegade rows

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 10 on both sides

Grab a dumbbell or a kettlebell with both hands and get yourself into a push-up position. Shift the weight to the right side while keeping the torso and legs rigid. Row the left-hand dumbbell the left side, while keeping the body parallel to the floor. Lower it down to the ground, then do the same thing with the right hand.

Exercise #2 – Decline sit-ups

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 10

Lie on a decline bench and secure the legs in the braces. Contract the abs and raise the torso off the decline bench until you get to a sitting position.

Exercise #3 – Back extensions

Number of sets: 3

Number of reps: 20

Workout #5

Exercise #1 – Bicycle crunch

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 20

Exercise #2 – Hanging leg raise

Number of sets: 4

Number of reps: 20

Exercise #3 – Back extensions

Number of sets: 3

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