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This Ab Routine Can Help You Reap the Benefits of True Core Strength

trainer coaching woman in abdominal crunches
True core strength goes beyond your abdominals. Here are seven exercises that can help you reap the real-world benefits of true core strength.

by Mary Lambkin

The everyday benefits of having a strong core are unbeatable. Not only can strong core muscles keep you from injuring yourself, but they can improve your posture and prevent lower back pain.

When it comes to having a strong core, you'll reap a multitude of benefits as long as you're staying active and working out consistently.

Developing an Ab Routine for All-Around Results

Although muscle definition is an indicator of strength, it's not the only one — and it's definitely not the most important one.

True core strength goes beyond your abdominals. It includes your hips, lower back, obliques, and other muscle groups. By developing a holistic ab routine that targets all of these areas, you'll benefit from reduced risk of injury, increased stability, and more foundational strength to fuel every single workout. Not to mention, core strength comes in handy for the challenges of everyday life; whether it be pushing the lawnmower, lifting a heavy piece of furniture, or simply maintaining good posture at your desk.

Try This Ab Routine to Build Core Strength

There's nothing wrong with sit-ups, but it's a good idea to add in some other exercises in order to expand your routine to your obliques, hips, and back. With some consistency and commitment, you can reap the benefits of true core strength.

Try completing one set of each of the seven exercises listed below (or break it down and perform options 1–4 or 4–7) for a solid core workout:

  1. Mountain climbers: Kick-start your workout with this exercise that combines strength and cardio. Mountain climbers will work your abs, hips, butt, and shoulders all at once — igniting all of your muscles as you begin your gym session.
  2. Pushups: Pushups aren't only about working those arms! As you rise and fall, make sure to flex your abdominals, fire up those glutes, and engage the rest of your core.
  3. Deadlifts: Doing a few deadlifts will help build strength in your lower back, glutes, and abs. You'll likely feel the burn tomorrow — but it will definitely be worth it.
  4. Planks: This simple full-body exercise will fire up your core in no time. Hold a steady plank for 15 seconds to target your abs while also building strength in your butt, legs, and shoulders. If you want to challenge yourself further, try a side plank, which is excellent for targeting the obliques!
  5. Reverse crunches: Since you're already on the floor and in the zone, you might as well keep the fun going with a reverse crunch. Feel the burn extend to your lower abs (and back) as you lift your legs up and down.
  6. Ab machine: The ab machine should not be intimidating! Follow our simple how-to video to learn the basics of this safe, effective piece of equipment.
  7. Bridges: Build strength in your back, butt, and hips with a set of bridges. As you become more familiar with the movement, try placing a few weights on your hips for an added challenge.

Having a strong core can provide you with the physical strength you need to not only tackle your gym routine but also conquer everyday life. As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.