The Best Core Workout For Thicker, Stronger Abs (YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!)

If your core is weak, then your ability to get stronger on your exercises and your ability to grow the muscles surrounding each of your joints will be negatively impacted. And, as a bonus, it WILL also provide aesthetic benefits (six pack abs!) as well. Regular core strengthening with core strength exercises does actually increase the thickness of the deep abdominal muscles, meaning that they may help make them a little more visible. So, how exactly do we go about training it? Well, that’s exactly what I’ll cover in this video with a full, best core workout (with 5 of the best abs exercises) that you can do right away for a stronger AND better looking midsection.

But before we dive into the best core workout we need to first note that a better approach to train the core would be to use core exercises that challenge the core in every possible way that your core could be challenged in a lift, sport, or just in your daily life. And this can be broken down into 4 categories. Anterior core stability exercises where we train the body to resist excessively arching the lower back (extension). Posterior core stability exercises where we train the body to resist excessively rounding the lower back (flexion). Lateral core stability exercises where we train the body to resist bending to one side. And lastly, rotary core stability exercises where we train the body to resist excessive rotation of the lumbar spine.

The first of the core strength exercises we’ll do here is abdominal bracing. What you want to do is lay on your back with your knees bent. Then from here, you want to take a deep breath into your belly, a deep breath out, and then when you near maximal exhalation brace your core as if you were prepare for a punch to the gut. Continue breathing while holding this contraction. The next exercise, reverse crunches, does a great job of challenging our anterior core stability. What you want to do here is lay with your knees bent either on a bench or on the ground with your arms holding onto something over your head. Here, posteriorly tilt your pelvis and flatten your lower back by applying the abdominal bracing practice we previously went through. Then, lift your knees up to 90 degrees, curl your pelvis up towards your belly button and then slowly come back down.

Next, we’ll challenge our posterior core stability by using an exercise highly recommended for core strengthening, the Bird Dog. For these, we’ll get on all fours with your back neutral, brace the core, and then simply kick one of your legs backwards while raising the opposite arm until they’re both straight. Hold for a second or two here, then come back down and repeat on the other side. Next, we’ll challenge our lateral core stability with suitcase carries, where you hold a kettle bell or dumbbell with one arm and take steps while ensuring that your torso remains upright and shoulders remain level.

Lastly, we’re going to work on our rotary core stability with one of the best abs exercises available: the palloff press. Here we’ll wrap a band around a fixture, take a few steps out laterally, and assume an athletic stance with knees slightly bent, feet at about shoulder width apart, and your core braced. Then, start with your hands close to your sternum, and from there simply extend your arms forward and back while resisting the urge to rotate inwards.

Here’s a breakdown of the full core workout:

Exercise 1: Abdominal Bracing (1-3 sets of 60 second holds)
Exercise 2: Reverse Crunches (2-3 sets of 10-15 reps)
Exercise 3: Bird Dog (2-3 sets of 5 reps each side)
Exercise 4: Suitcase Carries (2-3 sets of 30s carries each side)
Exercise 5: Palloff Press (2-3 sets of 5-10 reps each side)

All in all, it’s important that within your weekly routine, you’re training your core in each of the 4 categories. Although many movements and big lifts in the gym will indirectly train your core in these movement patterns, these additional exercises can help ensure that you are in fact adequately training your core and not overlooking and key muscles. In the long run, this will not only lead to a better looking midsection, but a stronger and more stable one as well. And for a step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to train these important muscles and pairs them with a weekly workout and nutrition plan based on science, so that you lean down and build lean muscle as efficiently and as safely as possible, then simply take the analysis quiz to discover which science-based program would be best for you and where your body is currently at below:

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Core Workout

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Filmed by: Bruno Martin Del Campo

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39 thoughts on “The Best Core Workout For Thicker, Stronger Abs (YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!)

    • Nico Amaya says:

      @John Normal You need to rewatch the video. He says its recommended to rest 48 hours between crunching sessions, not between ab sessions. And hopefully if you watched this video we’re commenting under, you’ll know that spinal flexion is only 1 of 4 core movement patterns. So if you switch up which function you train you can train abs daily

      Edit: spelling

    • Nico Amaya says:

      @John Normal There’s no need to get defensive man. I’m just letting you know if you do more than just crunches you can train your and and core more often

  1. Natural Hypertrophy says:

    I was obsessed with getting a 6 pack as a beginner and ended up training my core like a maniac. To this day I still have very well developed abs without having to target them nearly as much

  2. Jamie McAteer says:

    Hey man, whenever i do any press movement for my chest i always feel it in my shoulders. This is a common issue that isn’t addressed that well and like you when you started, my chest is lacking behind my other muscle groups. As someone who understands I hope you will address this issue in a future video and how to solve it. This would be sooo beneficial to me and everyone else who has this problem, thank you ✌

    • Aleks Lazarevic says:

      you gotta bench with your mid back tight and your lower back arched. i had that problem. lower the weight until you feel it in your pecs and then go from there

    • Eddie Smock says:

      What worked for me was bringing my elbows in instead of flaying them way out to the side, and when I bring the bar down to my chest I bring it down to where my pecs meet the top of my stomach, where as before I would bring it down above my nipples. Don’t know if you have that same problem or not.

    • Nico Diaz says:

      Try to pre-fatigue the chest a little bit with your warmup. Grab a band or cables and do flyes for one or 2 sets, 20-30 reps. Should be enough to feel a pump but not too hard. Then go bench press and use the tips the other people said. Try pauses too, but you might need to drop the weight a bit

  3. Gym Garage Man says:

    One of the reasons I dumped the gym the sit up benches were used as coat racks lol! Started training in the garage instead with blood SWEAT and tears got in the best shape ever!!!

  4. Timothy Lee, MS, OT, CPT says:

    I never thought about transverse abdominis thickness in helping with pushing the rectus abdominis forward so that six pack shows better. Good stuff. I also added suitcase carries into my latest pull up video. A lot of the stuff in this video has carryover into other exercises. The core is so essential. Time to build it up!

  5. Xephonia says:

    I’ve been really lazy when it comes to core exercises. I used to do a variety of exercises but I find myself only doing dragon flags. I probably should incorporate some of the stuff in the video so I can see progress quicker.

  6. Abe Hanson says:

    Watching this makes me wonder, do the people who focus entirely on calisthenics have a better all around approach to core training and strengthening than bodybuilder’s?

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