First up; a few hard truths before sprinkling our ripped ab magic. Firstly, you won’t see any abs if you don’t lose the fat covering them up – no matter how many crunches, sit-ups or window washers you do. Secondly, you can’t spot-reduce fat. You can’t target one area to burn fat – if you’re training and eating healthily, you’ll gradually lose fat all over your body.
The good news is we’ve got a plan for you: the trick is to use compound moves that have core-building benefits. And trust us, we aren’t the only ones to use this magic method.
Compound moves use more than one muscle group, which you need to stoke your metabolism for fat loss. These 10 epic moves below also challenge your balance and all the muscles of your mid-section.
So, here’s the reward for you: you get to do moves that strengthen specific parts of your body but ALSO actually have ab-building benefits. That’s right, less work and more reward; less boep, and more ripped muscle greatness. Bottom line: if these 10 moves aren’t already part of your weekly workouts, you need to add them, pronto!
1. Front or Goblet Squats
Come on; you should have guessed this one – any kind of squat offers core benefits. This granddaddy of exercises offers total body muscle gains, but if you want to max the core benefits, you need to try a front squat or Goblet squat with a kettlebell or dumbbell. That move forces you to stabilise and stop the weight pulling you forward. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t lose the tension in your core.
It’s no secret – we’ve always had a crush on the lunge; it’s one of our absolute favourites. You can choose to do it inplenty of ways, but it always offers plenty of muscle-building benefits. Just remember to keep your core tight when doing this, as there are several muscle groups used. If you want to ratchet up your heart rate, choose jumping lunges.
3. Bird Dog Crunches
It’s a weird name for an exercise, but there’s nothing funny about the core benefits of this killer move. It’s also a proper balance challenger. Here’s how to do it properly. We even use these before a workout to help fire up our core before lifting.
4. Mountain Climbers
Like the bird dog, this needs some co-ordination and balance skills, but it has a helluva range of benefits as a compound move. It’s also a tremendous cardio-improving tool if you keep the intensity up. Check here for a description of how to do it.
Another classic, this is essentially a plank with more muscle-building power. Our favourite version of this is the hand-release version, where you lift your hands off the floor when your chest touches down. It forces you to do a full range of motion – and that means more muscle and core building benefits.
6. Dumbbell Thrusters
This potent combo mix of a squat with a shoulder press is arguably one of the most challenging moves – even when the weights are light. It requires core work, balance and coordination, and rewards you with high muscle-building and fat-burning value. It’s right up there with the squat and lunge for top dog status how to do it properly.
7. Hollow Rocks
This is a relatively unknown exercise, but it’s a proper dark horse for building core strength. This one targets your midsection more effectively than anything else on this list (if you do it properly), and it will go a long way in helping to build that sixpack you’ve always wanted. This is the technique you’ll need.
8. Dumbbell Deadlifts
Another weights room classic, this is, like the squat, doesn’t require a barbell to give muscle-building and fat-burning benefits. Here’s how to the dumbbell version. If you want to try some unilateral work for an added core emphasis, you can do single-arm and single-leg deadlifts with a dumbbell or a kettlebell. As always, keep the tension in your core, and you’ll reap mucho muscle gains from this move.
Yeah, come on, you knew this was coming, right? If you’ve done this before, you know how it hurts, and if you haven’t – ha, get ready for the pain! It’s a brilliant compound move that requires lots of core work too. As always, your technique needs to be flawless – check this out if you need a few pointers.
We’re ending the list with another core killer, as like the Hollow Rock, this move doesn’t take long to get the muscle burn going. It’s a tricky one to get it right but follow the instructions here carefully, and you’ll earn the gains quickly.