Everyone wants to lift more. Let it be a deadlift (opens in new tab) PB that needs to be crushed or a weighted squat (opens in new tab) milestone that's ever so close, getting stronger (opens in new tab) is everyone's main aim in the gym (or home gym (opens in new tab)). But apart from doing the best pecs exercises (opens in new tab) and best arm exercises (opens in new tab) over and over again, you'll also need to train your core if you really want to lift like a pro.
That's right: training your core properly can mean the difference between smashing through your gym goals and pulling your back every other week doing stiff-legged deadlifts. Want to get fit for 2021 (opens in new tab)? Start paying attention to your core training. A strong core can help you in a variety of ways, let it be improved posture or better sleep too.
If you want to know more about what 'core' actually is and how to train it properly, check out T3's best core workout (opens in new tab) guide with in-depth explanation of the best core exercises and, most importantly, what sequence you should follow for maximum efficiency. Want to know how to get a six pack (opens in new tab) or how to do push ups (opens in new tab)? Start with training your core.
Here are some of the best core exercises you can do to build a stronger core.
Eat your protein
Eating the right amount of protein is essential for muscle building and repair. Training in itself would not be enough to build a strong core, you also need to help muscle regeneration by providing your body with protein throughout the day. An average adult need anything in between 1.6-2 grams of protein per body kilo per day if they work out actively.
• How to build muscle: an easy guide to muscle building for beginners
The most convenient way to consume protein is to mix protein powder (opens in new tab) with water or milk/substitute and have it as an on-the-go snack after the workout. For the best results, use a protein shake blender (opens in new tab) to mix the ingredients. Alternatively, you can also snack on protein bars (opens in new tab) or the best jerky (opens in new tab) instead of chocolate or biscuits.
It you have a fast metabolism, consider taking weight gainer (opens in new tab) protein: these meal replacement powders have loads of carbs as well as protein, helping you gain weight easier as you bulk up.
- Best abs exercises for beginners (opens in new tab)
- Hanging leg raises (opens in new tab): get a six pack the fast but not so easy way
- Best calisthenics home workout (opens in new tab): 5 exercises and almost no equipment can get you ripped
Best core exercises
Planks is probably the best core exercise in the universe. It is simple yet challenging and can be scaled up infinitely: just try to hold it for as long as you can. The world record is over 8 hours but if you can hold it for longer than 120 seconds, you are already doing better than 90% of the world population.
- Hardstyle plank: try this plank variation for quicker summer body six-pack gains
2. Ab rollout
Once you mastered planks, it's time to move onto learning how to use ab rollers (opens in new tab) and a start doing ab rollouts. Knee ab rollouts can be performed using ab rollers (opens in new tab) or even barbells (opens in new tab) or dumbbells (opens in new tab). Not like any variety is going to be much easier, to be fair.
3. Mountain climbers
Doing mountain climbers are your fast track to six pack gains without the neck strain you'll most certainly get doing situps. This is a killer exercise and one that is really challenging to do for sure. Try oblique or spider mountain climbers if regular ones aren't hard enough.
4. Russian twist
Just follow Alex Crockford (opens in new tab)'s example above: Russian twists are the ultimate oblique core exercises. For added resistance, try holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in your hands as you twist.
5. Hanging leg raises
Once you mastered all the above exercises, you are probably ready for some hanging leg raises. Doing these in the gym is the ultimate power move and one that will make you ache so much in the abdominal area the day after that it will be challenging just to roll out of bed. It will be worth it, though.
- Home deadlift workout: no-barbell deadlift alternatives for home gyms to build strength and get ripped