Every serious strength athlete has core exercises planned in at least once or twice a week (they should, anyway). But how can you make core training really effective? Many people think the core is limited to the abs, but it’s about much more than just achieving a six-pack. Your core provides joint support to your spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle. Your core consists of your glutes, hips, obliques and abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus). This article contains 5 super-effective exercises to achieve a rock-solid core.

Because the core consists of more than just your abs, there are many more exercises to target your core than you think. For example, many old-school exercises, such as push-ups and squats, are very effective for strengthening your core. It is well known that power-lifters who do heavy squats and bench presses also have a strong core.

If you want to tackle your core with some new and varying exercises, try to include the following 5 exercises in your training for great results.

  1. Deadlift

Deadlifting activates more muscle fibres than any other exercises. The exercise requires strength from the glutes and hips to fully stretch your body. Your lower back, abs and obliques are also engaged to support the body throughout the exercise.

For an effective deadlift, do not bounce the weight on the ground, but lower it to a point just above the ground and go up again from this “dead” point. This is how this exercise got its name in the first place.


  1. Solid core? Do a roll-out:
    Most of the exercises for your abs are done on your back, but some exercises have your face pointing towards the floor. This also applies to the roll-out, which you perform with a barbell or an ab-wheel. This exercise is challenging, but very effective.

When performing the barbell roll-out for the first time, it is best to start out on your knees. Once you have mastered this and can perform 15 reps easily, you can start doing roll-outs on your feet.


  1. Bridge

This exercise is often seen as “an exercise for women”, but the bridge helps you build brute strength and endurance in your glutes, hips and lower back. By building strength in these muscle groups, you can strengthen your core. You will also improve your performance for squats, deadlifts and leg presses. In other words, you should not skip this exercise.

You can build this exercise by starting with a lot of repetitions and light weight, making it progressively heavier by placing a barbell on your hips.


  1. Dumbbell Farmers Walk

Moving a heavy weight from one point to another while keeping your balance really works your core hard. This exercise is ideal for strengthening your core while reducing the risk of injuries.

If you want to make this exercise more challenging (and even more effective), perform it with 1 dumbbell. The execution is the same, but by using weight on one side you have to constantly stabilise your body.


  1. Dumbbell Side Bend

This exercise focuses on the obliques. Many strength athletes are afraid that doing this exercise will widen the waist, and they don’t want that. In addition to strengthening the obliques, this exercise also strengthens your spine, which will give you more strength for exercises where you have to press above your head.


Add one (or more) of these exercises to your workouts and you will notice that your strength in other exercises, such as squats, will increase enormously.