Many people associate a core strength workout exercises with cheesy ab workouts that have been shown on TV infomercials for years.
If you’re one of those people, I don’t blame you!
I used to believe that core strength only applied to the abdominal muscles.
However, the picture has become clearer after many years of training (mostly in the sport of powerlifting) and thorough research.
What is Core Strength?
Despite popular belief, a solid core is backed by more than just muscles. In reality, the intensity and depth of one’s breathing are linked to the strength of one’s heart.
Many people in our community don’t breathe properly: they don’t take deep belly breaths with an emphasis on filling the base/full 360-degree heart.
Before air reaches the upper chest and lungs, they can extend the lower rib cage.
Many people do not breathe deeply and instead spend the majority of their days just scratching the surface of their breathing ability, depending solely on upper chest breathing.
How to Breathe
So, before you try any of the exercises below, focus on your breathing.
Wrap a thick string (such as a shoestring) around your waist and cross it over your navel (much like a belt worn high).
Ensure that you can fit two fingers between the string and your navel – this will prevent you from tying it too tightly and allowing you to breathe freely into your abdomen.
The goal is to keep the string on your body during the day and use it as a physical reminder to concentrate on deep belly breathing.
When you breathe deeply into your belly button, you’ll find a cord tightening around your whole heart.
After a few days of experimenting with this method, try the exercises below without the string but still focusing on your breathing.
Core Strength Workout for Health
Core strength is an important part of overall health, and we’ll look at a few strength workout exercises that will help you not only develop core strength but also core stability, which is maybe even more important!
15 Essential Core Strength Exercises
# 1 Kettlebell or Dumbbell Suitcase Carry (“Farmers Walks”)
You’ll note that all of these exercises have easy-to-understand titles, and this one is no exception. It operates in the same way as it looks.
Farmers Walks include picking up a moderately heavy weight and holding it on either side (left first, then right) for 10-15 paces while walking steadily (focusing on core breathing).
You should not walk lopsidedly; instead, keep your spine straight and neutral while allowing your heart to support the stability.
# 2 Glute/Hip-Bridge
Laying down on the ground with your legs shoulder-width apart and lifting your buttocks off the ground to build an arch or “bridge” is a very easy movement.
You can do this action in a sequence of repetitions to make “Hip Thrusts,” or you can keep the top spot for 3 seconds before returning to the floor.
For a more complex/difficult grip, keep your arms flat on the ground, or use them to support your lower back for a simpler movement.
# 3 Lunges
With or without weight, and with or without side twists, this can be achieved. This is a perfect core strength exercise to do right after Farmers Walks if you’re using weights.
Side bending is performed by reaching the arm over and making a half moon crescent shape when lunging – the arm you arch should be on the same side as the leg with the knee on the ground.
# 4 Side Plank
This core-strengthening exercise is similar to a front plank, but you turn on one side and rest entirely on one elbow or the other.
Perform with the other arm stretched straight into the air or parallel to the body, flowing down the foot.
# 5 Goblet Squat
This is a lot of fun! This can be achieved with a kettlebell, a dumbbell, or even a heavy book.
In essence, you’re standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and pointed out at a 45-degree angle. Ascend into a deep squat and counter-balance with the weight you’re carrying.
Before ascending, remain in the bottom position for 7 or more deep breaths.
# 6 Bird-Dog Exercise
Lean forward and put your hands on the deck, with your fingertips facing forward, directly under your shoulders (shoulder-width apart).
If possible, move your hands and knees so that your knees are directly beneath your hips and your hands are directly beneath your shoulders.
Extend your right arm straight forward and your left leg straight back at the same time. Rep from the other hand, this time with the left arm straight forward and the right leg straight back.
# 7 Front Plank
Place your arms shoulder-width apart and bring your elbows to the ground in a push-up position. That concludes our discussion. Keep the static position for as long as you can without your knees hitting the ground, then repeat.
# 8 Dumbbell Overhead Press
This exercise is similar to the barbell overhead press, but it necessitates more core and shoulder stability.
# 9 Barbell Overhead Press
You wouldn’t think that overhead pressing would have anything to do with core power, but it does! A straight line overhead press is impossible to do without first stabilizing and bracing the entire body.
When performing the movement, I recommend filming yourself from the side and ensuring that your bar-path stays in a straight line over your head.
# 10 Hanging Leg Raises
This exercise is beneficial not only to core strength and stability, but also to the general health of the shoulders.
Maintain a straight back and shoulder line when hanging – this will keep you steady and in control throughout the movement.
Instead of swinging your legs up and down, lift and lower them slowly and deliberately.
Advanced Lifters’ Bonus Exercises
If you’ve been running or lifting weights for a long time, you can try the exercises below if you haven’t already.
If you’re still doing these core strengthening exercises, consider integrating them even more into your routine because they’re so successful!
# 11 Front Squat
Front squats, which target both the anterior and posterior muscle chains, are arguably the best way to boost overall core strength. They can be achieved in three different ways.
First, by crossing the arms over and holding the barbell above the chest (resting on the clavicle), or second, by not crossing the arms and holding the bar with hands shoulder width apart.
The third method is similar to the second, except if wrist mobility is a concern, a pair of straps may be used to keep the bar in place for each hand/wrist.
# 12 Kettlebell Turkish Get Up
This is a difficult movement in which you begin by laying down on the floor and lift the kettlebell overhead in a straight line in 6 to 10 steps.
Then, when you rise from the floor, retain the same straight line (holding the kettlebell overhead).
# 13 Deadlift (Sumo or Conventional)
This is my favorite workout, and it’s a perfect way to strengthen the heart while still putting one’s central nervous system to the test.
Without going into too much depth, I recommend watching our videos and subscribing to our YouTube channel, where I cover how to deadlift, squat, and more!
# 14 High Bar or Low Bar Back Squat
The high bar squat is the best position for concentrating on core stability, and Olympic lifters enjoy it for this reason.
The low bar squat, on the other hand, can normally develop core strength while allowing for a higher maximal load, which is why powerlifters prefer it.
# 15 Dragonfly or Dragon Flag (by Bruce Lee)
This trend, made popular by martial artist Bruce Lee, necessitates the use of a decline bench or something similar that can hold the entire weight.
On the bench, lie flat on your back with your feet lower to the ground (on the decline).
Grab the bench behind your shoulders, then lift your legs from the lower position while using your arms and heart to support your upper body.
Core strength should not be regarded as a separate entity; rather, it should be perceived as part of the broader environment that is human physiology.
Because of this, core strength is linked to digestion and removal, and may also be linked to psychological well-being. Many people (including myself) consider our stomach to be a second brain, and if our digestion is in order, so will our minds.
To help the body achieve its maximum potential and remain safe – both physically and mentally – try these core strength exercises.