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7 Best Core Workouts for Male Bodybuilders

Effective core workouts for male bodybuilders (Image via Unsplash / Valery Sysoev)
Effective core workouts for male bodybuilders (Image via Unsplash / Valery Sysoev)
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Soniya Y

For many beginners and intermediate bodybuilders, they may be able to produce a lot of muscle growth through compound exercises like squats and deadlifts. However, bodybuilders with a few years under their belt need to include isolation exercises into their routine.

Core exercises strengthen not only the muscles of your abs, but they also reinforce postural muscles. These muscles are used in every single movement you make and are responsible for helping you maintain balance during these motions.

Here are seven core workout routines used by bodybuilders:

1) Side Planks

This simple ab exercise is great for developing beautiful tapered obliques. The obliques support the ‘six-pack’ abs and make them more visible, so it’s important to keep this muscle well-toned.

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To start:

  • Get into a normal push-up position with your feet together.
  • Rotate your body so that one forearm is on the floor, and you are resting on it instead of your hands.
  • Stack your legs evenly on top of each other, so your body is in a straight line from head to toe.
  • Keep your spine neutral, and tense up those obliques.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can (60 seconds is a good goal); switch to the other side, and repeat.

2) Side Plank Crunch

A side plank with crunches is like a regular side plank, except the crunches will help strengthen your obliques. It’s a wicked combo when paired with a regular side plank: Plank almost to failure, then do five or ten side crunches.

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To do the side plank crunch:

  • Lie on your side with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, in a side plank position.
  • As you exhale, dip your hips toward the floor.
  • When you reach the bottom of your range of motion, contract your obliques, and return to the starting position as you inhale. That's one rep.

3) Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are a simple way to work your core from a position that protects your lower back. By extending your legs and hovering your heels, you'll be working your core stabilisers in a way that's safe for your spine.

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To do flutter kicks:

  • Lie on a bench with your hips near the edge and your legs extended off the back. Squeeze your glutes, and lift your legs till they're level with your hips.
  • Lift your left leg higher than your right one; then lower it as you lift up the right.
  • Keep a steady rhythm throughout this exercise.

4) Dragon Flag

The dragon flag exercise works more than just your abs. It also involves your upper body, hip flexors, glutes and lower back, making it a great exercise for building core strength.

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To do the dragon flag exercise:

  • Lie back; grab the bench behind your head, and bend your knees up so that they're bent 90 degrees.
  • Pull them toward the ceiling, lifting your butt and back off the bench.
  • Slowly lower yourself to your starting position, and repeat.

5) TRX Row

The suspension trainer may not get much love in the gym, but if you want a strong core, it's one of the best tools around. And it's not that difficult to use once you get the hang of it.

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To perform this exercise:

  • Set your suspension trainer to chest height.
  • Grasp the handles with your feet hip-width apart, and lean back till your arms are extended.
  • Pull your chest up while squeezing your shoulder blades together behind you till they touch your hands.
  • Hold the top of the move for a moment. Then slowly lower yourself till your arms are extended again.

6) Hollow Hold

The hollow hold is a great exercise for strengthening the muscles that stabilise your lower back. If you strengthen these muscles and keep your spine in proper alignment, you can avoid stress to the vertebrae and discs.

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To do a hollow hold:

  • Lie on your back, with your face pointing toward the sky.
  • Lift your feet slightly off the ground, while lifting your shoulders. Keep your head and neck neutral with your spine.
  • Hold this position for as long as you're able to, and relax.

7) Leg Raises

Leg raises are a classic six-pack exercise and a great way to challenge your grip strength and control your body. To modify them, you can do knee raises or do half-range reps. One trick is to do them after you've warmed up your hamstrings, as hamstring flexibility helps increase your range of motion.

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To do leg raises:

  • Stand on a step or bench with your feet hip-width apart, one hand gripping a pull-up bar overhand and the other hanging at your side.
  • Hinge at the hips, and lift your legs till they're parallel to the floor.
  • Slowly lower your legs again. That's one rep.

Bottom Line

Core exercises are important for bodybuilding for various reasons such as injury prevention, better performance of compound exercises, activation of local muscles and improved posture.

The list above presents core exercises that anyone can benefit from. Keep in mind that these are just a few examples of great core exercises; there are many more out there you can use to build a strong set of abs.


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Edited by Bhargav
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