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The Best Core-Strengthening Exercises for Men

If you want washboard abs, add these moves into your routine.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Every guy wants a strong and lean midsection. And hey, why not? A muscular core not only turns heads, but it also protects your lower back, boosts your total-body strength, and improves your athleticism in practically every sport—from golf to football. That's why we've put together some of the best core-strengthening exercises for men you can possibly do.

While many guys stick to old-fashioned situps and crunches, there are far better (and safer) ways to blast your entire core—including all your abs and your obliques—and achieve great results. In this article, gear up for the most essential exercises to add to your routine so you can improve your core strength and build an awesome physique.

Keep reading to learn about the best core-strengthening exercises for men, and next, don't miss The Ultimate 10-Minute Six-Pack Workout With Weights.

1. Stir-The-Pot

stir the pot stability ball exercise

Using an exercise ball is a simple way to transform conventional ab exercises because it adds instability, making your core work harder to stabilize your body. The result? A stronger midsection.

Get into a plank position on a stability ball. While keeping your torso still, move your forearms in a circle. Then, switch directions. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and don't let your lower back sag.

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2. Pallof Press

Pallof press exercise demonstration

To properly build your abs and obliques, train your midsection to resist rotation—that way, you blast your muscles while maintaining a neutral spine and bracing your core correctly.

Set a cable handle to chest height. While facing perpendicular to the cable, bring the handle to your chest. Brace your core, squeeze your glutes, and keep your shoulders and hips directly over your knees. Push the handle straight forward, and hold for three seconds. Bring it back to your chest, and repeat. Then, switch sides, and repeat.

3. Single-Arm Farmer's Carry

It doesn't get any simpler than a farmer's carry. It hammers your core, increases your total-body stability, and boosts your endurance. It even strengthens your upper traps and forearms.

Grab a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand, keep your chest up and your shoulder blades squeezed together, and walk forward.

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4. Horizontal Woodchops

This is a great move for core power. As you explode with your lower body, your core will transfer force from the ground to your torso, which helps with almost every athletic activity.

Set the cable machine to chest height. While standing in a split stance, turn your shoulders and your hips at the same time while keeping your arms straight. Keep the handle in front of your chest while turning.

Do NOT keep your feet stationary because it puts torque on your lower back. Instead, spin your feet and twist your hips so that your lower spine doesn't twist.

5. Ab Wheel Rollouts

man doing ab wheel rollout core-strengthening exercises for men

A rollout is one of the best core exercises, but it's not for beginners. Make sure you have a decent level of ab strength before you try this (otherwise you won't be able to push yourself up).

While on both knees, grab an ab wheel, and push forward. Descend as low as you can, then pull yourself back up. Make sure to keep your arms straight and your hips extended the entire time. To make this harder, pause at the bottom.

6. Salute Planks

Tired of boring old planks? Spice it up by adding a "salute." As you lift one arm, your core works much harder to keep your body level, which heightens the exertion on your abs.

Start in a plank position. Keep your core tight and your glutes squeezed. Bring one hand to your forehead in a salute position, and hold for five seconds. Prevent your hips from twisting, and stay tight. Alternate sides.

Anthony J. Yeung
Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men who want to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join the free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony
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