This last weekend I was in sunny Miami AKA “The Port” where I was mixing it up with a bunch of other fitness pro’s.
While out there I spent a lot of time sharing and talking about training methods and ideas with by buddy, “The Garage Warrior” Tyler Bramlet.
I’ve known Tyler now for over a year and the guy is awesome and he really knows his sh*t.
Plus we look like straight up badass’ in pics together…
Either way, we got to talking about CORE training and then when he told me about his NEW “0-6 Pack Abs” Training Program.
He sent me over the program and I went through it while on the plane flight home.
Very well done.
I was pretty psyched with what he had to share and as I was reading through it, I was inspired to do this blog post for you that lists out my TOP 10 core training movements and variations.
I hope that this post will help prevent you from ever being bored with your core training again.
Also, if you want a full-fledged core training system, check out Tyler Bramlet’s “0-6 Pack Abs” which is on sale right now…
My TOP 10 Core Movements
1) Plank Variations
When it comes to training your core, never overlook your basic planks.
A HUGE mistake I see people making all too much is never incorporating in some sort of planks into their training. This is especially true for beginners. These serve as the basis to all other core movements so it’s important you get good at doing these…
Here’s a few videos that share some of my favorite plank variations:
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When you get good at basic planks, then you can start adding in bands and weights to make them even harder…
Some basic guidelines…
Before you progress onto any of the over movement I mention in this post, get yourself to where you can hold a front plank in solid position for at least 90 secs and side planks for at least 60 secs. Once you get to there, you can start to progress to the more advanced level of core exercises.
2) Hanging Leg Raises and Toes To Bar
I love toes to bar and all the different variations.
Any toes to bar progression will not only challenge your core, but will test your grip as well.
As with any good core movement out there, you’ll always have a set of progressions to help you out.
I haven’t seen or met too many people out there that can simply go right into doing strict toes to bar or even kipping toes to bar, so this is the way I would progress…
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3) OH Walks
Let me break it down to you real simple: If you’d like to work your core a bit, simply go pick something up and carry it over your head.
Pretty basic right?
It’s the truth. I confirm that one of the BEST ways to work your core is by simply lifting and carrying things over your head.
If you haven’t done so before, take a heavy DB or Kettlebell, snatch it overhead then hold it up there while you walk around for at least 30 secs.
You’ll see what I mean.
Carrying objects over your head is commonly overlooked as a strong core movement, but believe me that your core works a ton to help you stabilize, even more so when you’re moving.
It’s amazing how much you have to use your core to stabilize stuff while it’s overhead.
Some of my favorite overhead core movements include:
- Double DB / KB OH Walks
- Single DB / KB OH Walks
- Barbell OH Walks
- Single Arm Barbell Walks
Try some of these different combinations and I guarantee you you’re core will be challenged. Just make sure to walk tall and to stay tight 😉
4) Turkish Get Ups
When it comes to TGU’s, there not a better FULL body core movement out there that I can think of.
The only draw back to TGU’s is learning how to do the movement correctly as well as having enough mobility to do them in the correct form.
I can remember when I first tried to do a TGU I felt like a freaking 90-year woman.
I had NO mobility in my hips and couldn’t complete the movement to much effectiveness.
Overtime as I improved my mobility, I got better at TGU’s and got the movement down and now their one of my favorite movements and other then strengthening your core, TGU’s will also help improve your mobility (or force you to improve it that is).
Here’s a quick demo video to help you out:
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Here’s another video that will give you some ideas of different variations.
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Ah, the lovely L-Sit. NOT my favorite, but definitely one of the BEST.
I’ve got a LOVE/HATE relationship with L-Sits as they’re just plain horrible, but great at the same time.
Just like anything else, it’s all about progression.
Here’s a quick video that breaks it down:
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I say that if you can hold a FULL L-Seat for longer then 60 secs, you are an official BEAST. Or a gymnast…
6) Hanging L-Sits
Now if regular L-Sits weren’t enough, you can always go and hit some hanging L-Seat variations.
These, like regular L-Seats suck, but not as bad as the regular versions do.
There’s a TON of different progressions and variations you can use with hanging L-seats.
The best way to progress is to follow the same progressions as the floor L-Sits.
Knees Bent –> Legs Slightly Bent –> Legs Straight
The other thing you’ll want to focus in on is to make sure that your lats are engaged and your shoulder blades are tight. You want no slack in your arms and shoulders.
Other then that, just hold on 😉
7) Rocky Abs – AKA – Dragon Flags
This next core movement I like to call “Rockie Abs”.
Dragon Flags are one of the best and toughest core movements you can do.
Not only do they require you to have a solid amount of core stability and strength, but you’ve got to have a solid amount of upper back and lat strength as well.
Nothing like some good old school dragon flags… They work even better in a barn in the middle of Russia…
Here’s how I progress Dragon Flags…:
- V-Seats Reaches
- Bench Hip Extensions / Raises
- Dragon Flag Negative w/ Knees Tucked
- Dragon Flag Negative w/ Straight Legs
- Full Dragon Flag – Short Range of Motion
- FULL Dragon Flag (You are now a BADASS)
Check this video for more detail…
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8) Anything with the Power Wheel
One of the best core training pieces of equipment out there is the Power Wheel. Not much else comes close to being as versatile and dynamic as the power wheel (except for the Jungle Gym XT of course).
There’s literally tons of movements you can do with it, but my favorites are hand walking, pikes, knee tucks, and atomic push ups. I like roll outs as well, but those are a whole monster of their own which I’ll get into next.
My TOP movements with the Power Wheel include:
- Hand Walks
- Knee Tucks
- Atomic Push Ups
- Roll Outs (As you’ll see next)
Bottom Line – If you don’t have a Power Wheel, I’d definitely recommend you look into getting one.
9) Roll Outs
As mentioned above, Roll Outs can be used with the Power Wheel, but their not just limited to just that. There’s a ton of variations you can use which is why I included rolls out in my Top 10 Core Exercises here.
What I like most with roll outs is that you can use a lot of different pieces of equipment to do them with.
My favorite uses for roll outs include:
- Power Wheel Roll Outs
- Barbell Roll Outs
- Slider Roll Outs
- Ring OR Jungle Gym Suspended Roll Outs
- Homemade Wheel Rollouts
- Hand Walk Outs
For progressions, I’ve done a series of old blog posts that cover exactly how to progress from beginner to advanced.
Check those out below
Roll Outs Part I:
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Once you master those progressions, you can move onto some FULL Body rollouts like this…
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WARNING: These will RIP your abs up!
10) Suspended Movements and Variations
Coming in at number 10 for my Top 10 Core movements are suspended movements.
When it comes to suspended movement you’ve got your exercises where you’re feet are in the a set of suspension straps or you’ve got your variations that your hands a in the straps (or rings).
Anything you do in a suspension trainer or rings, where your hands or feet are in straps will force you to work your core a ton harder.
One of my favorite movements to use to start people off with are suspended arm circles.
Check out the video below for more details (these are much harder then they look):
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With your hands in the straps, I like using a variety of reaches and advanced types of push ups to take your core training to the next level.
One of my favorites is the Suspended Push Up w/ Reach…
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Ring or Suspended push ups alone serve as an awesome method to target your core.
From there you’ve got your feet suspended movements which include:
- suspended planks
- knee tucks – together / alternated, cross-body
- pikes / side to side pike
- pendulum swings
- body saw
The list goes on and on, but those are my favorite go-to movements.
Here’s another video that show how to take suspension training to a new level:
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Those types of core circuits are hell. Give it a try.
Bottom Line – if you’re not currently including any type of ring work or suspension training via a Jungle Gym XT into your training routines, it’s time you do. Not only will you get your core stronger, you’ll also help improve your upper body strength a ton as well.
So, that rounds out my list of top core / ab movements, but it’s NOT limited to just those.
Obviously there are a ton more out there, but don’t forget about the main “bread and butter” strength movements.
Nothing pisses me off more then when someone asks me when we’re going to do some “ab movements” after we just hit a full workout. Trust me when I say that any workout that I’ve developed already has at least a few core movement in it 😉
The movements I’m referring to are your main strength movements such as deadlifts, front squats, overhead presses, overhead squats, zerchers, bent rows, snatches, cleans, ect…
All of these movements will work your core like none other, but are often overlooked in terms of being a true core specific movement. Just because their not directly targeting your core doesn’t mean their not core exercises.
But, then again I do feel it’s a necessity to add in the additional assistance movements that I mentioned above
Now, don’t be the person that thinks since their doing extra core and ab work that you’ll instantly get a six pack.
Ripped abs are made in the kitchen.
If getting a sick pack is what you want, not only do you have to train hard (and use a lot fo the movements I mentioned above), you have to EAT even harder.
Make sure you’re eating right. No EXCUSES.
Now , if total core training is something you’re looking for, I’ve got the total package for you.
My buddy Tyler Bramlet just unleashed a new system called, 0-6 Pack Abs. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’ve seen the system and from what I’ve seen, I know it’s the sh*t.
Tyler breaks everything down for you into progressions and levels so that you can easily follow along with the program and essentially, Get 6 Pack Abs (not only visible abs, but STRONG and FUNCTIONAL abs as well).
I think that this system is a must.
Tell me, what’s YOUR favorite “Go-To” Core Movement? Post up in the comments below.
Live and Train Aggressive!