My 9 Favorite Core Exercises

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This post is different than other list type posts.

The reason?

I am going with a list of 9 exercises, not 10. This is going to revolutionize lists just like 7 minute abs rocked the industry.

7 minute abs

Everyone does lists of 10, but not this one.

Back on topic, core exercises often get everyone all hot and bothered. There are the people that need to feel the burn, those that favor stability, those that think the major lifts provide all of the stability that we need, and the people that still think that doing a couple of planks is going to remove the excess body fat above the muscles.

People usually cannot get a long about the best method to core training. My philosophy on it is simple. I am going to train for stability to protect the spine and improve performance on other lifts.

The spine doesn’t like to move all that much. It allows for some motion but not the amount that a situp requires. The spine will become loaded, in a rounded position, which can cause injury. Will doing 25 situps cause a disk herniation? Probably not, but over time things will wear down.

The second reason that I favor stability so much is that we need it in our other lifts. Squats, deadlifts, and lunges are just 3 categories that require stability.

Hips are prone to tightness, backs will get sore, and strength will be limited without the needed strength in the midsection.


  1. Rollout

Barbell rollouts are some of the toughest exercises that someone can perform. The lowering part of the lift is significant enough to keep people sore for a couple of days.

This is a great exercise to reduce excessive extension (or arching) in the low back. When someone tries to go too far the low back will usually give out and arch.

We shouldn’t train beyond that point. It may not be all that far at first but these are a killer.

  1. Stir the Pot

Stir the pot has become a staple in my programs. This exercises forces both anti-extension and anti-rotation.

Resisting these motions while moving the arms provides some dynamic stability. Also, the slower we go the harder it is.

  1. Deadbugs

I really like deadbug variations. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not give them the attention they need so they get a bad rap.

When performing a deadbug, the back should not change its position from the setup. We should move slow with the knees staying at a 90 degree angle.

If the knees start to come too close to the torso, the abs become less engaged.

  1. Body Saws

Slideboard body saws can be done anywhere that someone can slide on the floor. This might mean paper plates on a rug or some pledge on a wooden floor.

The goal of the body saw is to resist extension and move as far back as possible.

Slideboard Body Saw- Bottom 2

  1. Pallof Presses

Pallof presses are probably the most versatile exercise on this list. I can never run out of variations of it.

We can perform these sitting, half kneeling, tall kneeling, standing, split stance, or a split squat. There are many other variations off of that.

  1. Wide Stance Anti-Rotation Chops

This is an exercise that actually took me a while to figure out because the name is somewhat deceiving. With this exercise we start the a band pressed out from the middle of the chest and turn away from the anchor point. Then we resist the rotation back to the center of the body, not going closer to the rack. The hips are also not supposed to move on this.

It is a great way to train the core but also rotation through the upper back.

  1. Single Arm Carries

These are a perfect exercise for young people because they cannot be done wrong.

The idea is to take a dumbbell that is pretty heavy, hold it in one hand, and walk with it. If they cannot perform the exercise they will probably drop the dumbbell.

This is great for training the lateral core muscles, a muscle group responsible for unlocking tight hips.

  1. Plate Passes

Plate passes are great for a group, or team of people. Getting everyone in a line and passing the plates over their forearms, while in a plank position, makes a really fun atmosphere.

A lot of suffering can happen here, depending on the size of the group.

This isn’t just for teams and individuals can do them.

  1. Wall Press Leg Lowers

I like the wall press variation because it activates the core and makes the exercise a little bit more difficult. Take regular single leg lowers but lay down near a wall. Reach overhead and push into the wall.

This simple exercise is surprisingly intense.

Start trying out these 9 exercises and you can thank me, or hate me, later for them.