3 Core Strengthening Exercises

There are lots of abdominal exercises out there which we believe will get us the '6 pack' that we all intend to achieve. To be realistic if we all wanted to achieve this look, you would first of all have to have a low body fat percentage and a very healthy, clean nutritional diet, and to maintain this over a long period of time can be very difficult.

Core strength plays a main role in day to day activities. Helping with posture, supporting mobility, supporting the structure of the pelvis and playing a vital role when performing any exercise.

So how is the core structured?

When you think of abs, what muscle do you typically think of?

There are four separate muscles that contribute to your overall abdominal development. Below is a diagram that shows where each one is located: 


Each of these 4 muscles has a different, yet important, role to play, so it is vital that we work each muscle just as much as another to make sure the core is working efficiently.

Together these muscles will impact your core stability, strength, your posture in addition to improving many other important functions.

Rectus Abdominis


When people thinking of a ' six pack ' this is the muscle that we generally talk about.

The rectus abdominis is positioned between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis, and is actually made up of 8 distinct muscle bellies.  It is essential for maintaining good posture, and is primarily responsible for flexing the lumbar spine ( movement of a sit up/crunch )

The rectus abdominis also helps to regulate breathing, and protects internal organs by creating intra-abdominal pressure.

External Obliques


There are two distinct sets of obliques; external and internal. Your external obliques sit on either side of your rectus abdominis, and are actually the largest part of your abdominal muscles.

This is the muscle that allows the trunk of your body to twist- controlled by the external oblique on the opposite side of the direction that you're twisting. 

The External obliques also help with your overall posture, support any twisting movement and protect your internal organs.

Internal Obliques 


These muscles are located directly below the rectus abdominis, and sit just inside you hip bones. The Internal obliques are also responsible for twisting and turning, but control the other side of the movement. 

Transverse Abdominis


The transverse abdominis is the deepest of your abdominal muscles, located underneath your rectus abdominis and obliques. You will never see this muscle visually, but it is very important for maintaining a strong functional core, and creating large amounts of stabilising internal abdominal pressure.

There are lots and lots of core exercises out there that you can do, but what really does strengthen the core? 

Below are a selection of 3 different exercises that we believe will help you achieve the core strength that you need, and develop the abdominals in the way that you want.

Cable Woodchoppers

Working with resistance is another great way to strengthen the core, and activate the muscles.

  • Move the handle to the highest pulley position.
  • Facing sideways, with your feet hip width apart, reach up to the pulley with the arms extended.
  • keeping this position slowly pull the cable across the body ( keeping the arms extended ) and twist the torso so that your hands meet across to the opposite knee.
  • slow release back to the starting position.

Woodchoppers are a great way to work both the rectus abdominis and obliques, to cover the overall improvement of core strength.

Wheel roll outs

This can be a very challenging movement, so it is one to develop overtime, but is a great way to strengthen and engage the abdominal muscles.

  • Grab yourself a ab wheel and start kneeling on the floor with the wheel infant of you.
  • push the hips forward so that you are in almost a plank position with a flat line throughout the spine.
  • slowly extend the arms forward letting the wheel roll with you.
  • once you feel your spine may begin the bend release back to the starting position.

You may not get very far on the first few times, but don't worry. Keep trying and gradually you with strengthen as your strength improves.

Pallof Press

The pall of press is a great exercise to target the entire core. A static movement which works against resistance to activate core muscles. Is also great for stabilising the shoulders and hips.

  • Adjust the cable pulley to roughly below chest height.
  • standing facing sideways, grab onto the pulley and bring it into the chest. 
  • With the knees slightly bent, extend the arms forward and hold this position for roughly 20-30 seconds.
  • repeat the exercise facing the other way.

If you feel you need some extra support with some exercises that you don't feel to confident with, don't hesitate to ask one of our trainers when you next head to the studio.