1. Overhead Lunges
Why it works: working your shoulders and legs in the same movement, increases core activation. So while you’re doing an exercise which not only recruits a large portion of the muscles in your body, turning your body into a fat burning machine, you’re also training the majority of your core muscles.
2. Kettlebell Windmills
Why it works: Kettlebell Windmill (similarly to Overhead Lunges) works your shoulders Glutes and hamstrings intensely, increasing the muscle activation in your core. It focuses particularly on your Obliques and Transverse Abdominus and is a great way to build flexibility in the Hamstrings, Inner Thighs and through the core.
3. Mountain Climbers
Why it works: Mountain climbers work wonders at burning off stubborn belly fat while training your Abs. This exercise focuses on training Hip Flexors and Lower Abs while still demanding stabilisation from the core. In order to change the focus of this exercise try bringing your right leg through to your left elbow and vice versa, this increases the focus on the internal and external obliques.
4. Kettlebell Swing
Why it works: The king of all Kettlebell movements. The swing trains your Posterior Chain putting extra emphasis on the Glutes, Lower Back and Hamstrings. This movement requires a great amount of core strength and can also be very good for back mobility. Kettlebell swings are also a fantastic fat burner and metabolism booster, so use this move to torch away the fat which hides your stomach.
5. Front Squats
Why it works: By shifting the weight from the back of your shoulders to the front you put more emphasis on your Glutes, this is great news as it means you will improve your posture and protect your lower back. Any exercise such as squats which puts load through your back will work your core, and in order to shift some weight on the squat rack your core will need to adapt. So start light and make slow progression keeping your core engaged.
6. Abs wheel rollout
Why it works: The Abs wheel rollout (which can be performed with an Olympic bar) is a great exercise to challenge core stabilisation. Stabilisation during movement or activity of any nature is one of the main responsibilities of the core. Imagine an unstable plank, and what you get is the toughest stabilisation exercise there is! To make this easier for beginners simply drop your knees down on the floor. Never try to roll out further than your core can handle and always keep the form.
Why it works: Bicycles work your lower abs, obliques and Rectus Abdominus, and requires activation from most core muscles. Perform these slowly for better muscular focus or speed them up for an Ab based fat burning cardio workout.
Why it works: Similarly to the Kettlebell swing, Deadlifts work the core along with your Posterior Chain. Lifting with good form requires a strong core, so small incremental increases in weight will increase your core strength, just don’t jump from an empty bar to 100kg, for risk of lower back injury. Also try to use your Glutes to lift the weight not just your lower back.
9. Russian Twist
Why it works: Russian Twist Is great way to tighten the TVA, while training the abs and obliques. It’s a great way to challenge core muscles such as the spine stabilising Multifidus. Providing you have no lower back issues keep your feet off of the floor, try to stabilise the movement using your core, if you are doing this efficiently there should be little movement in your legs as you twist. Make sure you rotate through your core as much as you can and don’t just move your arms from side to side.
10. Swiss Ball Crunch
Why it works: The Swiss Ball Crunch mainly focuses on the Rectus Abdominus and the TVA but if done efficiently it will recruit stabilising muscles in the core, hips and lower back. Make sure the Swiss ball is underneath your lower back, keep your feet narrow for more core recruitment. Extend over the ball as far as possible to lengthen your upper abs which will tighten up during most floor based Ab exercises leading to bad posture.