Best free weights exercises for core strength: It’s time to re-think the endless crunches & sit ups, there are better ways to train your core. The following free weights exercises challenge your core strength & stability muscles, and can easily be scaled up or down.
Best Free Weights Exercises for Core Strength
True, deadlifts are a whole-body exercise, but they do an intense number on your entire core as well. A heavy deadlift will hit your upper & lower back, and abdomen much harder than any sit-up variaiton.
Overhead or Front Squats:
Once again, squats are primarily a lower body exercise, but the overhead & front squat variations require immense core strength to keep yourself & the barbell upright. An overhead or front squat will work your stability muscles, and you might even find that your core is more challenged than your legs when performing these.
Toes-to-bar or knees-to-elbows:
These are two extremely difficult bodyweight ab exercises. Hang from a pull-up bar and raise your legs until your toes touch the bar. If you cannot do that, then scale down to knees-to-elbows.
Hanging leg raises:
These are also an ab-centric core exercise that can be done from a pull-up bar or a Captain’s Chair. Grip a dumbbell in-between your feet, and raise your legs to 90-degrees (parallel with the ground).
We’re all familiar with planks, but performing them for longer & longer amounts of time is similar to high-rep, low-weight training. After a while you will no longer be training strength, but endurance. To increase the difficulty of your planks, place a heavy weight on your back and repeat reps of 30 second plank holds to improve your core strength.
Having a strong back is essential to core training. Back extensions could be described as the opposite of a sit-up, and are performed on the GHD or “Roman Chair”. These can be done with or without extra weight.
Decline sit ups:
These are sit-ups performed on the decline bench, which increases range of motion & difficulty. Like the back extensions, you can perform these with or without extra weight.