Headed to the gym and need some good core exercises? This list of core exercises that can be done at the gym is organized by what equipment you may have or like using.
Core Exercises at the Gym:
Core Exercises – Bodyweight Only:
- Sit Ups: This traditional ab staple shouldn’t be overlooked. Perform with your arms crossed in front of your chest, or hands behind the head.
- Bicycle Crunches: Bring your opposite elbows to knees with these fast-paced crunches.
- Leg Lifts: Lay on your back with legs fully extended. Keeping your legs straight, raise them to a 90-degree angle, then lower them back down. Do not let your heels make contact with the floor between reps.
- Reverse Crunches: Extend your legs towards the ceiling, then use your core strength to lift your hips & feet upwards.
- Flutter Kicks: In a hollow body position (torso & legs are floated off the ground), flutter kick your legs in quick, small kicks.
- Planks: These work your entire core. Some variations are elbow planks, full planks, side planks, wall planks, plank-jacks, etc.
- V-Ups & V-Holds: A V-Up is when you lay with your arms & legs fully extended, then lift both at the same time to meet in the middle, then release back down. A V-Hold is holding that middle V-shape position with your body for an extended period of time.
- Hollow Body Rocks: In a hollow body position with your torso & legs floated off the ground, rock back and forth, rolling on your spine but keeping your limbs off the ground.
Core Exercises – With a medicine ball:
- Russian Twists: Sit in a modified “V” position with your torso & legs off the floor, with legs slightly bent, holding a medicine ball with both hands. Lean back and twist to the left tapping the ball on the ground behind you, then twist to the right & tap the ball. Continue repeating this, don’t let your feet touch the ground until you have finished your reps.
- Supermans: Lay on your stomach and hold a medicine ball with both hands. Tighten up and lift your arms & legs off the ground as high as you can, so that only your belly is touching the ground.
- Sit Up with Med Ball Throw: Get in a sit-up position with your toes pointing towards a wall. At the top of every sit up, throw the ball at the wall, and catch it on rebound before reclining back for your next rep.
- Straight-leg Sit Ups: Lay on the ground with arms & legs fully extended, and a medicine ball gripped in-between your feet. Do a sit-up and lean all the way forward until you can grab the medicine ball from your feet, then roll back. On the next sit-up, replace the medicine ball. Continue transferring the ball from your hands to your feet with each rep.
Core Exercises – With a Swiss ball:
- The Jack-knife: Place the top of your feet/shins on top of a swiss ball with your hands on the ground. Bend your legs, bringing your knees & the ball in towards your body, then extend your legs back out.
- Hip Raise: With your upper back on the ground, put your feet on top of a swiss ball. Push upwards with your hips until only your neck & shoulders are on the ground, then release back out.
- The Pike: Place the top of your feet/shins on top of a swiss ball with your hands on the ground. Keeping your legs straight, raise your hips up towards the ceiling, rolling the swiss ball in towards your body with your toes. Then lower the hips and roll the ball back out.
Core Exercises – With a Pull Up Bar:
- Hanging leg raises: Keeping your legs straight, lift them up to a 90-degree angle (parallel to the ground) then lower them back down.
- Toes to bar: Keeping your legs straight, lift them all the way up until your toes touch the bar, then lower them back down.
- Knees to elbows: Allow your knees to bend as you lift your feet and bring your knees to your elbows before lowering them back down.
- L-Hang: Keeping your legs straight, lift them up to a 90-degree angle (parallel to the ground) and hold this L shape for a set amount of time.
Core Exercises – With Free Weights:
- Glute Bridge: Lay with your knees bent, back on the ground, and place a plate or barbell on your hips. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling, then lower back down.
- Decline sit up: On the decline bench, perform decline sit ups with or without holding extra weight in your hands.
- GHD sit ups: On the roman chair/GHD bench, perform GDH sit ups.
- Back Extensions: On the roman chair/GHD bench, perform back extensions with out without holding extra weight in your hands.
- Good Mornings: Stand and place a barbell on your shoulders. Hinge forward at the hips until parallel with the ground, keeping your back straight, then straighten back up.
- Deadlifts: Stand with a barbell at your feet. Bend at the knees to grip the bar, then straighten up, lifting primarily with the legs, and keeping your back straight.