Core Exercises for Men

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
May 17, 2019

The best core exercises for men will keep you strong and healthy. You can be pain free, and you’ll look sharp in your dress pants — and swim trunks.

As you age, a strong core is essential to ward off pain. You’d be surprised at how many pains originate in a weak core — not just lower back, but hip, neck, and shoulder pain. By middle age, most Americans end up with a belly, a weak core, and pains of all sorts.

Men — if you regularly do abdominal exercises, especially abdominal exercises for men, you can be pain free and look and feel great.


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You’ll see lots of workouts that claim to be the best ab workout for men. All you need to know is that your core includes four sections, and each section must be engaged in the course of your workout. Some moves engage more than one section. Because the core is mainly fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are denser than slow-twitch fibers, it responds best to hard, fast bouts of exercise. Doing many reps isn’t as efficient as fewer, more difficult ones. You also should pay attention to form to maximize your progress and avoid injuries. Quality counts more than quantity. Aim to do your workout at least every three days.

So what are the sections abdominal exercises for men must target?

Start with the rectus abdominus, which runs from the breastbone to the pelvis. The best exercises to tone this guy are crunches. For a variation, you might try “frog sit-ups.”

The obliques are on each side of the waist. You have external, internal, and transverse obliques. The transverse obliques lie beneath the internal ones. Together, these muscles tilt and twist the torso. To tone them, you’ll need to do side bends and oblique crunches.

The intercostals run between the ribs and help your chest expand and contract when you breathe. A good exercise to strengthen them is called “the air bike.” Essentially, while lying on your back with your legs in the air, you bring your elbow to the opposite knee and switch sides.

The serratus is often forgotten, but you’ll pay the price in neck pain. It lies around the front of your ribs and works with your rhomboids, which lie over your shoulder blades, to manage how your shoulder blades function. A strong serratus helps prevent neck pain by allowing you to raise your arms without compressing your neck. Try “the scapular pushup,” in which you lower and raise your body without bending your elbows.

You might hire a trainer and get his take on the best ab workout for men, or even better, the best one for you. For ideas, you can see photos of 30 core exercises for men here. Many of these moves include barbells that will help you up your game and get super-buff.

Design your own routine. and change it whenever it becomes easy or you’re bored — just be sure you engage not just the rectus abdominus but the obliques, intercostals, and serratus.

If by chance you’re also looking for a date — or just enjoy being around women in tight pants — consider Pilates. It can be challenging enough for male athletes, and the classes will be full of women with admirable abs. Pilates also may be the way to start if you’ve been inactive or are recovering from an illness or injury.

Pilates got its name from a man — Joseph Pilates, who began developing his routines during World War I in an internment camp for German-born residents in England. He came to New York City in the 1920s, and the city’s professional dancers discovered that his methods helped them recover from injuries.

Today, Pilates studios contain a variety of devices unlike ordinary gym equipment. At your gym, you can sign up for a floor class. Some gyms have hot Pilates, where you work out in rooms around 95 degrees. The heat helps relax the muscles, which tend to tighten in the winter.

Pilates strengthens your abdominal and other muscles through a combination of precise movement and controlled breathing.


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May 17, 2019

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN