Whether you are looking to build quality lean mass, just get into shape in general, or build muscle to improve your performance in your chosen sport, having a strong core is important.
Usually, when someone is inspired to search for a list of core exercises for men, it is because they want to know how to get a six-pack. The truth is that abs are built in the kitchen – exercising the core muscles will not make the abs visible if there is a layer of fat covering them. However, this does not mean that core exercises for men are a waste of time. They still have a lot of value in terms of adding strength to one of the most important parts of your body, and therefore increasing your strength for other lifts, including the squat, and the main Olympic lifts.
The deadlift is a great exercise for building your core strength, while also building grip strength, and strength in the lower back and the legs.
Another important lift is the Pendlay Row. This works both the arms and the core, although you must take great care to ensure that when you row you keep the core strong and the spine alignment correct, to avoid injury.
Sit-ups and crunches are the most well-known core exercises, and they do have value, but they are too easy for a lot of people. Rather than doing standard sit-ups or crunches, try doing exercises such as the V-Sit, or using an ab roller for better effect.
Stability balls can also be used to add a little extra challenge to certain exercises, or to make the exercises easier by taking some weight off you if they are difficult because of a weakness in a certain range of motion, or because you are recovering from an injury.
Note that with core exercises, you don’t just want to strengthen the foward/back or up and down motions, you should also look at strengthening core rotation, twisting and bending side-to-side. This is how you will maintain good posture and prevent injuries later in life.
There is no need to spend endless hours repeating high numbers of repetitions of basic exercises. Just as with traditional weightlifting, it is quality repetitions that will make the difference, rather than the number of reps that you do.
Take your exercises slow and focus on building up ‘time under tension’ for each exercise. Try to maintain good posture throughout the day, and pay attention to your breathing too. If you want to get visible abs, then core exercises will be a good starting point, but it is a calorie controlled diet that will reveal the abs.
Most men do not get visible abs until they are close to the 10 percent body fat point, and this can be hard to achieve and maintain. Abs may be desirable for appearance purposes, but they could adversely impact your performance in your chosen sport if you lose too much muscle or energy while dieting.