The “core” is actually a group of muscles, rather than one specific end all muscle. Often, people train their core with the same exercises over and over again, never overloading their muscles or challenging them to adapt to new stressors.
The core is comprised of the:
Rectus Abdominals: the “six-pack muscles”
Internal and External Obliques: the “cuts” on the side of the torso
Transverse Abdominals: the muscle that lies below the rectus abdominals and obliques, responsible for structural support and breathing
Erector Spinae: the “lower back” and surrounding areas of the hips
The Best Core Exercises that Aren’t Sit Ups
Instead of performing endless sit ups, perform these challenging exercises to build new lean muscles throughout your entire core to burn body fat and get results.
1. Medicine Ball Slams
This explosive movement is an amazing way to build lean and tone abs. The explosive nature of this movement requires maximal recruitment of the core muscle, specifically the rectus abdominals and obliques.
The added benefit of increased caloric expenditure and metabolic demands of this challenging exercise will surely leave you sore and sweaty.
Stand over a weighted 10-30lb slam ball with your feet hip width apart
Squat down and grab ball, using a flat back
Explosively stand up lifting ball over head, going into a jump
At the top of that jump, slam the ball as hard as you can into the floor, landing softly in your squat
This timeless classic is found in every ab training regimen, yet seldom actually perform it correctly or progress it enough to produce real results. Assuming a perfect plank position, you can add load to intensify this core strengthening exercise to build a tighter and leaner midsection; from the inside out.
Assuming you can hold a perfect bodyweight plank for more than one minute, add a weight plate to your lower back, of 25lbs to start. Any lighter and you may just be wasting your time (literally)
Work up to holding that weight for 60 seconds, no less than 20 seconds
Slowly and steadily add load over time to build true core strength
4. Weighted Back Extensions / Glute Ham Raises
You may not think you lower back is important when seeking a six-pack, but think again. The strength and endurance needed to perform the most effective exercises (http://j2fit.com/the-best-exercises-for-real-strength-and-lean-muscle-mikes-five/) for building muscle, burning fat, and getting fit requires a lean and strong lower back. Additionally, by addressing the lower back specifically, you will target those love handles and hips.
Load yourself into either the apparatus
Squeeze your glutes and flex your adds before initiating the movement to infinite your muscles
While keeping a stiff, flat back, lean forward throughout the full range of motion
Slightly pause at the bottom, flex your glutes, abs, and lower back, and pull yourself back up. The best way to not hyper-extend at the top is to make sure your abs are flexed and back flat
Build basic endurance by performing these with your bodyweight. Once you can perform 20 unbroken reps, add weight or hold a dumbbell and repeat