Many of us assume that tried-and-true planks and crunches are the best way to carve out a six-pack, but did you know that a barbell can be a powerful tool to train your core?
Barbells add heavy resistance to your workout, challenging your stability and dynamically working your core muscles, without you even realizing it.
Burn fat, build muscle and target your abs, without performing a single crunch? Sounds good to us! Add any of these seven best barbell core exercises to your workout and take your ab routine to the next level.
1. Barbell Rollout
With this exercise, you’ll reap max gains the farther you reach. This move works because it trains your core muscles to combat against the bend in your lower back called your lumbar spine. Through simply hardening your core during the motion, and tightening those glutes, you’re actively fighting against the extension of that lumbar spine – and developing some killer abs.
2. Single-Arm Landmine Press
The single-arm landmine press allows for you to target and actively engage both your shoulders and core throughout the motion. By hitting as many muscles as possible, this workout is super efficient. Can we get a “holla” for gym time well spent?
3. Barbell Swing
Perhaps the most renowned of the barbell-core workouts, the barbell swing greatly improves the strength of the oblique muscles. It’s recommended you allow yourself to grow accustomed to the motion before doing the exercise under the extra stress of added weight, so practice without the barbell first.
4. Russian Twist
This exercise will work wonders in further developing your oblique muscles. Take the heavy plates off your barbell and twist back and forth in a V-Up position to really work your abs. To increase the intensity, keep your legs as low to the ground as possible (without touching).
5. Zercher Squat
Legendary powerlifter Louie Simmons calls this the most underrated squat, and praises the Zercher’s ability to re-enforce proper squat form – especially important if you’re just starting out with squats! Best of all, it’s impossible not to engage your abs with this squat variation.
6. Barbell Squat
You’ve probably come to know the squat as a way develop leg strength, but squats can also strengthen your core. In fact, numerous studies have shown that muscle fibre activation rates climb much greater during squats than they do during other exercises, including crunches.
7. Suitcase Deadlift
No, this exercise doesn’t involve lifting up an overloaded suitcase, but the motion sure looks like you’re doing it. The suitcase deadlift provides a colorful array of benefits, including boosting core stability.