Get Ripped Abs with the Ultimate Core Workout

Are you ready for a full body workout that will strengthen your core and give you six pack abs? A strong core is key to better performance, and we’ll show you where to start if you’re stuck busting abdominal muscles and seeking muscle growth.

ultimate core workout

Believe it or not, you can build rock-solid core strength without standing one-legged on a ball while pressing pink dumbbells. A century or so ago, practically every guy who trained with weights had a strong core, which he got without using New Age equipment, doing hundreds of crunches, or joining a Pilates class. It's time you learned the truth about what the core is and how it should be trained for health, performance, and eye-popping abs.

Core Concepts

Though commonly used to refer to the abs and lower-back muscles collectively (considered the epicenter of the body ), the term "core" actually applies to several muscles throughout the upper and lower body. The transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis (your six-pack muscle), internal obliques, multifidus, spinal erectors, lats, glutes, and traps can be considered core muscles.

All work together, often simultaneously, to stabilize and support the spine. Since the spinal cord is the main avenue for sending messages to the muscles throughout your body, the safer your body senses that it is, the more comfortable it feels sending those messages out and the more clearly they are received.

Building a strong core is the first step toward making maximal gains in strength and power and performing any kind of skilled athletic movement. Strong supporting muscles around the spine also reduce lower-back pain, as well as the risk for lower-back injury. Finally, since the core encompasses all the abdominal muscles that make up that aesthetic six-pack look, it's the foundation of a ripped midsection (though you may need to clean up your diet to see it).

Nevertheless, a well-defined set of abs does not mean a strong core. So how can you tell if your core is in shape? One of the most basic, easy, and effective methods to test core strength is the plank. If you've ever taken a yoga class (or listened to your lady talk about one), this move should be familiar. Simply get down on your hands and knees as if you were about to perform a pushup, then bend your elbows 90 degrees so that you're resting your forearms flat on the floor.

Keep your eyes focused on the floor and your hips braced—your body should form one straight line. Hold the position for as long as you can. (As time elapses, you'll feel all the above-mentioned core muscles squeezing.) If you can hold the plank for two minutes or more without breaking form or experiencing pain, your core is reasonably strong. If you can only hold the plank for between one and two minutes, practice it whenever you get a chance and work to improve it over time. Also, limit the loads you use in your training, and concentrate more on body-weight exercises.

Start using more one-legged exercises in your workouts, and concentrate on keeping perfect form throughout. Do not attempt any heavy lifts until your plank time improves drastically.

Beware: If your core is weak, you not only severely compromise the amount of strength and muscle you can build in your workouts, but you also risk serious injury lifting heavy weights or doing any exercise that loads the lower back.Take our core training tips seriously, and you'll ensure safe and steady progress for as long as you train.

Hard Core Training

When trainers test their clients' core strength, the ones who perform best are almost always the strongest squatters and deadlifters. This is not by accident. Squats and deadlifts—but also shoulder presses, chinups, lunges, and a host of other compound, free-weight exercises (some of which are discussed later)—demand that the core muscles clamp down hard to support the spine under heavy loads. The core keeps your back upright whenever there's a bar resting on it or being pressed overhead, and it prevents your spine from rotating when you have a load pulling you to one side (as in a dumbbell lunge or one-armed press).

So, in essence, just performing these exercises alone provides a great core workout. Though neither a Swiss or Bosu ball is absolutely necessary for a fully developed core, each can be a highly useful tool that you can work in as a supplement to your main lifts. If you have a pre-existing lower-back problem, a Swiss ball might allow you to train your abs without aggravating it. The ball also allows you to move through a greater range of motion than a crunch done on the floor would. Furthermore, you can perform certain upper-body exercises on it, such as chest presses, which will fire up the core and prepare you for stronger benching when you return to the conventional bench press.

Bosu balls work in much the same way but have a fl at side that makes stabilizing yourself a bit easier. The problem and danger of training your core with either piece of equipment comes when you overdo it (and most people do). Doing crunches only on a Swiss ball overdevelops some of your core muscles while neglecting others, leading to a slew of imbalances that can cause injury and pain. Training with the compound movements described earlier eliminates this risk, as your entire core is trained evenly. (You also get the added benefit of training your other major muscle groups, making the most of your workout time.)

Certainly the most ridiculous trend in core training, and abuse of its equipment, has been the notion that you should perform all your exercises on the Bosu ball. The theory behind this is that your core will work harder as your body struggles to balance itself on top of the ball. While this kind of training does make any movement more difficult to perform, it prevents you from using anything approximating a heavy weight, so your muscles go unchallenged.

You won't build any muscle or strength this way, and your core will never be conditioned to handle the stresses of tough workouts or sports. Unless you're training to improve your performance during an earthquake, exercising on an unstable surface offers no real advantages.Ultimately, doing so will leave you weaker and more at risk for injury. To truly tax your core, keep your feet on a stable surface, and train with time-proven simple exercises such as those given here.

All The Right Moves

Situps are fine, but these are the core exercises you really ought to be doing.

A steady regimen of multi-joint, freeweight exercises like the squat and deadlift should build your core along with the rest of your body, but these supplemental core exercises are what you need to truly pass the plank test. Learn them all and cycle them in and out of your workouts from now on.

plate raises


Stand with knees slightly bent and hold a weight plate in front of your hips. Keeping your arms straight, slowly raise the plate in front of you until it's at shoulder level, and then lower it back down. That's one rep. Perform 2 - 3 sets of 8 - 12 reps, resting 60 - 90 seconds between sets. Make sure you keep perfect posture—shoulders back and chest out—the entire time.

dumbbell rows


Hold a dumbbell in one hand and stand on the opposite leg. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, bend forward at the hips until your torso is about 45 degrees to the floor. Row the weight to the outside of your chest, and lower it back down. That's one rep. Perform 2 - 3 sets of 8 - 12 reps on each side, resting 60 - 90 seconds between sets.

suitcase squats


Hold a dumbbell in one hand at your side and squat as low as you can, as if you were putting down a suitcase. Perform 2 - 3 sets of 8 - 12 reps on each side, resting 60 - 90 seconds between sets.


You can do these with either a barbell or dumbbells. Simply hold the weight at arm's length overhead and squat or lunge. Perform 2 - 3 sets of 8 - 12 reps, resting 60 - 90 seconds between sets.


Raise one leg out in front of you and squat as low as you can. Perform 2 - 3 sets of 8 - 12 reps on each leg, resting 60 - 90 seconds between sets.



  1. Advanced tips to lose inches from your waist

    I spend a lot of time in airports, including 4 hours Sunday in
    St. Louis. But I always look on the positive side and try to get as
    much magazine reading or article writing done as possible.

    Heck, I even wrote this email to you from Gate A18 while waiting for
    my flight and watching the Patriots-Colts game.

    This reminds me of a time about a year ago when I was stuck in the
    Newark Airport, and I was reading a copy of Men's Fitness that
    contained the legendary TT success story of the Kuhn Triplets (you
    can see the fat loss story on my site at

    Here's some of the tips we used in our plan to help the 3 brothers
    lose that last 5 pounds of fat in the last 10 days of the

    NOTE: These advanced tips were only used for 10-14 days. That's the
    maximum time for this advanced plan.

    1) Start your day with water and fiber. I truly believe drinking
    12 cups of water over the course of the day helps you stay alert and
    stops you from feeling too hungry. As for the fiber, you can get it
    from fruit or nuts. Research shows starting your day with fiber
    helps control your blood sugar until the afternoon.

    2) Eat 1 cup of raw vegetables prior to eating your regular lunch
    and dinner. This will help control your appetite.

    3) Eat only almonds, raw vegetables, & fruit between meals.

    4) Don't eat more than 40g of carbohydrates at any meal.

    5) Don't go to bed full. Eat only a small protein snack in the
    evening to control calorie intake.

    6) Drink 6 cups of green tea per day (3 in AM, 3 after lunch)

    Advanced Exercise Tips

    1) Add 10 seconds to each work interval.

    2) Add in some bodyweight circuits (10-20 minutes per day) done in
    the morning or evening.

    If you do your regular TT workout in the morning, then do your
    bodyweight circuits after dinner. Alternatively, do the bodyweight
    circuits first thing in the morning, and then do your regular
    workout at lunch or later in the afternoon or evening.

    3) Add one set to the first superset you do in each workout.

    Use these strict tips for no more than 2 weeks before returning to
    normal exercise guidelines and carbohydrate intake.

    Go here to get started: ===> Advanced tips to lose inches from your waist <=====

    Train hard but safe,


    PS - For maximum fat loss...

    If you have dumbbells, a bench, and a ball at home, you can lose
    fat in the comfort of your own home with Turbulence Training.

    "At the end of week one, I lost 3.5 pounds and I was feeling great.
    Yesterday was the end of week two and I lost 3 more pounds! Six and
    a half pounds in two weeks and I feel outstanding. Not the least
    bit tired or weak. I've never been so enthusiastic about each
    workout. I didn't bother to take a 'before' photo, but I may still
    do that. I would have touched base with you sooner, but with work,
    school, training, etc., I'm always pressed for time. And of course,
    that's what makes Turbulence Training such a convenient program."
    Chuck Fager

    Click here to get Turbulence Training: ===> Fast fat loss workouts... <=====

    "As a professional firefighter, personal fitness is very important
    to me. I found the Turbulence Training program to be an excellent
    way to keep my workouts fresh and high paced while achieving my
    desired results. I would recommend this program to anyone who is
    serious about losing weight and reaching their fitness goals."
    Chris Gaylor, Professional Firefighter