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Four Super Effective Core Exercises You Should Be Doing

Woman doing abs exercise at cardio course

6 packs training. Getting those sexy muscles to show up prominently on our bodies. Indeed, many would agree that there is not much better feeling than waking up with some soreness in the abs the day after a good ab workout.

Or as the current term goes, core workout.


However, what exactly does “core” refer to?

Many people are probably unaware, but the term was first coined by Bob Gajda and Dr Richard Dominquez in 1982 in their book Total Body Training. It was stated in the book the following:

“The first essential concept in total body training is that of the “core”, which is our term for the muscles of the center of the body. These muscles stabilize the body while we are in an upright, antigravity position or are using our arms and legs to throw or kick. They maintain our structure while we do vigorous exercises, such as running, jumping, shoveling snow, and lifting weights overhead. These are the muscles that control the head, neck, ribs, spine, and pelvis.”

Therefore, contrary to what many people probably believe, the core is not just about the abdominal muscles and lower back. It includes your glutes, upper back, obliques, middle back, shoulders and chest.

Having said the above, since the chest, shoulders, upper back and middle back and glutes are involved in major compound movements people do such as bench press, pull ups, squats and deadlifts, the remaining of this article will cover on compound core exercises that involve plenty of abdominal muscles and obliques.


A) Cable woodchop

1. Attach a D handle to the cable handle and stand to the side of the cable.

2. Start with the D handle placed in front of one leg, and grab the handle with both hands. Your arms should be fairly outstretched, with a slight bend in the elbows.

3. Your feet should be pointed almost straight (left feet at about 11 o’clock position and right feet at about 1 o’clock position) and about shoulder width apart.

4. In one controlled and fast motion, pull the handle upwards to slightly above the ear on the side of the other leg. Rotate only your torso and keep your back neutral.

5. Your arms should still be just slightly bent at the elbows throughout the movement.

6. There should be slight bend in the knees as you move the handle.

7. Maintain your stance and fairly bent arms and knees as you return the handle to neutral position in a slower and controlled motion.

8. Repeat till you achieve the desired repetitions.

9. Perform the desired repetitions on the other side.


B) Modified plank

1. Get on the ground with knees resting on the floor and stomach facing the floor.

2. Place the forearms on the ground with the elbows aligned below the shoulder.

3. Your arms should be parallel to each other at shoulder-width apart.

4. Keep your neck in neutral position by focusing on a spot on the ground about 20cm away from the hands.

5. Your head should be in line with your back, and your back neutral.

6. Your hips should be flexed and not tilting to the ground.

7. There should be very minimal bend in the knees, and your toes pressing against the floor. Do not fully lock out your knees.

8. Remember to breathe naturally. Do not hold your breath.

9. Lift one of your hands out towards the side and hold this position for desired time. Repeat the same for the other hand.

10. Next, move the elbows forward to under your eyes and hold this position for desired time.

11. Finally, move the elbows back to below the shoulder and hold this position for desired time.

12. Rest for the desired time and repeat the above again if desired.


C) Medicine ball walk out

1. Get into a praying position by kneeling on the ground. Keep the back neutral.

2. Do not shift your hip backwards. Squeeze your hips.

3. Hold a well pumped medicine ball with both hands. Start with the medicine ball just under the eyes.

4. Roll the medicine ball forward in a controlled manner until you lose stability in the hips and/or back – depending on which comes first.

5. Return the medicine ball back to starting position in a controlled manner.


D) Single arm farmers’ walk

1. Hold a dumbbell in one arm while standing up.

2. Keep your back neutral and arms straight with a slight bent in the arm holding the dumbbell.

3. Keep your neck in neutral position by focusing on a spot ahead.

4. Brace your core tight by imagining resisting yourself against a punch towards the stomach.

5. Keep the tension in the stomach and walk the desired distance.

6. Rest for the desired time and repeat.


I hope this article has been informative and useful. If you are interested in learning more about how you can blast your core in the gym, feel free to approach any of our friendly Gold’s Gym personal trainers, who will guide you in training your core in a fun, effective and safe manner.


Personal Trainer Singapore Khit
About Tze Khit
Tze Khit is a distinguished personal trainer with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports & Exercise Science from Edith Cowan University. Passionate about optimizing human potential, he offers expertise in weight loss, toning, and rehabilitating injuries. His holistic methodology integrates human anatomy, physiology, and bespoke training plans, rooted in initial functional movement screening. Certified by the Singapore Sports Council and holding multiple National Council on Strength & Fitness accreditations, he masterfully employs techniques like myofascial release and neuromuscular activation, ensuring clients achieve their fitness aspirations swiftly and safely.


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