What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

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coalcracker
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What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by coalcracker »

I'm 45 and have had reasonable improvements in my upper and lower body muscle bulk since getting into barbell/dumbbell exercise over the past few years. However, I still struggle with core strength and would love to improve. Honestly it's my least favorite part of the workout, but I'm committed to improving this year. Currently I lift usually 4x/week (chest/tri, biceps/back, shoulders, legs) and sprinkle in core after those workouts. I usually run 4-5 miles a few days during a typical week.

I realize a big factor in the aesthetic result will be losing abdominal fat, which is mostly diet-related. What routine has worked for your core strengthening and 8-pack abs?
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CommitmentDevice
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by CommitmentDevice »

Congrats on a healthy lifestyle and wanting to take your training to the next level.

I've bought into Starting Strength's philosophy that targeting certain muscle groups is a lot less efficient than just doing the four big compound lifts (squat, overhead press, bench press, deadlift). You'll get a strong core, along with the rest of your body, with just these lifts.

And yeah - having defined abs is mostly about achieving a very low body fat percentage, which is achieved through caloric deficit. Building muscle requires a caloric surplus, so getting strong AND defined it tricky.
BHawks87
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by BHawks87 »

Here is a good video on building functional abs:

https://youtu.be/xSEX3r_hs8o?si=GvemUAk1hHzPCL5b

That guy is a physical therapist and has a lot of great videos.
SVT
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by SVT »

Getting abs is simply getting your body fat percentage low enough. Like below 15%. Abdominal fat is usually the last to go. Specific ab exercises is not needed.

For lifting, you only need to concentrate on squats, deadlifts, bench press, chin-ups, shoulder/military press. That works nearly every muscle group in your body and is the most efficient way to get a complete workout. I do this every other day and this is loosely following the Starting Strength program and Lean Gains program. And then you can simply do light cardio every day, like a zone 2 type cardio, even works.

Diet - 500 calorie deficit give or take, high protein, high carbs, low fat. RippedBody(dot)com has a good guide that basically follows the Lean Gains method and will calculate for you how much protein/carbs/fat to consume and calories. My goal on MyFitnessPal is listed as 40% protein/40% carbs/ 20% fat, although realistically I end up going a little higher on the protein and lower on the fat.
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by jebmke »

Yard work. Three acres of mixed habitat.
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livesoft
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by livesoft »

BHawks87 wrote: Thu Jun 06, 2024 11:55 pm Here is a good video on building functional abs:

https://youtu.be/xSEX3r_hs8o?si=GvemUAk1hHzPCL5b

That guy is a physical therapist and has a lot of great videos.
Thanks for the link to the video. The timed routines are perfect for when I am doing one-minute zaps of oatmeal for breakfast.
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YeahBuddy
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by YeahBuddy »

I have lifted for 25+ years and always neglected abs because abs are made in the kitchen, aka you need to be lean enough to see your abs and it's a waste of energy to train them. Well, that's what I thought. I recently started directly training my core with the Ab Core (seated crunch machine) at my gym. I mix in laying leg raise, laying crunch machine, hanging leg raises, and then kneeling rope crunches. Usually I perform just 1 or 2 exercises x 3 or 4 sets. Like any routine or set of muscles I'm trying to improve, I prioritize them and do them first in my workout.

I've experienced an increase in core strength and what I really like is it's one of the few things I can actually progress with, after all these years of training, along with the stair master. By this I mean that I am not going to magically add 50lbs to my bench press or 100lbs to my squat. But I have added speed and time to stair master, and many more reps to my crunches. It's improved my overall health as I sit up from a laying position much easier, and it's easier doing daily life activities.

I added a good science based video if interested.

So:
seated/laying crunches
hanging leg raises or laying leg raises
mix of high and low reps

Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xdOuqokcm4&t=192s
Last edited by YeahBuddy on Fri Jun 07, 2024 5:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Bbddl
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by Bbddl »

There is a lot of good information in most of the comments that have preceded mine. I am going to boast a little bit here, I am going to be 64 this year and I am on the ice playing hockey anywhere from three to four times a week. I play in two different age groups one to two times a week I am with a group of other60 year olds, the other one or two days a week I am with a group that ranges from 20 to 40 years old.

I am also on a travel law enforcement team that competes nationally, here I realize I need to truly need to stay in my lane as the competition is definitely much higher than I'm able to truly be competitive at at my age.

I retired nine months ago which gave me the opportunity to eat far more intelligently by going to the store on almost a daily basis to buy the fresh ingredients I need for that evening. Typically I only eat two good sized nutritious meals a day. Achieving lean body mass is all about nutrition, caloric intake, and believe it or not your overall mindset.

Regarding the gym I am in there anywhere from one to three days a week based upon my hockey schedule. When I'm there I am continuously in zone 2 cardio status because I do lighter to moderate weight with absolutely no breaks. I will utilize the exercises mentioned earlier in these comments and I mix in numerous other compound and isolation exercises.

If you want you could pm me and I could go over in more detail what it is I do want a daily basis.
FootballFan5548
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by FootballFan5548 »

This thread is great for me. I don't care about core for abs purposes, i'm 40, my 6 pack days are long gone. But my lower back is horrible, always has been. Every doctor and physical therapist has always stressed core strength to help with back pain. I've tried, but just can't get my lower back right. so the core is super important for that for me.
CoAndy
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by CoAndy »

V-ups are a great stomach exercise and can be done anywhere.
torso2500
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by torso2500 »

I do Strong Lifts (roughly), and I feel like I'm developing core strength along with everything else. It is a barbell routine: squats, bench press, pendlay row, overhead press, deadlift. I work on my pull up/chin up too
BashDash
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by BashDash »

kboges youtube channel. the bogleheads of working out. Simplicity!
exodusing
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by exodusing »

As noted, visible abs are a matter of diet to cut body fat. Good genetics is very helpful.

For core strength I do squats and deadlifts, since they require heavy bracing, and also some L-sit chin-ups.
brian2013
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by brian2013 »

Congrats on staying fit!

During the pandemic I got into working out at home with online videos, and don't really do gyms anymore, other than yoga studio once a week. Saves so much time and money.

Currently I'm using the Bodi app by Beachbody for my home workouts. There are lots of great programs on there. Programs are key in my opinion, rather than just picking random workouts. they allow you to track your progress, write down your weights, and train with professionals.

I just completed the "Lift four" and "Lift More" programs on Bodi. There was a core component at the end of every workout. Usually lasted about 5 minutes, with three sets of different kinds of core exercises: dead bugs, plank variations, crunch variations, etc.

I agree with other posters that you can get some core with most exercises, but I disagree that you don't need to do core specific exercises. If you enjoy fitness and really want to "up your game" you should do core focuses exercises.

So that's my recommendation: workout at home with online apps or videos (or with a professional trainer at a gym if that's your thing), and follow a program that allows you to progress over time, and definitely do some core focused exercises such as planks, dead bugs, and crunch variations. you should probably do core-focused exercises at least 2-3 times a week, or like the "lift" programs, with every workout!
stan1
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by stan1 »

exodusing wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2024 9:50 am As noted, visible abs are a matter of diet to cut body fat. Good genetics is very helpful.
Or Ozempic/steroids if you are trying to keep up with social media influencers. Not recommending either to any Bogleheads and I'm sure we all are natural anyways and not worried about our impressing others with our bodies since here it is about net worth :-)
jebmke
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by jebmke »

Bbddl wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2024 5:30 am I retired nine months ago which gave me the opportunity to eat far more intelligently by going to the store on almost a daily basis to buy the fresh ingredients I need for that evening.
That was probably the biggest factor for me. My exercise routine has not materially changed except for what I can't do at 71 that I could do at 55 when I retired. I was pretty fit then but on the high side of desired weight (I think I was ~180) due to heavy travel. I'm down 30 pounds now - probably lower than I should be.
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Tycoon
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by Tycoon »

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exodusing
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by exodusing »

jebmke wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2024 10:06 am
Bbddl wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2024 5:30 am I retired nine months ago which gave me the opportunity to eat far more intelligently by going to the store on almost a daily basis to buy the fresh ingredients I need for that evening.
That was probably the biggest factor for me. My exercise routine has not materially changed except for what I can't do at 71 that I could do at 55 when I retired. I was pretty fit then but on the high side of desired weight (I think I was ~180) due to heavy travel. I'm down 30 pounds now - probably lower than I should be.
So long as body weight and composition are reasonable, more muscles and strength would seem better than less, which may require more body weight. That would give you some cushion against the almost inevitable loss of muscle and strength with age. And keep exercising.
Joey Jo Jo Jr
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by Joey Jo Jo Jr »

The ab roller/wheel thing is great. Only thing I do specifically for abs.
reed5445
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by reed5445 »

At 70 I don't bother with ab work anymore, I lift heavy (squats, deadlifts, OHP, etc.) and I feel that keeps my core strong.
ScubaHogg
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by ScubaHogg »

Squatting
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Colorado14
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by Colorado14 »

Pilates is great for core strength. It doesn't focus only on abs but your entire core. I know a few 60-65 year olds with back issues and I'm hoping that by doing pilates (plus weights, etc.) I'll avoid back problems as I age. Pilates is great for back strength and works muscles very differently than doing rows, lat pull downs, etc.
SmallSaver
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by SmallSaver »

Heavy compound exercises with good attention to form (squats/deadlifts/rows/overhead press). For a super simple targeted exercise, ab wheel. For injury prevention, famous back doc Stuart McGill recommended the "big 3": curl up, side plank, and bird dog. This matches my experience with PT as well.
YeahBuddy
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by YeahBuddy »

FootballFan5548 wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2024 5:37 am This thread is great for me. I don't care about core for abs purposes, i'm 40, my 6 pack days are long gone. But my lower back is horrible, always has been. Every doctor and physical therapist has always stressed core strength to help with back pain. I've tried, but just can't get my lower back right. so the core is super important for that for me.

Not offering medical advice, just sharing my experience. I've had back issues. Bulging discs, herniated disc. I experienced such pain after the herniation, just turning in bed, and getting out and walking was a struggle. PT was life changing for me. But first I followed medical advice and obtained imaging. Yes PT focused on core work, traction, prone press ups. I don't foresee ever trying heavy deadlifts again, but at least I have my life back. Stick with it my friend!
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simplesimon
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by simplesimon »

Do you actually want a strong core or big visible abdominal muscles?

Squats and deadlifts build a strong core. The diet makes them more visible.
BelfastFlyer
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by BelfastFlyer »

brian2013 wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2024 9:52 am Congrats on staying fit!

During the pandemic I got into working out at home with online videos, and don't really do gyms anymore, other than yoga studio once a week. Saves so much time and money.

Currently I'm using the Bodi app by Beachbody for my home workouts. There are lots of great programs on there. Programs are key in my opinion, rather than just picking random workouts. they allow you to track your progress, write down your weights, and train with professionals.

I just completed the "Lift four" and "Lift More" programs on Bodi. There was a core component at the end of every workout. Usually lasted about 5 minutes, with three sets of different kinds of core exercises: dead bugs, plank variations, crunch variations, etc.

I agree with other posters that you can get some core with most exercises, but I disagree that you don't need to do core specific exercises. If you enjoy fitness and really want to "up your game" you should do core focuses exercises.

So that's my recommendation: workout at home with online apps or videos (or with a professional trainer at a gym if that's your thing), and follow a program that allows you to progress over time, and definitely do some core focused exercises such as planks, dead bugs, and crunch variations. you should probably do core-focused exercises at least 2-3 times a week, or like the "lift" programs, with every workout!
I've been using the same app for years now and I'm very happy with the programs. I've even dupped my toes in to the live classes and they can be refreshing change of pace
Wanderingwheelz
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

I’ve always done just traditional crunches. Working out is no different than investing- the simpler you can make it the better results you’ll get over the long-term. Abdominals can also be exercised while doing other muscle groups (like during dips). If you’re exclusively dumbbell training I high recommend getting a bench with dips https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/po ... chmntxxmec
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SubPar
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by SubPar »

Someone linked a Squat University video above. +1 to that.

Functional core strength is where it's at! I hit core during deadlifts (conventional and Romanian), squats, farmer's carries, etc. No situps for this guy.
stoaX
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by stoaX »

Bbddl wrote: Fri Jun 07, 2024 5:30 am There is a lot of good information in most of the comments that have preceded mine. I am going to boast a little bit here, I am going to be 64 this year and I am on the ice playing hockey anywhere from three to four times a week. I play in two different age groups one to two times a week I am with a group of other60 year olds, the other one or two days a week I am with a group that ranges from 20 to 40 years old.

I am also on a travel law enforcement team that competes nationally, here I realize I need to truly need to stay in my lane as the competition is definitely much higher than I'm able to truly be competitive at at my age.

I retired nine months ago which gave me the opportunity to eat far more intelligently by going to the store on almost a daily basis to buy the fresh ingredients I need for that evening. Typically I only eat two good sized nutritious meals a day. Achieving lean body mass is all about nutrition, caloric intake, and believe it or not your overall mindset.

Regarding the gym I am in there anywhere from one to three days a week based upon my hockey schedule. When I'm there I am continuously in zone 2 cardio status because I do lighter to moderate weight with absolutely no breaks. I will utilize the exercises mentioned earlier in these comments and I mix in numerous other compound and isolation exercises.

If you want you could pm me and I could go over in more detail what it is I do want a daily basis.
I'm still playing hockey and hope to be doing so when I'm 64, but that's months away from now.

Back to the subject of this thread, I credit core exercises prescribed by a physical therapist for keeping my back healthy. The exercises are the typical ones already mentioned and I do them every day.
MrMoose
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by MrMoose »

It’s hard to beat classical Pilates for overall fitness. The wife went from 240+ to 170 with a combination of healthy eating and Pilates. She’s now an instructor at 63 years old and works with clients from 22 to 78.

‘You will feel better in ten sessions, look better in twenty sessions, and have a completely new body in thirty sessions.’ Joseph Pilates
mcso
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by mcso »

Someone already stated abs are made in the kitchen which I mostly agree with. I have lower back issues and core exercises keep me on my feet and mostly eliminate lower back issues. I've been told traditional sit ups put too much strain on the spine which makes sense to me. My routine is a plank but your forearms are on a large exercise ball (seems like 2' diameter). Roll ball forward and back to you for whatever amounts of reps one can perform. I then keep plank position but with elbows on same ball and roll said ball in circles. This is a killer exercise for me. Another is with elbows on ball bring alternating knees to touch ball. One can vary the angle of leg/knee to get a good burn. My last is standing sideways to a cable machine set at chest height. With weight adjusted to what you can perform 20 reps move from pointing 90 degrees from machine to hands pointing at machine. Keep you feet shoulder width apart at 90 to the machine. This is harder to describe than to do. Good luck.
As others have said, disregarding metabolism, cutting weight is really calories in and calories burned. Of course good calories and better than bad (say chicken vs a bag of chips).
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FrankLUSMC
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by FrankLUSMC »

I have bad lumbar and PT via the following:

Planks
dead bug with optional ankle weights and dumb bells
Bird dog with optional ankle weights and dumb bells
leg raises
squats with dumb bells
Pallof press Look it up if not familiar it is very good for abs and stability
RedwoodsCA
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by RedwoodsCA »

I started taking Pilates classes (the "Reformed" style) in February. Almost all of my back pain is gone in just a few months and my core is noticeably stronger. I'm mid 40's and will probably keep doing it for a long time. It's usually me an 11 women in the classes, so I feel like I'm intruding a bit, but well worth it.
runswithscissors
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Re: What's your core (abdominal) workout routine?

Post by runswithscissors »

Get an ab wheel and watch several YouTube video with more than 100k views that offer a variation of exercises with the ab wheel.
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