Upgrading Your Core Exercises… With A Twist

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Your “core” is a pretty cool group of muscles.

Most people know the rectus abdominis muscle – it has those squares that make a six-pack on lean and developed people:

six pack abs

But a big-time player in your core is the transverse abdominis.  It runs underneath the rectus and acts like a girdle or brace.


And now for the internal and external obliques – your side muscles.  And your back has a “core” too: the quadratus lumborum and erector spinae are two muscle groups you can’t ignore.


The two classic core exercises you might remember from PE class are the crunch and the sit up.  These really just work the rectus abdominus and your hip flexors… not a very complete core exercise.

See, the major function of your core muscles is to twist your torso AND to stop your torso from twisting.  Plus they really work as an X, upper left and lower right together, and vice versa.

core muscle X diagram

People in the know call this rotation and anti-rotation.

So, since rotation and anti-rotation are what your core is designed for, the best core exercises will include one or both.

Crunches and sit ups just don’t make the cut.

Here are 18 “twisted” core exercises that will finally get you results:

Core Exercise 1: X-Plank

Core Exercise 2: T-Pushup

Core Exercise 3: Swiss Ball Step-Off

Core Exercise 4: Snatch And Windmill Combo

If you haven’t mastered the snatch yet, you can press the kettlebell up instead:

Core Exercise 5: Barbell Windshield Wiper (Crazybells Optional)

Core Exercise 6: Straight Arm Sit Up

Can also be done on a decline bench:

No kettlebell? No problem, you can do these with a dumbbell (or even a barbell, if you’re really hardcore)

Core Exercise 7: Kick-Through Side Plank

Core Exercise 8: Medicine Ball Hover Pushup

Core Exercise 9: Plank Walkups

To activate your transverse abdominus even more, do this exercise with your feet on ValSlides:

Core Exercise 10: Core Row

You can add a pushup too:

Core Exercise 11: Cable Woodchop

You can also reverse the motion to work your core muscles the opposite way:

If you don’t have a cable setup, you can use elastic bands or a dumbbell:

Core Exercise 12: Suspension Trainer Reach Out

Core Exercise 13: Hamstring Runners

Core Exercise 14: Plank Walks

Core Exercise 15: Swiss Ball Valslide Buckle-Up

(This is one of the toughest exercises I know, if you do it right)

Core Exercise 16: Slider Mountain Climber

A more advanced variation is the one-leg mountain climber:

Core Exercise 17: Spiderman Pushup

Core Exercise 18: Turtle Rolls

Now, some of these exercises are more advanced than others.  Just use these examples as inspiration to come up with your own innovative core workouts.

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