Everyone wants to lift more. Let it be a deadlift PB that needs to be crushed or a weighted squat milestone that's ever so close, getting stronger is everyone's main aim in the gym (or home gym). But apart from doing the best pecs exercises and best arm exercises over and over again, you'll also need to train your core if you really want to lift like a pro.
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That's right: training your core properly can mean the difference between smashing through your gym goals and pulling your back every other week doing stiff-legged deadlifts. Want to get fit? Start paying attention to your core training. A strong core can help you in a variety of ways, let it be improved posture or better sleep too.
If you want to know more about what 'core' actually is and how to train it properly, check out T3's best core workout guide with in-depth explanation of the best core exercises and, most importantly, what sequence you should follow for maximum efficiency. Want to know how to get a six pack or how to do pushups? Start with training your core.
Here are some of the best core exercises you can do to build a stronger core.
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Eat your protein
Eating the right amount of protein is essential for muscle building and repair. Training in itself would not be enough to build a strong core, you also need to help muscle regeneration by providing your body with protein throughout the day. An average adult need anything in between 1.6-2 grams of protein per body kilo per day if they work out actively.
The most convenient way to consume protein is to mix protein powder with water or milk/substitute and have it as an on-the-go snack after the workout. For the best results, use a protein shake blender to mix the ingredients. Alternatively, you can also snack on protein bars or the best jerky instead of chocolate or biscuits.
It you have a fast metabolism, consider taking weight gainer protein: these meal replacement powders have loads of carbs as well as protein, helping you gain weight easier as you bulk up.
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Best core exercises
Planks is probably the best core exercise in the universe. It is simple yet challenging and can be scaled up infinitely: just try to hold it for as long as you can. The world record is over 8 hours but if you can hold it for longer than 120 seconds, you are already doing better than 90% of the world population.
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2. Ab rollout
Once you mastered planks, it's time to move onto learning how to use ab rollers and a start doing ab rollouts. Knee ab rollouts can be performed using ab rollers or even barbells or dumbbells. Not like any variety is going to be much easier, to be fair.
3. Mountain climbers
Doing mountain climbers are your fast track to six pack gains without the neck strain you'll most certainly get doing situps. This is a killer exercise and one that is really challenging to do for sure. Try oblique or spider mountain climbers if regular ones aren't hard enough.
4. Russian twist
Just follow Alex Crockford's example above: Russian twists are the ultimate oblique core exercises. For added resistance, try holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in your hands as you twist.
5. Hanging leg raises
Once you mastered all the above exercises, you are probably ready for some hanging leg raises. Doing these in the gym is the ultimate power move and one that will make you ache so much in the abdominal area the day after that it will be challenging just to roll out of bed. It will be worth it, though.