When you ask people what the best exercise is to strengthen your core, 99% of the time they will say doing regular planks. Planks are great and really challenging, but they are also very boring. Hence why many people don't bother with planks.
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Training your core is important, though, because it can help you perform all physical activities better and it can also help improve your posture too. Lucky for you, there is another exercise which might even better for your core than doing planks and it is also more fun to do. All you need is a barbell or an ab roller.
How to use an ab roller (correctly)
To perform an ab rollout, go down on all fours, grab the ab roller with your hands and lift your feet off the ground, like on the image above. Engage your core, as well as your arms and your glutes (bum muscles).
Then, gently push the roller away from. This movement consists of two parts: first, you straighten your back so your arms are perpendicular to your body. After this, push the ab roller forward as much as you can, ideally until your nose touches the ground.
Repeat the movement the other way around on the way up from the ground, so move your arm first then push your bum back.
If you mastered kneeling ab rollouts (won't be anytime soon), you can try the standing ab rollout version: same as above but with your legs extended. Starting position is a downward facing dog pose with your hands on the roller, then you push the roller away and then back up again. This one requires an unbreakable core so please be extremely careful when trying to perform it.
Important: If you have lower back issues, please consult your GP before you perform ab rollouts. This exercise can be difficult and potentially dangerous for people with weak core muscles and/or lower back issues.
T3's how-to exercise guides
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- 15-minute six-pack home workout
- Best abs exercises for beginners
- Best yoga workout for abs
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- How to do barbell rows the right way: why bent over rows are great to build big back and strong arms
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- How to bench press effectively and safely: this classic exercise will build a massive chest and big arms and shoulders too
- How to do hardstyle planks: try this plank variation for quicker summer body six-pack gains
- How to do burpees: master this much loved/hated full-body cardio exercise easily