Best Core Exercises for Men

By Jonathan Johnson , last updated June 20, 2011

No matter what your fitness goals are, whether you aim simply to build muscle mass, to increase your overall health, or to become better at a particular sport, you'll want to consider some of the best core exercises available for men to help you drastically improve performance. Not only are they necessary to maintaining good form, but a strong core can also help prevent chronic back pain and injuries.

The plank, and slight variations thereof, are great core exercises that will strengthen your core without even moving a muscle. Keeping your back straight in a straight line from your ankles to your head, rest your forearms on the ground and clasp your hands together. Wait until your core muscles start to burn, and then keep the pose for at least another 15-30 seconds. The goal is to push yourself past what you think your limit is. The basic plank will strengthen your abdominal muscles. Side planks, rotating so that you are balancing on one forearm, will work your obliques.

Other exercises that are excellent in a core workout include: regular sit-ups, twisting sit-ups, leg raises, bicycle crunches, side bends, and the bridge.

Regular sit-ups should be performed with good form in order to receive maximum benefit. Keep your back straight throughout, arms crossed across your chest or hand interlocked behind your head. Be careful not to use your arms to pull yourself up. This exercise will work mainly your abdominal muscles, upper and lower. Twisting sit-ups will work the obliques as well.

The bridge should be included in any core workout. Too much emphasis on the abdominal muscles can throw off the balance of the spine and cause back problems later in life. Holding the bridge for a minute or two at the beginning and end of a core workout will significantly help strengthen your core. It will work out your lower back and glutes.

Be careful not to overwork yourself. Allow plenty of time for your muscles to recover before working out your core again.

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