1

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Building a Stronger Core

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 13, 2013 at 1:18 AM

Hello everyone! I am a 22 year old female. After going paleo about a year ago, I have lost about 15 pounds of fat. My waist has gotten smaller and is rather small in relation to my hips, and I would like to widen my back and obliques to balance everything out. I would like to build some stronger, thicker, more prominent abs to look a little more athletic. I was wondering if there are any weighted exercises that are great for targeting this area and adding some muscle mass to my core.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

@ Wisper- most every exercise comes from your core. Your core should be flexed during every movement, so really any weight/bodyweight exercise also places a secondary emphasis on your abs (Steve Reeves mentions this in one of his books, that even with triceps extensions he gets an ab workout, as abs should be perfectly flexed during the contraction).

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 15, 2013
at 10:08 AM

I never said women can't train to do pull-ups, merely that few women can do pull-ups. Reading comprehension FTW. I've never coached women, but I've been around enough of them in the military to know how hard it is for even very athletic women to train to just one, let alone a set.

61c1efcc482019e016c45270b18c7453

(645)

on January 15, 2013
at 02:34 AM

Apologist? pfff few women can do pullups and chinups because they haven't built the strength. I never called you a misoginist you sensitive prick (ha pun wasn't intended but is appropriate). You obviously have never coached women and have been able to give them the confidence to get their first pullup and be able to do butterflies. Good luck with your ignorant adventures.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 15, 2013
at 01:37 AM

Who shat in your breakfast cereal? You're hilariously reading misogyny in a post which had none. Women have lower upper body strength is a fact. Few women can do one pull/chin-up is a fact. Doing other exercises is more efficient for core is a fact. I conceded that recent research shows that front squats are good or better at light loads than back squats, but back squats are better at high loads. I DID NOT SAY FRONT SQUATS DON'T HIT THE CORE, I SAID THERE ARE BETTER EXERCISES. I love front squats more than back squats myself, but I don't get defensive about them. Typical male apologist.

61c1efcc482019e016c45270b18c7453

(645)

on January 14, 2013
at 10:47 PM

Wisper, I'm sorry to say but you're as ignorant as whatever resources that you've used. Women can do banded pullups/chinups. If we call use the "they can't do it" mentality then I'm sure typical female will ever be able to complete a single pullup. Second front squats work your core and stabilizer muscles. Ever load 315lbs in front of you? Try to stay up right. She specifically asked about widening her back and obliques. Back squats and deadlifts(to a certain extent) are not going to do that. Read the damn question. Typical Paleo-know-it-all.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 14, 2013
at 01:36 AM

Duh. My point was and is that there are exercises which are better for core than others. Back squats and deadlifts being top contenders, and not only because they hit up to 80% of your body's muscles while exercising your core.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on January 13, 2013
at 10:36 PM

You shouldtry "Russian Twists" on a flat bench with a heavy med-ball, and instead of tapping the ball on ground, side bounce it hard against the ground and catch it as it comes back up (remember, you're on a bench, not the floor, so you the inertia is what gives you the workout, not the twisting motion.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 13, 2013
at 10:30 AM

I did some googling, and found a post from Charles Poliquin where he cites a recent study that fronts are better at lower loads, back squats at heaver: "Previous studies show much greater rectus abdominis activity during the back squat using heavier loads in the 70 percent of the 1RM range, indicating that the relationship of muscle activity and exercise type is load dependent. " http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Blog/tabid/130/EntryId/1673/Tip-473-Do-Front-Squats-to-Strengthen-the-Lower-Back-and-Abs.aspx

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 13, 2013
at 10:23 AM

My point was that there are MUCH better exercises for core. Been doing front squats for years. I know they hit both core and back, but not much compared to back squats and deadlifts, which are much more efficient. Deadlifts are also easier, and back squats are easier for most to learn. Not sure where you get chins being great for abs - I do them weighted and never get much effect from them.

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on January 13, 2013
at 02:08 AM

wisper, have you done sets of front squats? the next morning, all the tissue around your thoracic spine will let you know, in no uncertain terms, that your back did work. chins & pull ups are great for abs, ability to do one notwithstanding.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 13, 2013
at 02:06 AM

Oh, and most women can't do a single chin up, so that's another limiting factor.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 13, 2013
at 01:58 AM

Front squats don't do much for your core or back, and chin ups don't help much with abs.

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4 Answers

best answer

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 13, 2013
at 01:23 AM

Most will point you toward compound motions that dont necessarily target the abs. If your doing enough full body work you usually don't need to. I'm gonna take the path less traveled and link this:

http://gizmodo.com/5709916/4+hour-body-+-six-minute-abs

He calls em different names than what I knew them by, but they are excellent regardless.

best answer

2
9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 13, 2013
at 02:02 AM

Deadlifts and squats hit your core hard, and you get the benefits of overall strength gains. Look up a program called Starting Strength.

If you want more prominent abs, you'll have to live with a thicker waist. Most women wouldn't want that, but if you do, go ahead and employ direct ab work (planks, wood choppers, even crunches). Otherwise you can forgo exercises targeting abs.

Note that if by "prominent" you mean a six pack, you need to get to very low bodyfat (likely below 10%) which for women is really tough to reach, and you might mess up your hormonal balance in the process (losing period).

1
61c1efcc482019e016c45270b18c7453

(645)

on January 13, 2013
at 01:46 AM

Front Squats Weighted Pullups/Chinups Underhand Row Pendlay Row

These will all work your core and make your back stronger.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 13, 2013
at 01:58 AM

Front squats don't do much for your core or back, and chin ups don't help much with abs.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

@ Wisper- most every exercise comes from your core. Your core should be flexed during every movement, so really any weight/bodyweight exercise also places a secondary emphasis on your abs (Steve Reeves mentions this in one of his books, that even with triceps extensions he gets an ab workout, as abs should be perfectly flexed during the contraction).

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 14, 2013
at 01:36 AM

Duh. My point was and is that there are exercises which are better for core than others. Back squats and deadlifts being top contenders, and not only because they hit up to 80% of your body's muscles while exercising your core.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 13, 2013
at 02:06 AM

Oh, and most women can't do a single chin up, so that's another limiting factor.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 13, 2013
at 10:30 AM

I did some googling, and found a post from Charles Poliquin where he cites a recent study that fronts are better at lower loads, back squats at heaver: "Previous studies show much greater rectus abdominis activity during the back squat using heavier loads in the 70 percent of the 1RM range, indicating that the relationship of muscle activity and exercise type is load dependent. " http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Blog/tabid/130/EntryId/1673/Tip-473-Do-Front-Squats-to-Strengthen-the-Lower-Back-and-Abs.aspx

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on January 13, 2013
at 02:08 AM

wisper, have you done sets of front squats? the next morning, all the tissue around your thoracic spine will let you know, in no uncertain terms, that your back did work. chins & pull ups are great for abs, ability to do one notwithstanding.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 13, 2013
at 10:23 AM

My point was that there are MUCH better exercises for core. Been doing front squats for years. I know they hit both core and back, but not much compared to back squats and deadlifts, which are much more efficient. Deadlifts are also easier, and back squats are easier for most to learn. Not sure where you get chins being great for abs - I do them weighted and never get much effect from them.

61c1efcc482019e016c45270b18c7453

(645)

on January 14, 2013
at 10:47 PM

Wisper, I'm sorry to say but you're as ignorant as whatever resources that you've used. Women can do banded pullups/chinups. If we call use the "they can't do it" mentality then I'm sure typical female will ever be able to complete a single pullup. Second front squats work your core and stabilizer muscles. Ever load 315lbs in front of you? Try to stay up right. She specifically asked about widening her back and obliques. Back squats and deadlifts(to a certain extent) are not going to do that. Read the damn question. Typical Paleo-know-it-all.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 15, 2013
at 10:08 AM

I never said women can't train to do pull-ups, merely that few women can do pull-ups. Reading comprehension FTW. I've never coached women, but I've been around enough of them in the military to know how hard it is for even very athletic women to train to just one, let alone a set.

61c1efcc482019e016c45270b18c7453

(645)

on January 15, 2013
at 02:34 AM

Apologist? pfff few women can do pullups and chinups because they haven't built the strength. I never called you a misoginist you sensitive prick (ha pun wasn't intended but is appropriate). You obviously have never coached women and have been able to give them the confidence to get their first pullup and be able to do butterflies. Good luck with your ignorant adventures.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 15, 2013
at 01:37 AM

Who shat in your breakfast cereal? You're hilariously reading misogyny in a post which had none. Women have lower upper body strength is a fact. Few women can do one pull/chin-up is a fact. Doing other exercises is more efficient for core is a fact. I conceded that recent research shows that front squats are good or better at light loads than back squats, but back squats are better at high loads. I DID NOT SAY FRONT SQUATS DON'T HIT THE CORE, I SAID THERE ARE BETTER EXERCISES. I love front squats more than back squats myself, but I don't get defensive about them. Typical male apologist.

0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on January 13, 2013
at 02:11 PM

Many/most crossfit workouts hit your core so you could just do crossfit.

My least favorite & favorite crossfit core workout is toes to bar, or knees to elbows (depending on your ability). I say least favorite because it is really tough, and favorite because it totally toasts your core.

At my gym we sometimes do a tabata ab workout after the WOD, which is 8 sets of each sit ups, obliques, and back extensions, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. This isn't that tough by crossfit standards so I would only do this after another workout.

Russian twists is another good one, hold a medium weight kettlebell and sit in a V, and twist and tap the bell to the ground on either side.

But aside from workouts that actually hit the abs you should also be doing full body and lifting workouts, which need the core and hit other parts of your body too.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on January 13, 2013
at 10:36 PM

You shouldtry "Russian Twists" on a flat bench with a heavy med-ball, and instead of tapping the ball on ground, side bounce it hard against the ground and catch it as it comes back up (remember, you're on a bench, not the floor, so you the inertia is what gives you the workout, not the twisting motion.

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