Top Ten Best Exercises for Your Core

Finch
Everybody seems to be after the elusive 6-pack abs. Whether you have fat to lose or muscle to gain, a rock hard, defined core seems to be the goal for just about everyone.

Studies have shown that carrying excess fat around your middle can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases that can shorten your life.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your core exercises: crunches alone will not give you a 6-pack, you can build muscle without losing fat, and you cannot out-work a bad diet. So even though these exercises can increase the muscle mass in your core, they will not be enough to get you that sexy tummy. But they are a start.

The Top Ten

1 Hanging Toes to Bar

Hang from a pull up bar or other sturdy apparatus. From a dead hang, curls your knees up so they touch your chest, then lean back and straighten your legs till your toes hit the bar. Bend your knees and straighten your body back into a hang. Repeat until you puke. - Finch

2 Plank

Hold it for 3 minutes a day then in about a weeks time you have a six-pack!

Get into a push-up position. Hold for as long s you can without arching your back. To make it more difficult, start on your elbows and forearms and hold a straight body. - Finch

3 Kettlebell Windmill

Stand with legs wide and straight. Hold a kettlebell or other weight in one arm straight down your side. Bending at your waist, slide the weight down to your ankle slowly, then bring it back up so you are standing upright again. - Finch

4 Russian Twists

Sit on the ground with a weight on one side of you. Bend your knees and lift your feet so that your shins are parallel to the ground and your feet are in the air. Grab the weight and lift it over your stomach and touch it to the ground on your other side, then lift and bring back to the first side. Repeat. - Finch

5 Superman to Banana

Lay on your stomach with your arms out in front of your head like you are Superman. Lift your arms and legs off the ground, then, without touching arms of legs to the ground, roll over onto your back. Keep your arms and legs lifted the whole time, then roll back to your stomach. - Finch

6 Exercise Ball Pull-In

Get into a pushup position with your feet on an exercise ball. Without moving your upper body, pull your knees and feet in till they touch your chest. Then straighten your legs back out till you are flat again. - Finch

7 Bar Swings

Hold a bar down with wide, straight arms and slowly swing left to right from the waist. Increase the speed till the centrifugal force brings the bar up to chest height. Slow back down gradually to keep from hurting yourself. - Finch

8 Side Plank

Similar to a regular plank, but you'll do this one on your elbow/forearm and on your side. - Finch

9 Ball Throws

Sit either on a workout ball or a decline bench and hold a ball (weighted medicine ball if you have one) in front of your chest. Lean back so your upper body is at a 45 degree angle and hold that position while you throw the ball into the air and catch it again. Repeat for 15-20 throws. - Finch

10 Sit-ups

Oldest one in the book, you know why? Because it works!

The Contenders

11 High Knees

Similar to running in place, this one works your whole body and will leave you short of breath. Keep your upper body straight upright while bringing your knees up higher than your waist. "Run" in place keeping your knees high. - Finch

12 Leg Raises
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