The 7 Best Barbell Exercises For A Strong Core

The 7 Best Barbell Exercises For A Strong Core

Attack Your Core
It’s true that "abs are built in the kitchen." But as with any muscle, abs are built in the gym, too. You still have to blast them with intense exercises to create the stimulus for growth and definition. Yet the common ab exercises guys use to target their core— situps, stability ball crunches, etc.—leave much to be desired.

By using a barbell, however, you’ll be able to easily add resistance to each core exercise and intensify your training for more hypertrophy. Also, because you’re moving a weight with your arms while keeping your torso stable, you’ll attack your core from a variety of angles that are impossible with traditional core exercises.

Add any of these seven best barbell core exercises to your workout and take your ab routine to the next level. Don’t be surprised if you’re painfully sore the next day.

Landmine Rainbow
The landmine lets you use a barbell as a lever to unlock a different array of exercises as the weight twists and turns. With a landmine rainbow, you attack your core by moving your arms in an arc while keeping your spine and ribcage stable.

How to do it:
Place one end of a barbell in a landmine. At the other end, stand facing the landmine, grab the other end with your arms extended, and start with the barbell end about eye-level. Twist the barbell to one side without turning your hips or shoulders and keeping your arms as straight as possible. Alternate sides. To make it harder, add weight by sliding small plates on the end.

If you don’t have a landmine, just place a folded-up towel in the corner of a wall and wedge one end of a barbell there.

Barbell Rollout
With rollout exercise, the farther you extend, the more you strengthen your abs. Using a barbell lets you descend close to the ground and even adds resistances as you roll back up. It’s also harder than an ab wheel because you have to control a wider weight.

How to do it:
Get on your knees and grab a barbell with 45-lb. plates. Push your hips forward, keep your arms straight, and go as low as you can without letting your ribcage flare out—keep your hips straight and squeeze your glutes the entire time. To make it harder, use shorter plates or heavier plates.

Barbel Side Bend
Target your obliques with side bends. By using a barbell instead of dumbbells, you’ll spike the intensity on your sides because there’s more weight and the level arm is longer—it’s harder to move a seven-foot long bar than dumbbells held at your sides.

How to do it:
Hold a barbell behind your neck like on a back squat. Stand with legs about hip-width apart and bend your torso to the side, trying to get the barbell almost vertical. Alternate sides.

Barbell Straight-Leg Situp
This isn’t your old-fashioned situp that shortens your hip flexors and rolls your shoulders forward. With a barbell straight-leg situp, you need to rise by keeping your torso rigid and neutral.

How to do it:
Lie on your back with your legs straight, holding a barbell overhead with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms straight, keep your chest out, and lift your torso until you’re sitting straight up. Keep your legs extended throughout and do not let your back round forward.

Zercher Squat
No squat variation blasts your core like a Zercher squat. (Don’t be surprised if you feel it there more than in your legs.) Because you’re holding the weight right in front of your body, your core will work like crazy as you stay tall and avoid collapsing forward.

How to do it:
Start with a barbell in the crook of your elbows, with your hands held together in front of your chest. Stand shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly out. Squat down by sitting back, spreading your knees, and keeping your weight on your heels. Once your hips are below parallel, drive through your heels and rise. Keep your lower back flat and your shoulder blades squeezed together throughout.

Barbell Overhead Carry
Weight carries are a must-have exercise in any strength program. They build bulletproof conditioning as well as phenomenal core strength and endurance. The overhead carry amplifies the intensity on your abdominals and obliques because they have to fight to control a higher center-of-gravity.

How to do it:
Hold a barbell overhead with your hands much wider than shoulder-width apart and your elbows locked. Don’t let your ribcage flare out and don’t let your lower-back arch excessively. If you get tired, slowly lower the weight onto your traps. To safely move the weight overhead, do a push press.

Single Arm-Landmine press
Overhead presses are an underrated exercise that carves your abdominals. When the weight is fully extended overhead, your core must brace hard to stabilize your entire torso and connect your upper body to the ground. By pushing with one arm, however, you’ll spike the stability challenge to get more core work.

How to do it:
Place one end of a barbell in a landmine. At the other end, stand facing the landmine, grab the other end with one arm and hold it near the same shoulder. Drive the barbell overhead without twisting. Finish all your reps on one side and alternate. To make it harder, add weight by sliding small plates on the end.

If you don’t have a landmine, just place a folded-up towel in the corner of a wall and wedge one end of a barbell there.