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Core Workouts for Men: Build a Balanced Body

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

core workouts for men

If you’re like most guys, you want to show off some sick six-pack abs. But it takes more than just crunches — you need killer core workouts for men!

We all know that having ripped abs looks great. And the benefits of a muscular midsection goes beyond just the aesthetics.

Toned abs are a sign of strong core and overall health.

But to get great looking abs, you need to focus on all aspects of health, including strength training, cardiovascular fitness, and healthy eating.

Ready to build a better body? Check out our favorite core workouts for men!

Burn Calories and Shed Fat to Get Great Abs

To sculpt your abs you need to not only work the core muscles but also lose fat that you may be carrying in your midsection.

Not only will this get you rock hard abs, but it will also make you stronger and healthier overall.

Fat in the midsection is also known as visceral fat, which can cause a number of health problems.

In fact, high amounts of abdominal fat are correlated with worsening cardiovascular risk factors.

By doing exercises that burn calories you can help shed this layer of fat.

This will have you looking great on the beach, but more importantly, will improve your fitness and decrease your risk of chronic health problems.

best exercise for men 40+

What Are The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises For Men 40+?

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The secret to building age-defying muscle in your in 40s, 50s, & 60s is to modify the best muscle building exercises (bench, squats, rows) to make them safe on your joints…

Strength Training is Also Required

Some people think that if you can just lose belly fat, that then you will be able to see your six-pack.

You may have heard that “we all have a six-pack, there is just a layer of fat over the top.”

While technically this may be true, the fact is you will never see your abdominal muscles just by losing fat.

In order to get your abs to “pop” you have to strength train them just like any other muscle group.

Now don’t get me wrong, isometric exercises like planks should still be included in your ab training regimen.

But you also want to have exercises where you are also adding resistance to your core exercises.

By adding a combination of strength training and isometric moves three to four times a week, you will be on your way to some amazing abs.

Killer Core Workouts For Men

Incorporate this core workout into your schedule three to four times a week to get the best results.

Like any muscle group, you want to give yourself around 48 hours of recovery between hard workouts.

You can add this on to the end of a cardio day or strength training session, or whenever you have 20 free minutes during the day.

These exercises will hit your abs from all angles, and will also engage all of the stabilizing core muscles around your spine and low back.

Set a timer and do as many reps of each exercise for 20 seconds. Take 10 seconds of rest and then move to the next exercise.


This cardio and ab exercise serves double duty by working the core and burning a ton of calories at the same time.

A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research even found that body-weight burpees elicit higher metabolic demands than traditional strength training exercises!

  • Start in a standing position and lower your body to place your palms on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
  • Kick your legs back so that you are in a push up position.
  • Do one push up, then jump your knees back into your chest.
  • Explode up into the air for one rep.

Low to High Woodchops

This full-body exercise works the obliques and upper abs while keeping your heart rate up and burning calories.

Use a five- to 10-pound dumbbell or a medicine ball.

  • Squat, and twist left while holding a dumbbell on the outside of your left leg.
  • Exhale, and lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending twisted to the right with the dumbbell above your head.
  • Pivot on your left foot as needed.
  • Control the weight back up to the starting position to complete one rep.
  • Do this for 20 seconds on one side, rest 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side for 20 seconds.

Mountain Climbers

We all know that planks are an awesome core workout.

Well, mountain climbers are basically the cardio equivalent. You can think of it as a moving plank.

  • Start in a push up position with your hands under your shoulders.
  • Drive your right knee to your chest and tap your right foot to the floor then quickly move it back to the starting position.
  • Then repeat this on the left.
  • Continue alternating legs back and forth as quickly as you can.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are an amazing way to work your abs, and they prove that there is so much more to core workout than just crunches.

Plus, this will burn some serious calories while strengthening the core.

  • Hinge forward at your hips while holding a kettlebell down in front of you.
  • Bring the kettlebell between your legs, thrust your hips forward, and swing the kettlebell to about shoulder height.
  • Control the movement back down and repeat.

Dragon Flags

The dragon flag is an intense core workout that really engage your abs.

This is a very tough move, so don’t be discouraged if you can only do a few reps at first!

  • Lie on a decline or regular bench and grab the edge of it behind your head.
  • Swing your feet upward until your body is almost vertical while keeping your shoulder blades on the bench.
  • Keep your core tight and your body as straight as possible.
  • Slowly lower your feet under control until they are just above the bench.
  • Lift your legs back up in the air again to complete a rep.

Medicine Ball Slams

This is another heart-pumping core workout that will work all of the muscles in your midsection.

  • Hold the ball above your head, then forcefully slam the ball down onto the floor as hard as you can.
  • Catch the ball on the rebound (or pick up off the ground) and repeat.

Russian Twists

This move targets your obliques, and adding a dumbbell or medicine ball adds an additional strength training element.

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your butt while holding a dumbbell.
  • Lean slightly back but be sure to keep your back straight.
  • Twist to the left, bringing the weight to your left side, then rotate to the right.
  • This completes one rep.

Rest for one minute after completing this circuit. Then repeat three more times to complete this killer 20 minute ab workout.

Healthy Eating for Ripped Abs

While this workout will definitely help you get a toned midsection, the recipe for awesome abs also includes the right nutrition plan.

If you follow up these exercises with processed carbs and greasy fast food, you will never have the great looking core you have worked so hard to achieve.

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Here’s A Free Weight Loss Meal Plan For Busy Men 40+

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Discover exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to lose belly fat & feel energized 24/7 without hard dieting...

Add Lean Protein Sources

If you want to lose belly fat and gain core strength, you will want to increase your protein intake.

This will help you fuel your workouts while keeping you satisfied and fulfilling your needed calorie intake.

Protein is a macronutrient that not only builds muscle but also spares muscle mass while you are cutting calories.

A recent study looked at men on low-calorie diets that were also performing resistance training and high-intensity interval training six days a week.

Each group consumed the same number of calories, however, the group that consumed a higher protein diet gained more lean muscle mass and lost more fat.

If you want six-pack abs, this is exactly what you are looking for.

Make sure to choose lean protein sources, like chicken, lean beef, or fish.

While red meat is fine every once in a while, it does have higher amounts of saturated fat, so it’s best to limit your intake.

To get great looking abs, you also need to limit foods high in saturated and trans fats.

So while that doesn’t mean you have to “ban” certain foods from your life, it does mean making smart choices on a daily basis to trim down your stomach.

You will also need to pay attention to your intake of carbs and fat.

Make sure you limit your consumption of processed foods, basically anything high in sugars and simple starches.

These types of foods will spike your insulin levels and lead to increased weight gain.

Eat Smaller Meals Throughout the Day

Studies have found that spreading your calorie intake out over the course of the day can help with weight loss.

So, instead of eating two or three big meals, try to spread this out into five or six smaller meals throughout the day.

Research has shown that by doing this you can lose weight while reducing the loss of lean body mass.

And the type of food you eat throughout the day is also important.

Eating protein at each meal stimulates muscle protein synthesis more effectively than eating more protein at one meal.

So by spreading out your protein intake over the course of the day, you will be well on the way to a killer core.

Sculpt Those Abs!

Anyone can get great looking abs with the right fitness plan.

By incorporating core cardio and resistance exercises along with the right diet, your six-pack will be popping!

So get started today with this awesome core circuit, and then hop over to the Fit Father Project YouTube Channel to find even more core and strength training exercises to keep you in top shape.

Holly Smith

Holly Smith M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is board-certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly is a keen runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast. She has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, Olympic distance triathlons, half marathons, and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on core workouts for men.


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