We are now into Autumn which means Winter will soon follow. For many, this is the time to “bulk up” to add more muscle size / strength to their frame.

An area that can soon be forgot or neglected is the ab/ core area as for many, body fat percentages will start to increase meaning abs are less visible.

I always get clients to do some core/ ab work as I feel it is important to do so all of the time for both functional & vanity purposes.

It turns out those same heavy-weighted workouts that are critical for fuelling muscle and strength gains in your back and legs can just as easily be applied to your midsection. A stronger core will have plenty of value once you start adding plates to those heavy deadlifts and squats, because of the greater force you’ll need to stabilize your torso. You’d better believe that being able to hold your spine in a neutral position will help you out during a gruelling heavy set of bent-over rows.

Here are some of my favourite exercises you can perform next time you are in the gym.

Lower-Ab Emphasis

This is the area below your six-pack that attaches to the pelvis. To target this region, stabilise your upper body and draw your pelvis in toward your lower ribcage, making the lower end of the rectus abdominis shorten the most. A good example is the hanging leg raise.

  • weighted hanging pelvic tilt
  • Weighted hanging knee raise
  • Straight legged hip raise on a decline bench with weight between feet


Oblique Emphasis

Twisting at the waist or working in the lateral plane, such as when you bend to the side, engages the internal and external oblique fibres. Only the external ones are visible, but both play important roles in strength and safety during big lifts.

  • Oblique cable crunch
  • Standing cable wood chop
  • Weighted Russian twist
  • Swiss Ball Side crunches


Upper-Ab Emphasis

Upper-ab movements require your lower body to be stabilized as you bend at the waist to bring your ribcage closer to your pelvis. When you do this, the upper portion of the rectus abdominis undergoes a greater degree of shortening.

  • Weighted sit up
  • Banded sit up
  • Cable crunch
  • Decline crunch