Five Great Core Workouts for Home Exercisers


Kevin Rail Trainer
About the Author: Kevin Rail is an internationally known and sought after fitness coach featured in the documentary films, Fasting and The Motivation Factor. He specializes in functional training, core training, three-dimensional movement, motivation and restorative arts. He has a B.S. in sport management/fitness and wellness and is certified through ACSM, NASM and ACE.

You’ve probably heard of this thing called the “core.” It’s arguably the most talked about, beloved and popular area of the body to work, and for good reason. It is required for almost every action you go through in a day. If it is weak, everything from sport performance to getting out of chairs to putting your kids to bed at night can be compromised.

You can strengthen your core with the aid of a few tools that you can use at home. These include an exercise ball, sandbell, medicine ball and kettlebell. All that’s left to do is execute proper form and you’ll be ready to build that core.

But before you get ahead of yourself, you need to know exactly what you are working. The core consists of more than just the abdomen. It also includes the obliques, which are on your sides, the erector spinae, which runs down the sides of the spine, and the multifidus and transverse abdominis, which are deep, internal muscles.  

These all work in concert to flex and extend the spine and allow you to twist and bend laterally. The exercises you are about to learn will involve these planes of motion.

Exercise Ball Knee Pull-ins

You can also refer to this drill as a jackknife.

Start off with your stomach on the ball and hands on the floor. Walk yourself forward until you come into a plank position with your body perfectly straight and parallel to the floor.

Your toes should be on top of the ball at this point. Keeping your upper body still, roll the ball forward and tuck your knees into your chest. Roll the ball back out until your legs are fully extended and repeat.

To make these easier, place your lower shins on the ball.

Kettlebell Windmill

Hold a kettlebell it in a “rack” position on your right side—hold the handle firmly and tuck the bell by your chest with your thumb pressed against your collarbone. Make sure your wrist is straight and press the weight overhead until your arm is fully extended.

Turn your toes to the left 45 degrees and push your hips laterally to your right. Your right leg should be perfectly vertical at this point. Keep it that way through the entire movement.

Look up at the kettlebell and place the back of your left hand flat against the inside of your left leg. Bend slightly forward and laterally to your left to lower yourself down and stop when you’ve gone as far as possible. The goal is to touch the ground but only go as far as your flexibility allows.

Move back to the starting point until your shoulders are square to the floor and look straight ahead. Hold for a second, then look back up at the kettlebell and repeat. Once you have finished a set, switch sides.

When you are going down, it’s OK to bend your knee slightly on the leg that is at an angle to the floor. It will be the opposite leg of the hand that you have the kettlebell in.

Exercise Ball Twisting Back Extensions

Lie across the ball on your stomach and widen your feet a little past shoulder-width. Press them against the bottom of a wall and interlace your hands behind your head.

Bend downward at the hips to lower yourself over the ball. Lift yourself back up by engaging your lower back muscles and twist to your right side. Hold for a second, slowly lower yourself down and repeat on the left side.

Lower yourself and continue to alternate back and forth.

Medicine Ball Bicycle Crunch

Life Fitness Medicine Ball
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and hands holding the ball right in front of your chest. Extend your left leg straight and twist to your right as you pull your right knee in toward your body.

While doing this, twist your torso and move the ball to your right side. Switch directions and repeat the exact same pattern with your left knee coming in and right leg extending.

Move back and forth in a smooth and fluid motion.

Make sure to keep your back straight and eyes fixed in the direction that your torso is rotating throughout.

Sandbell Ab Rockers

Hammer Strength Sandbells On Storage
Lie flat on your back with your legs out straight and together, and hands extended straight behind your head while holding a sandbell. Your palms should be facing up at this point.

Raise your legs up from the floor about two feet and tighten your abs. Move them down to get some momentum and rock your upper body upward. Lower yourself back down by letting your upper body come down and continue to alternate back and forth.

Think of your body as a rail on a rocking chair. It should be slightly curved throughout and when your lower half is going down, your upper half is coming up, and vice versa.

Make sure your arms are fully extended behind you the whole time and do not move them forward. Keep them in line with or slightly behind your ears at all times.

Summing it Up

When it comes to building a strong core, all you need is the right blend of drills with the assistance of a few home tools.

If you were to do three or four sets of the above exercises, two or three days a week, you can build strength in a matter of weeks. And if you watch your diet and burn some fat, you can also experience some new found definition.

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