Over 50? This Is the Best Abs Workout To Build a Stronger Core

Abs workout for a stronger core
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Many men in their 50s are constantly on the hunt for the best ab workouts. 

There’s no doubt that our bodies go through changes as we get older, such as increased visceral fat

But just because we might have a little bit more belly fat after turning 50, there is no reason we can’t get great abs at any age!

But beyond just the aesthetic appeal of shredded abs, having a strong core is vital to overall health.

As we get into our middle and later years, gravity starts to affect us more and more. In this stage of life, core strength becomes even more important.

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The Best Abs Workout

The Best Abs Workout

In the previous section, we talked about the specific functions of the abdominal muscles. However, the truly important function of the abs is to support the body during movement. This support can help prevent injuries as well as increase performance.

For this reason, many of the exercises in the next section will not necessarily be isolation exercises. Rather, most of the exercises will force the abs to stabilize the spine during the movements in question.

So, with any of these exercises that follow (and any exercises you perform for any muscle group) ensure that you have proper form and that you keep your abs engaged.

The Perfect 15-Minute Abs Workout

The routine that follows can be performed between 2-4 times a week. You’ll want to rest for 30-60 seconds between sets and exercises.

Again, the focus of these movements is to activate the core. Therefore, while you might not necessarily “feel the burn” in your abs on every movement, you should attempt to keep your abdominal muscles stable and strong throughout each exercise.

Over time, this workout* (when combined with an effective diet) will help you to achieve the shredded abs you’ve always dreamed of.

*Before beginning this or any exercise program, you should always consult with your doctor or trained exercise professional. No information provided in this article is a substitute for a medical evaluation by a qualified medical practitioner.

1. Barbell Squat

Barbell Squat

Squats engage many muscles throughout the entire body. Obviously, the legs power the movement, but the core has to be strong for you to maintain your spinal alignment while supporting the extra weight of the barbell.

Parameters: Select a weight with which you can perform between 8-15 repetitions. Perform 3-5 sets per session, 2-4 Sessions per week.

How to Perform:

  • With the barbell positioned comfortably on the back of your shoulders, squat down slowly.
  • Ensure that you keep your trunk stable, and do not allow your back to round.
  • Once you’ve squatted to the point where your thighs are roughly parallel with the floor, stand back up slowly to finish the repetition.
  • Maintain a strong, solid core throughout the entire exercise.

2. Dumbbell Renegade Rows

Dumbbell Renegade Rows

This exercise engages arguably every muscle of the body. You’ll really feel this one in your back and shoulders.

Parameters: Select a weight with which you can perform between 8-15 repetitions. Perform 3-5 sets per session, 2-4 Sessions per week.

How to Perform

  • Start in a pushup position, holding dumbbells. 
  • Move BACKWARD by picking up one of the weights all the way to your chest and placing it a few inches behind where it started.
  • As you move the weight, step back with your opposite leg simultaneously, so that you are “crawling” backward.
  • Repeat on both sides until you get 10 reps on each side (or until you hit a wall and have to turn around).

3. Planks

The plank exercise is extremely effective at strengthening your core, whilst also working the shoulders, arms, and glutes. By slowly increasing your hold time on planks, you’ll slowly but surely increase your strength and endurance.

How to Perform:

  • Start on your forearms and toes, with your back flat as a board.
  • Ensure that your spine is completely straight and not bending upward or downward.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can (aim for 30 seconds to start) and perform 3 sets per day, 2-3 times per week.

4. Side Plank Oblique Crunch

Side Plank Oblique Crunch

This exercise crushes the obliques, while also emphasizing the shoulders and many other muscle groups. When you are forced to balance and stabilize, the abs kick into high gear!

Parameters: Perform 10-15 repetitions on each side, 3-5 sets per session, 2-4 times a week.

If it is too difficult for you to perform the movement while your feet are on the bench, start on a lower surface or even on the floor.

How to Perform

  • Lying on your side, with your feet stacked on a slightly elevated surface, place your forearm flat on the ground.
  • Raise your hips straight up toward the ceiling, keeping your obliques strongly contracted throughout the movement.
  • Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position, ensuring that you don’t move too quickly through the negative phase of the movement (this is where a lot of the benefit comes from!)

5. Mountain Climbers

Much like burpees, mountain climbers allow for a great muscular endurance workout as well as a cardiovascular workout. This exercise burns loads of calories and can leave even the most in-shape people gasping for air.

Parameters: Perform 10-15 repetitions on each side, 3-5 sets per session, 2-4 times a week.

How to Perform:

  • Place your hands and feet on the floor in the “up” phase of a push-up.
  • Next, bring your right knee to your chest as quickly as you can.
  • Then, return your right foot to the starting position as you simultaneously bring your left knee to your chest.
  • Continue to alternate in this pattern as fast as you can for 1 minute. Then, take a 30-second break. Repeat this pattern for 10 rounds, 2-3 times per week.

6. Weighted Seated Twist

Weighted Seated Twist

Truthfully, this exercise can be performed on the ground, in a chair, or in standing. But completing this exercise on a stability ball takes it to a whole new level!

Parameters: Perform 10-15 reps per set, 3-5 sets per session, and 2-4 sessions per week. Select a weight that is challenging, but does not cause risk for injury, should you lose your balance on the ball.

How to Perform:

  • Seated on a stability ball (or surface of your choosing), grasp a weight, holding it slightly above hip level.
  • Rotate trunk and weight simultaneously, keeping trunk straight and stable.
  • A rotation to both sides is considered one repetition.
  • Be careful with this exercise. If you feel uncomfortable, start with a wider stance and slowly inch your legs inward as your exercise performance and stability improve.

The Bottom Line On The Best Ab

For men over 50, it can be hard to find a challenging and effective ab workout. The above home abs workout can be done by men everywhere and will lead to a stronger core. With a stronger core comes a healthier, happier person overall!

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Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has maintained certification as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014. He then went on to earn a BS in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. In his free time, Bennett likes to read and exercise.

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