• The Best Exercises for Chest, Core and Abdominal Muscles

    Having a strong chest, core, and abdominal muscles is good for the body, keeping it stable and balanced. What’s more, it improves physical appearance and enhances overall health and well-being.

    However, finding the right exercises to target these areas can be complicated. With so many routines available, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of fitness advice. To help you achieve your fitness goals, we’ve compiled the best combo exercises that target the three.

    Chest Workouts

    A woman watching her coach doing the crossover exercise(Image Credit: Flickr)

    Chest exercises target the muscles in the chest, also known as the pectoral muscles. They help build strength, increase muscle mass, and improve the upper body. This makes this type of physical training popular among fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders.

    Incorporating chest exercises into the routine can also help to:

    • improve posture
    • reduce the risk of injury
    • enhance overall athletic performance

    But achieving a chiselled one requires more than just bench presses. Here are some of the best chest exercises to help you get started:

    A man doing push-ups(Image Credit: Pexels)

    Traditional push-ups

    Equipment/s needed: None (other than a yoga mat)

    Push-ups are a bodyweight exercise that targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders. To perform, get into a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your chest touches the ground, then push back up.

    Use your chest and arms to push yourself back to the starting push-up position. Repeat this motion eight to 10 times for two or three sets. To modify a pushup, place your knees on the floor and do the same movement in the upper body.

    A man doing bench press with barbells at the gym(Image Credit: Wallpaper Flare)

    Barbell bench press

    Equipment/s needed: two dumbbells or a barbell (for extra weights – optional), flat bench

    Barbell bench press is a classic chest exercise that targets the pectoralis major. This exercise also works the triceps, shoulders, and core. To perform, lie on a bench with your feet flat on the ground and grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower the bar to your chest and press it back up. Complete 10 to 15 reps for two to three sets.

    To modify, use dumbbells you can lift comfortably. Place one dumbbell in each hand and move through the exercise in the same way. Top tip: For the incline bench press, lie back on a weight bench at a 30-degree incline.

    A man doing the cable crossover workout at the gym(Image Credit: Flickr)

    Cable crossover

    Equipment/s needed: Cable machine

    The cable crossover is an isolation exercise that targets the chest muscles. To perform, stand in the middle of two cable machines with the pulleys set at the highest position. Grab the handles and step forward, keeping your arms straight. Bring the handles down and across your body, squeezing your chest muscles. And then return to the starting position.

    A woman training with dumbbells and guided by a trainer(Image Credit: Wallpaper Flare)

    Dumbbell flys

    Equipment/s needed: A pair of dumbbells, a flat bench

    Dumbbell flys are another excellent chest exercise that targets the pectoralis major. To perform, lie on a bench with your arms extended straight up and your palms facing each other. Slowly lower the dumbbells to your sides, keeping your elbows slightly bent. Then, bring them back up to the starting position.

    Note: Remember to vary your exercises. Increase the weight progressively to avoid hitting a plateau in your progress.

    Core Exercises

    Fitness duo doing core exercises(Image Credit: Flickr)

    Core work is more than the ability to hold a plank for extended periods. It’s also a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle.

    Working on core strength has numerous benefits – chiselled abs are just an added perk! For one, having a strong core cranks up the power, enhancing balance and stability. In return, it makes your quality of life easier.

    But which beginner exercises are the best workouts for strengthening your core muscles?

    A woman performing planking(Image Credit: Pexels)


    Equipment/s needed: None (other than a yoga mat)

    The plank is an effective core exercise. It targets multiple muscle groups at once, including the abs, back, and shoulders. To get into a plank position, start in a push-up stance, arms straight and feet hip-distance apart. Hold for as long as you can while maintaining the form.

    Focus on doing multiple sets of smaller amounts of time. As you progress, you can extend for up to one or even two minutes, but don’t go beyond that.

    A man doing bicycle crunches(Image Credit: Wallpaper Flare)

    Bicycle crunches

    Equipment/s needed: None (other than a yoga mat)

    The bicycle crunch engages your oblique muscles and lower abs. To perform, start in the same neutral position as the sit-up. Sit with your knees bent, heels flat on the floor, and hands on either side of your head.

    Bring the right knee and left elbow towards one another, with a simple and gentle twist – then vice versa. Do it as if you’re pedalling a bike. Continue for one-minute straight, then take a 20-second break. Return to the start position. Repeat for five rounds.

    A woman doing side plank outdoors(Image Credit: Flickr)

    Side plank crunch

    Equipment/s needed: None (other than a yoga mat)

    Another great plank variation you can add to your routine is the side plank crunch. It focuses on your obliques while strengthening your upper back and shoulder.

    To start, lie on your side with your elbow directly under your shoulder and your legs straight. Lift your hips off the ground and hold the position for as long as you can. Aim for 1 set per side to start, and work up to 3 sets per side as you gain strength.

    Abdominal Exercises

    Fitness duo doing one arm push-ups(Image Credit: Pixabay)

    It’s important to incorporate some beginner abs exercises into your regime. These allow you to perfect your form and focus on making all the core muscles work. To show your entire core some more love, get started with some of these routines:

    Dead bug

    Equipment/s needed: None (other than a yoga mat)

    Dead bug is a type of core-strengthening exercise that targets the abdominal muscles. The position resembles a bug on its back, hence the name.

    This exercise involves lying on the back, raising and lowering opposite arms and legs. You do this while keeping your ab muscles engaged. You can perform it without any equipment except for a yoga mat so that you can lie on your back comfortably.

    2-4 sets of 5-10 or more reps are ideal per side.

    Seated straight-leg lift

    Equipment/s needed: None (other than a yoga mat)

    If you’re still improving that core strength, lying leg lifts can be tough on your lower back. Lucky for you, this seated modification can get the job done a lot easier.

    To start, sit tall with your legs extended. Hinge forward slightly while engaging the core. Keep feet flexed while lifting the right heel 3 to 5 inches off the ground. Pause and lower, then repeat with your left leg – and that’s one rep!

    Top tip: Move your hands next to (or behind) your hips to make this move more comfortable.

    A woman doing toe touches outdoors on a yoga mat(Image Credit: Flickr)

    Toe touches

    Equipment/s needed: a dumbbell (optional), a yoga mat

    Sick of sit-ups? Toe touches up the ante of your lower abs, helping you (and feel the) burn a lot quicker. This exercise is performed sitting on the floor with your legs and arms outstretched. It works great as part of a well-rounded fitness routine and works your abs.

    First, lay on your back with your legs extending up vertically towards the ceiling. Then, extend your arms forward, keeping them straight and parallel to your legs.

    Crunch forward, reaching up to your toes with your outstretched arms. Your head, shoulders, and upper back should be off the ground. Finally, lower yourself and repeat the second (extending) and third (crunching) steps. Aim for 8-12 reps and three sets.

    Note: Vary your abdominal workouts to target all areas of the core and avoid overuse injuries. Diet and body fat percentage also play a role in achieving visible abdominal muscles.


    These exercises almost have the same ‘targets’, so they all work well together. Incorporating them into your routine will make a huge difference. Not only will it help you build strength, but it’ll also improve your overall fitness level!

    They’re effective and easy to do at home or the gym. Plus, they’re suitable for beginners, intermediate athletes, and pros.