Abs and Core Exercises

10 Upper-Body Moves That Build Your Core Too

Never neglect your abs again with these 10 dual-purpose upper body exercises.


Single-Arm Bent-Over Row

Single-arm exercises spike your core activation because your abs and obliques have to resist bending and twisting.


Bend your knees slightly and bend at your hip so that your lower back is flat and your torso is almost parallel to the ground. With a dumbbell in one hand and your other hand behind your back, squeeze your shoulder blades and row.

SEE ALSO: The 30 Best Back Exercises of All Time>>

Single-Arm Single-Leg Cable Row

Here’s an easy way to fire up your core: stand on one leg. With only one base of support, your core has to work overtime to keep your body stable and to transfer force from your single leg to your upper body.


Set a cable handle to chest height, grab the handle, and lift the leg on the same side. (Right arm pulling, left leg down and vice versa.) Squeeze your shoulder blades and row. Avoid twisting or bending forward.

Half-Kneeling Landmine Press

By placing a barbell in a landmine, the bar becomes a lever and moves in an arc. This is a great alternative for people with shoulder issues because they don't have to press directly overhead. Also, by getting on just one knee, you’ll spike your core activation because of the instability challenge. If you don’t have a landmine, just stick one end of a barbell into a steady corner.


Get on one knee and hold the end of the barbell with the side that has the knee down. Squeeze your trailing glute and keep your entire body as tight as possible as you push overhead.

Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Press

Holding a kettlebell by its handle but inverted, with the weighted part above your hand, requires more coordination and stability than a standard kettlebell press. As long as the kettlebell stays up, you're doing it right.


Hold the kettlebell with the weight portion above your hand and start with your hand by your shoulder. Squeeze the handle hard, squeeze your glutes, and lift the weight overhead. Don't think about pushing the kettlebell up — think about pushing yourself into the ground.

Kettlebell Renegade Row

The renegade row is the ideal muscle-building cardio exercise. It adds a load to the core, builds the lats and burns calories fast.


Set two kettlebells about shoulder-width apart. Get into a pushup position with your hands grabbing the handles and your feet very wide. Perform a pushup. At the top, row one kettlebell, set it down, then do the other side. That’s one rep.

SEE ALSO: Full-Body Kettlebell Workout>>