The Best Core Workout Equipment of 2021

Go beyond crunches with these picks

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Maintaining a strong core is vital to so many aspects of your health that go beyond six-pack abs. It keeps your posture tall and straight, it protects against lower back pain, it keeps your balance on point, and it even helps you run faster!

Luckily, there’s a wide variety of tools you can use to keep your core in tip-top shape without ever getting bored. These tools come in all shapes, sizes, and price points, and they do far more than help you get closer to that coveted six-pack. Remember: The core is not solely composed of abdominal muscles. It includes your obliques and lower back muscles, too, creating 360-degree stability around the trunk of your body.

Here, the best core workout equipment on the market.

Our Top Picks
The stabilization challenges presented by the anchored straps make for a comprehensive and super effective core workout.
Those who prefer to tackle a core exercise through rowing will appreciate the touchscreen display and the trainer-led workouts.
The three-piece set can be used for kettlebell swings, Turkish get-ups, or Russian twists, while the wide grips keep you safe.
Best Stability Ball:
TheraBand Exercise Ball at Amazon
Ideal for core training or for alleviating back pain, it provides the right balance of support without limiting your range of motion.
A classic addition to your home gym equipment, the medicine ball is easy to grip when your hands are sweaty.
Best Balance Trainer:
Bosu Balance Trainer at Amazon
Take your balance challenges to the next level with this trainer, which helps you learn how to manage unstable surfaces.
The wheel's wide design provides an essential amount of stability for various exercises and helps you adjust the intensity.
The flexibility of the training tool enables you to work your full range of motion, better targeting hard-to-reach muscles.
Not just for upper body exercising, the pull-up bar challenges your core strength as you leverage your bodyweight beneath the bar.
The multifunctional, adjustable tool supports a variety of core-strengthening exercises, such as knee raises, leg lifts, and more.

Best Overall: TRX All-In-One Suspension Training Fitness System

TRX All-in-One Suspension Training Fitness System

If you really want to light up your core, it’s time to try suspension training with the TRX system. It can be used to target the upper body and lower body as well, but the stabilization challenges presented by the anchored straps make for a comprehensive and super effective core workout. The best part? It’s entirely modifiable to your fitness level, interests, and goals.

By shortening or lengthening the straps and positioning your body closer to or further away from the anchor point, you can experiment with tons of different movements with varying intensity. Many TRX core exercises require you to place your feet in the strap hooks and balance in a suspended high plank position with your hands on the floor before you even begin—phew! 

Best Rower: NordicTrack RW900 Rower

NordicTrack RW 900 Rower

When people think of strengthening the core, rowing is rarely the first exercise that comes to mind. However, core engagement and stability is a primary component of proper rowing form. And this folding NordicTrack rower makes it easy and enjoyable to get an effective cardio and core workout, no matter the size of your home gym.

The 22-inch touch screen displays iFit trainer-led workouts in high definition, and the air resistance automatically increases based on the program you select to keep you challenged—you can also adjust it manually during self-led rows.

The foot pedals are large enough for most users, quick and easy to adjust, and solid and sturdy as you move. Better yet, the rower comes with a one-year iFit family membership, so you can perfect your form at no extra cost.

Best Kettlebell: BalanceFrom Wide Grip 3-Piece Kettlebell Set

BalanceFrom Wide Grip 3-Piece Kettlebell Set

Kettlebells are another secret weapon for top core strength, as they require a significant amount of trunk stabilization and core muscle activation. From kettlebell swings to Turkish get-ups to Russian twists, there are countless effective ways to strengthen your abdominals, obliques, and back with this unique free weight.

We are partial to this trio from BalanceFrom because it covers a significant range of your weightlifting needs with a single purchase. The 10-, 15- and 20-pound kettlebells feature ergonomic handles with wide, comfortable grips that keep you safe as you sweat. And because they are cement-based and covered with durable vinyl, they are entirely rustproof and priced reasonably.

Best Stability Ball: TheraBand Exercise Ball

TheraBand Exercise Ball

Stability balls are used by physical therapists worldwide to help clients rehabilitate injuries, alleviate back pain, and more. They also happen to be excellent core trainers. Have you ever tried to do an ab pike with the tops of your feet on a stability ball? It lights your core on fire.

This ball from TheraBand is the definition of reliable. Made with high-performance and burst-resistant materials, the ball provides the perfect balance of comfort and support without limiting the work you want your body to do while using it. It also comes with two plugs in case you lose one, as well as an inflation adapter so you can keep the ideal amount of air in it at all times.

The ball comes in a variety of color-coded sizes based on the user’s height.

Best Medicine Ball: Amazon Basics Medicine Ball

Amazon Basics Medicine Ball

Ah, a core-toning classic. You really can’t go wrong in adding a medicine ball or two to your home gym collection, and simple solutions like this AmazonBasics option is really all you need to get the job done. Its sturdy rubber construction makes it easy to grip even when your hands are sweaty, and it protects it from excess wear and tear over time. It also gives it a good bounce when used on a hard floor surface, which can come in handy with certain core exercises like power slams.

Available in a range of weights, this medicine ball is ideal for developing core strength, promoting better balance, and improving overall coordination.

Best Balance Trainer: Bosu Balance Trainer

People abs on BOSU

Want to take your balance challenges to the next level? Invest in a classic Bosu trainer. This unique, semi-sphere training tool helps you learn how to stay strong even on unstable surfaces. Plus, when you flip it over, the sturdy base is equipped with handles so you can use it for core-busting moves like burpees and push-ups, too.

While several brands make similar balance trainers, Bosu is built to last and is far more durable than any other we have tried. The ball component is easy to inflate and adjust as you work, and the customer service is top-notch if you need any help. 

Best Ab Wheel: Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro

Ab Carver

For an extra intense core workout, consider the Ab Carver from Perfect Fitness. The wheel features built-in resistance via a kinetic carbon steel spring, which creates resistance as you roll out and assistance as you roll up to activate both your abdominals and arm muscles more efficiently. The ultra-wide design of the wheel itself provides an essential amount of stability for multidirectional exercises and helps you customize the intensity level of your workout.

The handles are both comfortable to grip and secure when in use, and they can be removed for easy device storage when you’re ready to call it quits. An excellent tool for beginners and experts alike, the Ab Carver comes with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Best Ab Roller: AbDolly Core Training System

AbDolly Core Training System

The Ab Dolly provides all of the benefits of an ab wheel and then some, thanks to its supreme versatility. When you’re tired of ab roll-outs, put your feet on the dolly and your hands on the floor and work your core from a standard plank position. The flexibility of this training tool enables you to work your full range of motion, better targeting harder-to-reach muscles within your core as well as larger muscle groups.

It’s also an excellent option for people of all fitness levels. As long as you can work on the floor, you’re good to go. The pad keeps your knees comfortable and the multiple hand grips on the dolly itself are long enough to suit any body size.

Best Pull-Up Bar: ProsourceFit Multi-Use Pull-Up Bar

ProsourceFit Multi-Use Pull-Up Bar

Most folks think chin-up bars are primarily upper body exercise tools. However, hanging exercises require a significant amount of core strength as you leverage your bodyweight beneath the bar. Not to mention, moves like knee tucks and toes-to-bar will build up your abdominals and obliques in no time.

We like this high-grade steel bar from ProsourceFit because it works for so many different body types. Twelve comfortable grips give you all the hand position options you need to feel secure in place, and the slip-in design fits in all standard doorways. It even includes foam covers for the outer handles to protect the frame of your door. This tool is challenging to use, but it certainly produces awesome results.

Best Heavy-Duty: Sportsroyals Power Tower

Sportsroyals Power Tower

If you prefer the ab machines found in a commercial gym setup, consider adding this multitasking core tower to your home collection. The multifunctional, adjustable tool supports a variety of core-strengthening exercises, such as knee raises, leg lifts, and more. It can support up to 400 pounds at any given time, and the heavy square steel frame is designed to last for the long haul.

It also has an ergonomic design, equipped with pads for elbow protection and slightly angled armrests to prevent your elbows from slipping off mid-exercise. You can also adjust the height of the pull-up bar by almost 24 inches, catering to the height, size, and fitness needs of every user.

Final Verdict

At the end of the day, it’s really tough to beat the TRX All-in-One Suspension Training System. You can mount it in virtually any doorway, and all you need is your bodyweight to begin training your way to a stronger, more stable core. But if we had to add a piece of floor equipment to the mix, we are partial to the Bosu Balance Trainer. From balance exercises to high-intensity interval training exercises to classic ab moves, this tool does it all. Not to mention, you can easily store it away when you’re done with your daily workout. 

What to Look for in Core Workout Equipment

Versatility

Choosing core workout equipment that you can use in multiple ways will help you make the most out of your training. You will more effectively target your entire core when you can perform a variety of movements and exercises. And some core workout equipment, such as medicine balls, suspension trainers, and pull-up bars, can help you work other muscle groups, too; that increases their versatility and value. 

Effectiveness

Avoid core workout equipment that falls short of its claims. Choose equipment that has an established track record and is widely found in gyms and used by personal trainers. Avoid gimmicky gadgets that are only useable for a single type of movement or that promise results without hard work. That's just not realistic.

Specific Needs

If you want your core training to address a specific need, such as rehab from an injury or building upon a weak core, choose core workout equipment that suits your goals. For example, balance discs are excellent for targeting core instability and balance issues in a gentle manner. Training-specific gear is also an option—such as for functional training, choose a piece of equipment you can use during your classes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is core strength important?

    Functional movements that your body makes all the time rely on a strong core—your core assists in bending, hinging, twisting, reaching, and throwing. A solid and stable core protects your spine, which can easily become injured because it is (necessarily!) very flexible.

  • How long does it take to strengthen your core?

    The length of time it takes to strengthen your core depends on your current fitness level and training regimen. You can expect strength gains every time you train your core, and every workout counts when done effectively, using progressive overload. If you are consistently training your core two to three days per week, you can expect to see significant strength gains in as little as four weeks.

  • How do you clean core workout equipment?

    How you will clean your core workout equipment depends on the type of gear you are using. Most workout equipment should be sprayed and wiped down with an anti-bacterial cleaner or wiped down with a damp cloth with vinegar. The frequency of cleaning will depend on whether the equipment is shared and how heavily it is used. In a shared space, wipe down equipment after each use.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a former personal trainer, seasoned health writer, and avid exerciser, Alena Hall understands how important it is to pick the right workout tools and accessories for you. She is always exploring the latest and greatest wellness tools, machines, and gadgets, but more importantly, Alena carefully considers the quality and various features that make these fitness products worthwhile investments. 

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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Clark DR, Lambert MI, Hunter AM. Contemporary perspectives of core stability training for dynamic athletic performance: A survey of athletes, coaches, sports science and sports medicine practitionersSports Med Open. 2018;4(1):32. doi:10.1186/s40798-018-0150-3

  3. National Strength and Conditioning Association. Determination of resistance training frequency. Updated May 2017.