Sports That Build a Strong Core

If you want to build great six-pack abs without doing traditional ab exercises, you could choose a sport that engages the core to naturally build a strong, sexy midsection.

Sports that require a coordinated movement of the upper body and lower body or torso rotation naturally engage the core muscles to stabilize the torso, which is essential for generating power and force in the extremities. For a strong, powerful core, simply choose sports that naturally engage both the upper and lower body in powerful, repetitive movements.

In addition, many of these sports also provide a cardio workout that will help burn the excess fat that can hide your six-pack. Having a lean body is part of the equation of having great abs to display.



Blaine Wilson on the rings
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The rings just may be the ultimate ab exercise, and the Iron Cross certainly shows them off. But all gymnastic moves and all gymnasts have amazing core strength. Moves such as a handstand and a flip require a strong and integrated core. Put them together in a floor routine and you've got a challenging core workout.



Woman playing Volleyball in Manhattan Beach
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Spiking, digging, and blocking a volleyball in mid-flight works the core and abs in a variety of dynamic moves. When you see a player awaiting the serve, they are ready for explosive moves that require deep core stabilizing muscles. You can certainly see the results as beach volleyball players show their amazing abs.



man kayaking
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The abdominal rotation and powerful paddle motion ​builds abs and core strength as well as back, chest, and shoulders. The obliques especially come into play. It's also great cardio exercise to burn fat and expose those abs.


Skate Skiing

A young woman skate skis near Moraine Lake, Banff National Park.
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Cross country skate skiing not only builds incredible cardiovascular endurance while burning hundreds of calories an hour, but you'll get a challenging core and upper body workout at the same time. Burning fat is a key part of showing those abs later in the hot tub at the ski resort. The drawback is that you'll need another sport in the off-season to keep those abs developed.



Man balancing on hands on yoga mat
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Static poses and lots of Sun Salutations (think of the plank exercise and numerous push-ups) will give you a solid foundation of core strength and great balance. You'll also develop relaxed, deep, and rhythmic breathing. Yoga culture also promotes healthy eating, which can help you lose unwanted body fat so your new abs stand out.



A sprinting event during the 2012 London Olympics.
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Sprinting requires powerful, pumping of the arms and legs in a coordinated, rhythmic motion. Over time, sprint practice will lead to a strong, powerful core. Short sprints are a part of some of the other sports that build your abs, such as volleyball and soccer.



David Beckham
FC Dallas v Los Angeles Galaxy/Getty Images

David Beckham's six-pack gives you an idea of just how good soccer is as an ab workout. Kicking and heading a soccer ball requires a coordinated and powerful contraction of the upper and lower body. The constant running and sprinting provide the cardio workout that can burn stored fat it isn't covering your abs.



man swimming
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Just imagine trying to swim without contracting your abs. It might look a lot like a toddler trying to swim with arms and legs flaying about slapping the water. It takes a strong torso to swim effectively. Swimming is also a vigorous cardio exercise that can help melt away excess fat so your abs will show.

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