Having a strong and stable core helps with any sport. Your midsection generates tremendous power as you lift, pull, push and twist so you can perform your very best. But you can’t get a bulletproof core with a few planks or crunches, you need to use specific core exercises that challenge your midsection like crazy from every angle.
Your abs, obliques and transverse abdominis are built for stability and bracing — they help your body withstand twisting and bending to keep your midsection safe. But old-school exercises like situps and crunches don’t create stability or bracing. Worse, all that twisting and bending puts stress on your joints, especially as you yank your neck forward into a bad position.
With the following ab exercises, you use proper posture throughout. That way, you not only strengthen the correct muscles, but you also train yourself to maintain a safe posture even when you’re fatigued late in a workout.
READ MORE > THE 14-DAY PLANK PLAN
This workout helps sculpt ripped abs and, over time, you’ll also build stability, increase strength and improve endurance.
Do this core workout at the end of a normal strength workout, 2 times per week so you can give your midsection enough rest between sessions.
Notice there’s a variety of equipment — from kettlebells to landmines to cables — and you’re exercising in various positions — prone, standing, kneeling and twisting. That way, you can put your core through the gauntlet of physical demands and train yourself to withstand and overcome them.
ABS WHEEL ROLLOUT
Sets: 3; Reps: 10; Rest: 30 seconds
On both knees, grab an ab-wheel and push forward. Descend as low as you can, then pull yourself back up.Keep your arms straight and your hips extended the entire time.
Sets: 3; Reps: 10 alternating sides; Rest: 30 seconds
Place one end of a barbell in a landmine. Stand facing the landmine, grab the other end with your arms extended starting with the barbell end at about eye-level. Twist the barbell to one side without turning your hips or shoulders and keep your arms as straight as possible. Alternate sides. To make it harder, add weight by sliding small plates on the end.
If you don’t have a landmine, just place a folded-up towel in the corner of a wall and wedge one end of a barbell there.
Sets: 2; Reps: 10; Rest: 30 seconds
Get into a plank position on a stability ball. While keeping your torso still, move your forearms up and down. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and don’t let your lower back sag.
Sets: 2; Reps: 8 per side; Rest: 30 seconds
Set the cable machine to chest-height. While standing in a split-stance, turn your shoulders and hips at the same time keeping your arms straight throughout. Make sure to keep the cable handle in front of your chest while turning.
Avoid keeping your feet stationary, which puts a dangerous amount of torque on your lower back. Instead, spin your feet and twist your hips so your lower spine doesn’t have to move.
SINGLE-ARM FARMERS CARRY
Sets: 2; Reps: 20 yards each arm; Rest: 30 seconds
Grab a heavy dumbbell in one hand, keep your chest up and shoulder blades squeezed and walk.
HALF-KNEELING KETTLEBELL HALOS
Sets: 2; Reps: 3 clockwise and 3 counterclockwise on each knee; Rest: 30 seconds
Get on one knee (keep your feet in line) and hold one kettlebell in both hands with the large part over your hands. Keep your lower back neutral and make big circles around your head with the kettlebell. Do all your reps one way and then switch directions. Next, switch legs.