By: Robert Maalouf BS, CSCS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
It’s that time of year again, the sun is starting to come out, temperatures are rising and we are starting to see more skin on the streets. This is the point in time where we realize we are still not ready for summer and finally admit to ourselves that our new year’s resolution only lasted for about two weeks. I have been getting a lot of messages regarding abs training and what exercises to do to tighten and shape that core before beach season starts. I will say, you probably should have started on those abs a little earlier, but nevertheless, we can still makes some changes before beach season begins. The thing is, since we have a shot window of time, I will show you some more advanced/intense exercises to help you get some results in a shorter time. That being said, prepare to put some real effort into this killer abs workout.
The workout will consist of 3 movements, these movements will cover rotation, flexion of the upper body and flexion of the lower body, that will allows us to hit those abs from all angles. The first time you perform these exercises, please take the time to experiment with them to make sure you a performing them correctly and not just destroying your lower back, it’s not just about doing the movement, your goal is to feel the right places activating.
- Hand to toe
This has to be one of my favorite exercises for abs training, it simple to do yet very effective. To perform this exercise, begin by lying down on your back with your hands and feet stretched out. In one quick and powerful movement try to meet your left foot with your right hand as you fold your body into a V. Try to contract your abs at the top of the movement and then come back down to the start position in a controlled fashion. Repeat the movement alternating sides reaching 10 repetitions per side.
- Plank to Pike
This is where it starts to get a little challenging. This exercise will require some strength but it’s definitely worth it. There are several variations of this exercise but my favorite is performing them on the row machine. If you don’t have access to a rowing machine, you can perform the exercise by placing your feet on a Swiss ball, sliders, or a TRX. To begin the exercise, get into a push up/plank position with your feet on the seat of the rowing machine (or other apparatus) instead of on the ground. Then, bring your legs towards your upper body by driving your legs forward and your hips up into the air. Then return your feet back to starting position. To maximize activation in your abs, press down and towards your legs with your hands at all times, this will make sure you get the best of the exercise. The goal here is to get between 8-15 repetitions.
- Plank hand to toe
This movement is similar to the first exercise I suggested, but it’s a lot harder. Not only will this exercise get your entire core working, it will also get your heart up quite a bit. To perform this movement, start in a push up plank position. Then, rotate the hips and reach the left leg across to the right side and try to touch your left foot with your right hand. Come back to start position and repeat on the other side. If this is too challenging, you can always reach the knee to the elbow instead of the hand to toe. Make sure and use the hips to rotate to get the best out of this exercise. The goal here is to perform 10 reps on each side.
If we put it all together, this is what the workout will look like:
- Hand to toe – 10 reps each side alternating
- Plank to pike – 8-15 reps
- Plank hand to toe – 10 reps each side alternating
Repeat these exercises back to back till you finish the sequence. Rest 90 seconds to 2 minutes and repeat again at least 3 times. Try to perform this routine 2-3 times per week until beach season and you’ll be on your way to tighter and sexier abs!
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