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If you do the same old ab circuit to finish up every single day at the gym, your core workout could be way better. Instead of just crunching up through endless sets of situps and holding planks for longer than you should, challenge yourself to this deceptively difficult game for ab gains.
Men’s Health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., uses the routine to mix up his own ab routine. “This core workout looks super-easy, but it’s not,” says Samuel. “It’s a blending of the hollow body position and the Pallof press.”
The series doesn’t force you to work your midsection mindlessly, valuing volume above all else. You’ll work smart, but don’t worry — you’ll work hard, too. “It’ll challenge the symmetry of your core strength, and if you have a flawed hollow body position, it’ll expose that pretty quickly too,” Samuel says.
To take on the challenge, you’ll need a resistance band. If you don’t have any on hand, you can use a cable machine instead — but Samuel advises that the tension the bands provide is “ideal.” Check out this band set from WODFitters to get the right stretch.
Attach your band to a rack or some other platform at about 2 feet high, or however high you need it to be able to hold the band with tension from a hollow body position. Take your spot on the ground next to the rack, grip the band in both hands, and get ready to begin.
- Start with a hollow body position, then raise the band directly over your chest.
- Hold 10 seconds.
- Perform 10 flutter kicks.
- Shift your arms (and the band) all the way back behind your head.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- Perform 10 flutter kicks from the position.
- Hinge at the knees and set your feet.
- Do 10 sit-ups, raising your arms (and the band) above your head at every rep, keeping the band centered over your chest as you perform the motion.
Your abs should take a beating, but the band movements make you work your upper body, too. “This is also a great test of pure shoulder extension here,” says Samuel. The hollow body means you can’t cheat with thoracic extension.”
Once you finish the series on one side, flip around and hold the band with the other side of your body facing the anchor. Perform 4 sets per side for a killer ab challenge.