Training your abs goes well beyond having a better looking midsection.
Whether your goals are weight-loss, strength, performance or endurance, strengthening and building a better core should be a priority of your exercise routine.
Before we get into why and how you should be training your core, let's quickly discuss what area of the body we are talking about.
At Dynamic, we focus our core training on the rectus abdominis (think 6-pack) and the lateral abs or obliques. These cover both the front and lateral aspects of your core.
We do very little direct low-back exercises as the majority of our members come to us with overused and stiff low backs.
In fact, most low-back pain is not actually due to a weak low-back, but weak abdominals.
This weakness in the abs causes your posture to change and your low-back to work double time to lift, rotate, and stabilize your spine, causing pain and stiffness.
Strengthening your core with the right exercises can also:
- Improve posture
- Protect your spine
- Decrease your risk of injury in and outside of the gym
- Increase hip and shoulder range-of-motion
- Improve total-body strength
- Improve performance with other strength and cardio exercise
- Increase endurance (better breathing and diaphragm function)
The key to strengthening your abs is using the right exercises.
We've got you covered there! 😀
One of the best ways to complete your ab exercises is in a circuit format.
A circuit is a series of exercises done in order for a certain amount of time or sets.
It allows you to be efficient with your time, get a great sweat on, and get those abs fired up!
Let's get into your ab circuit!
All you need is some space and a band.
Ab circuit format:
Set a timer for 12-15 minutes.
Complete each exercise in order for the prescribed number of reps.
- Straight Leg Sit-Up x10
- Heel-Ups x10
- Band Resisted Jackhammer x10
- Side Plank Row x5/side
- Inchworm x10
- Sit-Throughs x5/side
- Band Pallof Press x5/side
Complete as many rounds as possible in 12-15 minutes.
1| Straight Leg Sit-Up
- Start on back with legs straight, toes pointed up
- Initiate by using abs to pull upper body up
- Reach through ceiling and finish arms overhead
- Slowly lower yourself vertebrae by vertebrae
- Start on back with low back flat and arms by your side
- Raise legs up as high as possible, keeping legs straight and together
- Use abs to raise tail bone off the ground and reach heels towards the ceiling
- Slowly lower to starting position
3| Band Resisted Jackhammer
- Start on back with hands on band
- Press and keep low back into floor
- Keeping back flat, reach both legs out straight and band overhead
- Hold this position as you exhale long and slow
- Return to starting position and tighten abs
4| Side Plank Row
- Start on one side with your elbow directly under your shoulder
- Keep feet stacked with toes pulled up
- Lift hips until body is parallel with floor
- Keep as much distance from armpit to floor as possible
- Keep straight line from head to heels
- Keep glutes squeezed and abs braced
- Grab band with top hand and row in towards rib cage
- Do not let hips move throughout
- Start in push-up position with hands under shoulders
- Keeping legs and arms straight, walk hands in towards feet
- From there walk hands back out to push-up position
- Increase challenge by adding push-up
- Do not let hips sag down
- Start with hands directly under shoulders and knees bent under hips
- Lift your knees 2-3" off the floor
- Keeping only right hand down, swing right leg through
- Keep right leg straight and off the floor
- Return to bear crawl position and alternate sides
7| Band Pallof Press
- Start with band on one side, hands at chest
- Press cable or band out so arms go straight
- Keep knees slightly bent and abs braced
- Hold position for 2 second exhale and tighten abs
- Do not let body twist
- Return hands to chest