Get Ready for Summer With This Total-Body, Ab Blasting Workout05/14/2021
If you’re trying to take your ab workout to the next level, you’re going to need some weights.
Just like the other muscles in your body, your abs will respond best to a strength training program that uses the principle of progressive overload, which states that your muscles grow when they adapt to handle increasingly challenging stimuli. Too many ab routines only ask you to use a yoga mat and bodyweight while sticking with the same rep ranges—so this workout uses dumbbells to add a load to challenge those muscles.
Whats more, you’ll have better aesthetic and real-world strength-building results if you spread your attentions beyond just your six-pack muscles (the rectus abdominis). Your core is much more than just those abs, so using exercises that get more of your muscles involved will only help, whether you’re training to get ready for the summer season or if you just want to move and feel better. Best of all, this ab workout is really a total-body routine that’s designed to hammer your core, so your back, shoulders, and arms are also in the mix.
Directions: Do this workout 3 to 5 times a week. (You can never train your core too much!) On days you don’t do this workout, aim to take a 20-minute run or walk.
Walkout to Downward Dog
Start standing. Hinge forward, place your hands on the floor, and walk them out until you’re in pushup position. Tighten your abs and glutes. Pause. Keeping your arms and legs straight and your abs tight, raise your hips toward the ceiling, bringing your elbows near your ears. Reverse the movements. That’s 1 rep. Do reps for 40 seconds, then rest 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. You’ll wake up your hamstrings and lats and also teach your core to brace in all situations.
1. Three-Step Getup
Start the workout by building ab and glute strength. Lie on your back, a dumbbell in your left hand directly over your shoulder, your left knee bent. Put your right hand on the floor, tighten your abs, and raise your torso, keeping the weight overhead. Tighten your abs and raise your torso some more.Extend your right arm. Squeeze your glutes, driving your hips up.Lower. That’s 1 rep; do 3 sets of 8 per side.
2. Bear Plank Paused Row
Continue hammering your abs while building midback strength, too. Start in a bear plank, wrists below shoulders, knees off the floor, core and glutes tight, your right hand gripping a kettlebell or dumbbell. Keeping your hips and shoulders square to the floor, row the weight to your rib cage. Pause for1 second, then lower it. That’s 1 rep; do 3 sets of 6 to 8 per side.
3. V-Sit Halo
Now train your ab muscles to keep your rib cage from flaring in all situations. Sit on the floor, legs together, a dumbbell or kettlebell held at your chest. Tighten your abs, lifting your legs an inch off the floor, and lean your torso back slightly. This is the start. Keeping your abs tight and working not to rock, circle the weight around your head. Do 2 reps clockwise, then 2 reps counterclockwise. Repeat this pattern for 40 seconds, then rest 20 seconds. Do 3 sets.
4. Offset-Load Hip Bridge March
Build the real-world core strength needed to stabilize your hips when you run and walk. Lie with your shoulder blades on a bench or ottoman, a dumbbell held in your right hand. Reach the dumbbell overhead as far as you can without arching your back. This is the start. Keeping your hips and shoulders square to the ceiling, march your feet high. Repeat this pattern for 40 seconds, then rest 20 seconds. Do 2 sets per arm.
5. Copenhagen Plank Pressout
Teach your abs, glutes, and obliques to brace together (and train your running stride as well). Start in a side plank, left foot on a bench or ottoman, right leg held out in front of you, knee bent. Hold a light weight in your lefthand, with your wrist close to your body. Keeping your hips and shoulders stacked, press the weight forward. Hold for 2 seconds. Pull it back to your body. That’s 1 rep; do 3 sets of 8 per side.
A version of this story originally appears in the May 2021 issue of Men’s Health, with the title “The Total-Body Ab Blaster”.
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