Okay people, no funny anecdote this time, we're going to the mattresses with this one. It's simple: all the guys want the shredded six-pack and all the girls want the lean, toned, slender abdominal physique of any Hollywood A-lister. And we all want the core of a giant redwood. So here's an everyday core routine you can do to help get that stomach you want. (Note: you will still need to put additional core work in, and remember, your diet plays a HUGE part in the appearance of muscle definition, so don't cut those corners.)
Overview Instructions: Do these exercises one set after the other in a "circuit" with 15 to 25 repetitions (unless otherwise noted) per set. Maintain little to no rest in between each set, but rest for 90 seconds to 3 minutes at the end of each circuit. Perform 2 to 3 additional circuits. Maximize your workout: remember to engage your core by pretending you're about to get punched in the gut.
The Tour De France
Lay on your back, hands behind your head, palms flat on the floor, preferably on top of a yoga or gym mat. Raise your hips and legs toward your head and pedal the bike as you visualize winning the race. Make sure you try to touch your elbows to the opposite knee.
Begin in a pushup position. Keeping your arms extended and your back straight, alternate between bringing each knee into your chest. Remember, keep your back straight! If you don't have the strength or endurance, you can lessen the strain by inclining your body at 45 degrees by putting your hands on a bench and performing the motion.
Walk the Plank
Begin in the pushup position. Lower yourself one arm at a time so you are resting on your forearms, palms flat to the ground. While engaging your core muscles (like you're taking a punch) lift your body off the floor and maintain the straight back position for at least 30 seconds...try to build up to a minute...and then longer.
Walk the Plank, Too
Begin in the pushup position. Lower yourself one arm at a time so you're resting on your forearms, palms flat to the ground. Engaging your core muscles (like you're taking a punch) lift your body off the floor and maintain the straight-back position for at least 30 seconds...try to build up to a minute...and then longer.
Lay on your back with your knees bent and your hips pressed up to the ceiling, palms at shoulder level and pressing the floor. You should be level from shoulders to knees, your body straight like an arrow. Engage those core muscles and alternate raising your knees to your chest. If this is too difficult, hold the bridge position for periods of time, working your way up to a minute or more.
V it Up
Lay flat on your back, legs six inches off the floor, arms extended above your head. Engaging your core muscles, raise your arms and legs simultaneously, forming a "V" shape. You should feel as if you're grabbing for the ceiling while trying to throw your legs over your shoulders.
Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement
and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports
Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as
well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University
of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous collegiate and amateur
athletes across many different fields. Ryan also has had the opportunity
to work with several professional athletes. Recently he has worked with
amateur and professional athletes within the emerging sport of Mixed
Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can contact Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.