You might think you’ve done every core routine in the book, but there are more than likely a few variations you’ve yet to try. Guys will never stop chasing that elusive goal of 8-pack abs—so trainers won’t ever stop innovating new ways for you to get there.
Men’s Health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is one of those trainers. He has an inexhaustible number of core-blasting exercises in his repertoire, some of which he shares in the Men’s Health New Rules of Muscle program. You’ll get workouts filled with new variations on old standards, which will help you to build even more muscle.
Check out the video above for the ab circuit that Samuel uses in the program to shock your system for more muscle growth. Then, read his descriptions of each exercise for tips on how to do them yourself.
Eb’s Brutal Ab Circuit
Perform all 3 exercises consecutively with no rest. Do 3 rounds to finish the circuit.
Uneven Weighted Hollow Rock
Eb says: We’re taking the anti-extension challenges of the hollow rock and blending that with an anti-rotation challenge, too. The weight in that arm out to your side is going to try to throw you off-balance as you rock.
The only way to offset that: You need to control your hollow rock that much more by tightening your abdominals. This one’s harder than it looks. Use a light weight; a pair of 5 pound dumbbells will smoke you both for this exercise and throughout this circuit.
Weighted Hollow Rocks
Eb says: These are easier than the uneven weighted hollow rocks—except you’ve already got some abdominal fatigue from that uneven work. Muscle through these and focus on maintaining your form.
Also, make sure to really extend those dumbbells behind you. The farther behind your head your arms are, the longer the lever that will challenge your abs. Don’t cheat yourself by letting your arms get perpendicular to the ground. Battle through these.
Hollow Body Russian Twist
Eb says: We’ve trained anti-rotation and anti-extension from the hollow body position. We finish with what you could consider this an upgrade to the normal Russian twist; standard Russian twists let you get sloppy with how aggressively you rotate your torso, substituting speed for form.
Here, you’ll extend the dumbbell as far out away from your body as you can, then pause and hold for 1 second. You’re forcing your obliques to get a ton of work here, and challenging your core to have stability in an awkward position. Then, after holding that position, your abs and obliques have to fire up to get your torso to change directions and twist all the way to the other side.
Side note: That position when the dumbbell is farthest away from your body? That’s an athletic upper body position, one very similar to the position that, say, Aaron Judge is in right before he fires up his core muscles to swing through a fastball and drive it into the upper deck.
If you want to slow down and focus on the basics, check out this video guide for another core-building move, the plank:
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