Muscle & Fitness

3 Underrated Exercises for Abs

Curated By Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

You’ve done situps and planks before. But if you truly want a strong, durable core (that also looks great for the summer), it may be time to rethink your approach. Often, the best exercises for challenging your abs don’t even look like ab exercises at all.

The smartest core exercises challenge multiple core responsibilities. In addition to bracing (as your abs do during planks) and flexing your spine (as they do during situps), your abs let you rotate your shoulders from side-to-side, fight rotation (anti-rotation), and fight the urge to arch your back (anti-extension). These three exercises challenge those functions. Add them to your routines once a week and watch your core grow stronger.


half kneeling halo

Few exercises stealthily test your abs more than the halo. At first glance, it seems simple: You rotate a weight around our head. But the actual goal of the halo is more subtle. Can you complete that rotation without letting your ribcage flare? To do that, you’ll need to flex your abs extra hard as your dumbbell moves, testing anti-rotation and anti-extension. Do 2 sets of 12 rep from each stance.



Think of this as a plank on steroids. Traditional planks challenge you only to brace your abs, but by simply adding a weight held at your hip (in the top of a row), you ratchet up the anti-rotational intensity. That means your oblique and rectus abdominis (those six-pack muscles) kick into high gear. A bonus: Your lats, which play an underrated role in core stability, will power up too. Do 3 30-second sets per side.



Marching with a load held at your chest may seem simple. But especially if you make that load heavy, you’ll push your core in several ways. Paramount among them: With each step, your abs must work overtime to keep you balanced. You’ll also fire up your hip flexors and glutes, quietly building athleticism, too. Take these on for 30 seconds at a time; aim for 3 sets.


Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. He’s logged training time with NFL athletes and track athletes.

His current training regimen includes weight training, HIIT conditioning, and yoga.

Ebenezer has had multiple prestigious positions including serving as a sports and tech columnist for the New York Daily News.

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