Muscle & Fitness


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


One of the biggest mistakes I made early in my strength training career was this: I only did situps and crunches to build up my abs. And why not, right? They’re the first two moves most people think of when it comes to core training, so they may seem like the best route to a six- pack.

Truth be told, while situps and crunches are fine, they simply don’t help you build the rock-solid core you need – or craft that six-pack. That’s because your core muscles have multiple functions. They’re capable of twisting your torso (rotation) and they can also help you resist all rotation (anti-rotation). They can tighten and protect your spine in all directions (bracing). And yes, they can help you lean forward and complete a situp, an act called spinal flexion.

A good, well-rounded abs workout covers all these bases – and in doing so, it’ll push you to the washboard abs you want by training your core from all angles. It’ll also bulletproof your entire upper body against injury, in part because it replicates how you use your core in real life, whether that’s twisting to reach into the back seat of your car or fighting rotation when you get bumped on the basketball court, or bracing to pick up a heavy box.

So how do you design a well-rounded core workout? By insuring that every ab session trains all your core’s functions, which is exactly what you’ll do in this four-move workout. Do these ab exercises daily, and use a moderate weight for each exercise.

1. Rotation: Half-kneeling Windmill

10 reps per side, 2 sets.

You’ll hone your rotation and open your hips with this move. Knee on your left knee, holding a Nüobell dumbbell in your right hand overhead.

Push your butt back slightly and tighten your shoulder blades, then reach your left hand down to touch the ground. Pause, then explode back upwards.

Now lower the dumbbell on the left and do a complete curl rep while maintaining the squeeze on the right arm. Repeat on the other side.

2. Anti-rotation: Plank Row

10 reps per side, 2 sets.

This classic exercise challenges you to keep your hips and shoulders square while fighting rotation. Start in a high plank position, feet wide, hands on dumbbells.

Tighten your abs and glutes, then row the right dumbbell up toward your right ribcage. Don’t let your right hip rise as you do this. Pause, then lower.

3. Bracing: Hollow Hold Dumbbell Reach

10 reps per side, 2 sets.

Lie on your back, a light dumbbell held at your chest. Tighten your abs, pushing your lower back into the ground. Then lift your shoulder blades two inches off the ground.

Lift your legs two inches off the ground. Reach your arms overhead, without letting your lower back come off the ground. Hold 2 seconds, then shift back over your chest.

4. Weighted Situp and Reach

10 reps per side, 2 sets.

Get in situp position, heels near your butt, a dumbbell in your right hand, directly above your shoulder.

Situp, reaching the dumbbell to the ceiling as you do. Lower down with control.

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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