A functional core will help you move faster, lift heavier, avoid injury, and look slimmer. But if you really want to strengthen your core and tighten your waistline, it’s time to step away from those go-to repetitive ab exercises you’ve been doing for years.
Your core is more than your abs – it also includes your glutes and the muscles in your lower back and pelvis. This 15-minute, total-body workout, created by certified strength and conditioning specialist and exercise physiologist Dr Jonathan Mike, recruits your upper and lower body to teach those midsection muscles to work as a team, stabilising your spine and hips. The moves are certainly not easy, but they’re fresh and innovative. Best of all, there’s not a plank hold or crunch to be seen.
Your No-Crunch Abs Workout
Twice a week, follow this routine as a circuit: Starting with the first move, perform the prescribed number of reps, then continue to the next without resting. Repeat this pattern until you’ve done all the moves; rest for three minutes. Complete three total rounds.
Watch a WH staffer perform the moves…
1. ABS ROLL-OUT
Kneel on floor, knees shoulder-width apart and feet together, hands on a barbell or heavy medicine ball in front of you. Keeping your core engaged, slowly roll the bar or ball away from you as far as you can, lowering your torso toward floor. Reverse to return to start. Thot’s one rep; do six to eight.
2. SINGLE-ARM MEDICINE BALL PLANK
Grab a medicine ball and get into high plank, legs extended and hands under shoulders. Place your left hand on the ball. Keeping your core tight and hips as level as possible, raise your right hand to your left shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat on other side.
3. MINI-BAND COMBO HIP THRUST
Loop a resistance band just above both knees and hover your butt a few centimetres off the floor, upper back against a bench. Push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips in line with your shoulders. Return to start, raise your hips, then lift your right leg, knee bent 90 degrees, until your shin is parallel to floor. Lower, then repeat all steps on other side. Continue alternating for 20 reps.
4. SINGLE-ARM BAND SHOULDER PRESS
Stand with one end of a resistance band under your right foot and hold the other end with your right hand at shoulder height, elbow out to the side. Brace your core, then press the band directly overhead until your arm is fully extended. Pause, then slowly reverse back to start. That’s one rep. Do 12 to 15, then repeat on other side.