This ‘perfect’ abs workout trains all 4 functions of core training

If your abs workout starts and ends on your back on a yoga mat in a corner of the gym, you’re not doing enough. And even if you flip a plank or two, your efforts will still fail.

The main problem with this kind of routine, according to: Men’s health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS, is that even if you pile up the reps, you’re not challenging your abs enough. You’re probably only doing one or two types of moves if you stay in one place — and your core has multiple functions that you’ll want to use during your workouts. You have to challenge your body in different ways if you want real results.

Improve your core routine by following Samuel’s lead and choosing exercises that use every function of the muscle group. These four core functions are:




●Spinal Flexion

The perfect abs workout for all core functions

Reinforcement: Hollow Hold / Hollow Rock

3 sets of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off

You exercise to strengthen your core when you make planks, but planks can get old quickly. Turn around and give the cavity a try. In addition to giving yourself a new challenge, hollow grips make it easier to level up by holding weight in your hands or adding a rock.

Anti-rotation: Hold weighted plank row

3 sets of 30 seconds per side

Again, you’re taking the basic plank to the next level. This time add a weight and fight gravity (use your core) to avoid falling out of position (twisting).

Rotation: Hanging Typewriter

3 sets of 6 to 8 reps

“When we think about rotation, the main thing I want to think about is your hips going one way, or no way at all, and [the] shoulders go the other way,” says Samuel. The hanging typewriter uses a challenging position in a hanging hollow, then adds rotation as you raise your legs over your body.

Spinal Flexion: Getting Up in Three Steps

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

This is probably the move you’re thinking about when it comes to abs, since situps and related exercises are all about flexion. You’re elevating the basics (and adding a load) with this step-up move that also engages other muscle groups.

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