Hey, Craig Ballantyne here with an incredible six exercise ab and core training circuit for you.
But none of these exercises are boring crunches or sit-ups. Those will wreck your back and your neck.
So instead you are going to use these exercises:
Within these 6 exercises, I’ve included 3 that are essential to helping you build strong abdominal and lower back muscles.
We’ll call these 3 the not-fun ones and the other 3 the fun ones. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you do the not-fun exercises.
They are going to help the most with strengthening your overall core which will reduce the risk of any spine and low back injuries that can really set you back from achieving a sculpted stomach.
1. Standing TRX Fallouts (Fun) – The Fallout is a great exercise for your abs because you’re getting both good eccentric loading (as you stretch out) and concentric loading (as you contract in) on your abdominal muscles. This is great for strengthening your abs and will help you get that six-pack.
Another variation you can try with the TRX is triceps extensions. By positioning your elbows out further, you engage the core and your abs more. Note: If you don’t have a TRX you can substitute Fallouts for a stability ball jack-knife.
2. Side Plank (not-fun but essential) – Research shows that if you can hold a side plank for 60 seconds on each side, you’ll have a dramatically reduced risk of injury. The side plank is going to be working you abdominals, low back and really focusing on your oblique muscles. For a more advanced variation of the side plank, you can do a side plank with a leg raise.
Tip: If you notice that one side is weaker than the other, start with this side first whenever you begin. Also make sure you are holding your side plank for the same amount of time on each side.
3. Spiderman Climb Exercises (Fun)
a) Spiderman climb push-ups – This will be harder on your abs compared to the regular spiderman push-ups. The main difference is that you will be touching your foot down on the ground.
b) Spiderman Push-up – This will be harder on your upper body since your foot is not touching the ground.
c) Spiderman Climb (beginner) – If a) and b) are too hard for you, start with just a spiderman climb, then build up strength and move onto the other two variations.
4. Regular Plank (not-fun but essential) – Research shows that if you can hold a regular plank for 2 minutes straight, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk of low back and core injuries. Variations you can try with the regular plank are see-saw planks or rocking planks.
5. Ab Rollouts (Fun) – Similar to the TRX Fallouts in that we’re focusing on getting a good stretch of the abdominals, but this exercise will be a little harder. Note: if you don’t have an ab wheel you can use a stability ball.
6. Bird-dog (not-fun but essential)– Bird-dog is the last exercise you have to make sure you include in your circuit. This exercise will work your abs and hit the small muscles surrounding your lumbar spine (low back). This is key for preventing injuries.
Do these 6 exercises in a circuit with no rest in-between each exercise, then take a 30 second rest before going back through the circuit 2 more times, for a total of 3 rounds.
If you can do this circuit 2 times per week, you’ll improve the strength in your abs, low back and overall core health.
Last but not least, this is a more advanced circuit so if you find that you can’t hold a regular plank for more than 30 seconds; you want to focus on just doing the side plank, plank and bird-dog.
I asked all of the trainers on my Facebook page to share their favorite six exercise circuit.
Here are the best ones:
- Med ball smashes, burpees, squat thrusters, high knees, plank, Spider-Man push-ups – Hunter
- Pool flutter kicks, tornado plank, frog kicks, reverse crunch, russian twist, medicine ball toss situps – Stephanie
- bird dog, side plank, ball rollout, plank, glute bridge, mountain climbers – George
- Spiderman climb, cross over mtn climbers, plank, side plank, abd wheel roll out and trx thruster – Maria
- Turkish get ups, front plank, side planks, renegade db rows, 1 arm db flat bench chest press, cable woodchops – Josie
- Mountain climbers, V-ups, weighted Russian twists, Valslide pikes, plank walks, side planks with knee tucks – Kathleen
- high plank, dynamic side plank L, body saw, superman, dynamic side plank R, burpee- Stephanie
- Deadlifts, burpees, plank (1-leg), renegade rows, hanging knee raise, stability ball ab pike – Liz
- All done at 20-20-20 GO-HOLD-GO – TRX Atomic push ups -Hold knees at chest, TRX spideys hold left knee at shoulder, Rpt hold right knee up at shoulder, Resistance band “burley twist” hold in middle L and R, Finish with Cobra Pose for 20 sec rest 20 then Full Locust hold for 20, Rest 20 seconds between exercises – Carl
- You NEED to try the TRX Rip trainer! – Corinne
- My favourites are supine rocking (with half roll if possible) , rotational rocking, bear crawls, mountain climbers, goblet squats. – Lee
People who get results in the gym have a written plan/a structured program designed by a professional telling them how many sets and reps
to use for each exercise, how long to rest, and every single minute in the gym is planned for. The same goes for nutrition. Every meal, every calorie, is accounted for in advance. Nothing is left to chance.
Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer