We asked trainer Eric Daye to reveal his favorite moves for sculpting a killer midsection. Here, he shares six challenging exercises that are guaranteed to rock your abs from every angle and give you a strong, firm core.
How to do this workout:
Perform the exercises in each group in succession. So you’ll do one set of each movement, with minimal to no rest in-between, and repeat until you’ve completed all the given sets in the group. Then, move on to the next group of exercises. Rest for 60-90 seconds following each group of exercises.
AB BLAST #1:
WORKS: Entire core
SET UP: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, bend forward from the hips, keeping your legs straight (but not locked), and place your hands on the floor in front of you.
ACTION: With your back flat and abs tight, slowly walk your hands forward, away from your feet until you reach a pushup position. Then, walk your feet forward towards your hands returning to the start position.
DO THIS: Complete eight reps for the first set, then decrease by one rep each set until you’ve completed a total of eight sets.
DAYE’S TIP: “Keep your head aligned with your spine and abs tight throughout the movement. Do not allow your lower back to sag.”
SPRINTER SITUP (not shown)
WORKS: Transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, obliques, hip
SET UP: Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and arms at your sides, elbows bent at 90 degrees.
EXECUTE: Explode up into a situp position, driving your right knee toward your chest while simultaneously bringing your left elbow toward your knee. Your right arm should swing backward. Lower back to start and immediately explode back up repeating the movement with your left knee. That’s one rep.
DO THIS: Complete eight reps for the first set, then decrease by one rep each set until you’ve complete a total of eight sets.
DAYE’S TIP: “Do allow your shoulders or feet to touch the ground at the bottom. Maintain constant tension on your abs throughout the entire movement.”
AB BLAST #2:
SIDE-PLANK LEG LIFT
WORKS: Transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, obliques, hip flexors and adductors, glutes
SET UP: Lie on your right side with your legs straight, and stack your left leg on top of your right. Place your right hand on the floor directly under your shoulder, and fully extend your arm.
ACTION: Raise your hip off the floor by contracting your abs so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulder to your ankle. Lift your left leg up just past your hip, holding for a count before lowering back to start. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.
DO THIS: Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps each side.
DAYE’S TIP: “If you’re a beginner, you can modify this exercise by balancing on your forearm and knees, instead of your hands and feet.”
HOLLOW BODY HOLD
WORKS: Entire core
SET UP: Lie faceup on the floor with your legs extended and arms straight above the top of your head, elbows tucked in.
ACTION: In one movement, contract your abs and simultaneously raise your shoulders and legs 8-12 inches off the ground. Hold for 20 seconds, then lower back to the starting position.
DO THIS: Complete 2-3 sets of 3-6 reps, holding each rep for 20 seconds.
DAYE’S TIP: “Be sure to keep your arms straight, toes pointed, and lower back pressed into the floor.”
AB BLAST #3:
STABILITY BALL KNEE TUCKS
WORKS: Transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, hip flexors
SET UP: Get into a pushup position, hands shoulder-width apart on floor, legs extended behind you with your right foot on the ball.
ACTION: Keeping your head and spine aligned, contract your abs and bend your knees, using your foot to pull the ball toward your chest. Pause for a moment then reverse the motion, slowly extending your legs back to start.
DO THIS: Complete 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each side.
DAYE’S TIP: “To help develop proper wrist strength for this movement, and to keep the pressure off the joint, spread your fingers as wide apart as possible. You should feel a bit of a stretch in the middle of your hand.”
BIRD DOG (not shown)
WORKS: Latissimus dorsi, erector spinea, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, glutes
SET UP: Begin on all fours, hands positioned shoulder-width apart, directly under your shoulders.
ACTION: Keeping your back straight, abs tight, and head neutral, raise your right arm and your left leg so they are parallel to the floor. Hold for a count, then slowly lower back to start and repeat with opposite arm and leg.
DO THIS: Complete 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps each side, holding each rep for 30 seconds. Alternate back and forth until you’ve completed all the reps and sets.
DAYE’S TIP: “Keep your foot neutral and knee pointing to the floor, and ensure both extended arm and leg form a straight line.”