We’ve all heard it a thousand times- abs are made in the kitchen. It’s true; however, abdominal definition is greatly enhanced by quality core work. That said, if you’re anything like me, you can easily get in a rut with your ab training and find yourself just performing a few sets of crunches and leg raises to “check abs off the list.” But, when the work doesn’t result in an ounce of soreness or at least provide a good burn, it’s time to switch something up.
My latest discovery for ab training is the TRX. My gym installed a TRX suspension system a few months back, and I admit that I initially rolled my eyes at this contraption. Suspended straps for bodyweight exercises just didn’t seem like a good use of space given that there was always a 10-minute wait for a Smith machine. However, after a friend showed me a few exercises that had my abs crazy sore, I stopped hating on the TRX and created a hardcore circuit.
If your gym has a TRX, give this workout a try. It’ll give your midsection a shock and be a nice change of pace from your usual routine.
If your gym does not have a TRX or if you just refuse to use one, I’ve provided some TRX-inspired exercises that’ll get your gut out of the rut.
Rest 60 seconds between sets.
Using TRX System – 4 sets, circuit-style
Standing rollout/extended plank, 15 reps
Plank, 60-second hold
Reverse crunch (from plank position), 15 reps
Mountain climbers, 25 reps, each leg
Assisted reverse crunch, 15 reps
NO TRX System – 4 sets, circuit-style
Stability ball kneeling rollout, 15 reps
Stability ball plank (back feet on ball), 60-second hold
Stability ball reverse crunch (from plank position), 15 reps
Sliding mountain climbers, 25 reps, each leg
Weighted reverse crunch, 15 reps
TRX STANDING ROLLOUT/EXTENDED PLANKS
Position straps to waist level, and grab the handles. Slowly lean forward from a standing position while raising your arms above your head (think superman)- your arms and back should be in one line. Hold position for a second, contract the abs and return to starting position.
ALTERNATIVE STABILITY BALL KNEELING ROLLOUT
Kneel on ground and place forearms on stability ball. Roll ball forward as far as you can while keeping abs tight and not hyperextending your lower back. Return to starting position.
TRX REVERSE CRUNCH (From Plank Position)
Begin in plank position (both feet in foot cradles and hands on floor). Bring knees into chest then return to starting position.
ALTERNATIVE STABILITY BALL REVERSE CRUNCH (From Plank Position)
With feet on stability ball rather than in the TRX foot cradles, perform the same motion as the TRX Reverse Crunch.
TRX MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
Begin in plank position. Initiate movement by lifting tailbone up slightly and bring right knee as close to chest as possible. Return to start position and repeat with left leg. Move at a controlled pace.
ALTERNATIVE SLIDING MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
Get on hands and knees on wood floors (or another slick surface). Place the toes of each foot on small hand towels (one towel for each foot). Press into plank position and perform the same motion as the TRX Mountain Climber.
TRX ASSISTED REVERSE CRUNCH
This exercise is performed like a typical reverse crunch except that your hands are in the TRX handles. The key to getting a good burn from this crunch is to perform it in a very slow and controlled manner- three seconds ascending and three seconds descending.
ALTERNATIVE WEIGHTED REVERSE CRUNCH
Lie on your back with your legs together and raised with your knees bent at about a 90-degree angle. Hold a 10-15 lb dumbbell vertically between your knees. Perform a reverse crunch. The range of motion for this exercise will be shorter than that of the TRX Assisted Reverse Crunch.
Push Towards Your Best
It’s easy to get comfortable in our training and life routines. However, if we want to grow and evolve, we can’t stagnate in sameness for too long. So, let’s commit to progress. Every day, let’s find a new way to push past our comfort zones, ditch some part of our regular routines and invite a new challenge. Bold choices lead to big results.
Let’s make it happen- Be YOUR BEST!