This No-Crunch Core Workout Will Upgrade Your Abs To High Definition

David Morton
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Esquire

Isometric training is the space-efficient route to visible six-pack abs. No jumping around, no advanced gymnastics and no risk of banging around so much that your neighbours complain.

By forcing your midsection to remain tight in a static position, you’ll work every inch of your core. A lot of us struggle to feel our abs working during certain moves, but isometrics ensure the correct muscles fire on all cylinders, so you won’t overcompensate with others.

In this home abs workout, there are three supersets. In each, move straight from the first move to the second and then take the prescribed rest. Do each superset three times before moving onto the next pair of movements.

You might not be doing anything dynamic, but the demands on your balance and core will have you shaking hard. That wobble simply means your abs and midsection are working overtime. If you feel yourself losing form, squeezing your feet together to tense your glutes is always a good way to push through to the end of each movement.

SUPERSET 1 x 3 SETS

Rest 30sec between sets

1A) The Bird Dog: 5 reps per side

On all fours, with your knees below your hips and your shoulders in line with your wrists (A), maintain a flat back as you extend your left arm out in front, while simultaneously lifting your right leg backward (B). You’ll strengthen your abs and posterior chain for double the six-pack hit. Hold for one second, then return to the start. Now repeat on the other side. That's one rep. Once you're done, move straight onto the L-sits. No resting yet.

1B) Parallette L-Sit: 20-second hold

Don’t be fooled by how simple this move looks: holding this position will hit your six-pack – or future six-pack – hard. With an overhand grip on some parallettes (or two kitchen chairs with your palms flat) (A), keep your legs tightly together as you lift them off the floor (B). Hold for 20 seconds, keep breathing, then rest for 30 seconds before going back into the bird dogs.

SUPERSET 2 x 3 SETS

Rest 60sec between sets

2A) Half-Plank Hip Raise: 20-second hold

Set up on your side with one forearm resting on the floor at a 90-degree angle and your legs bent, so your weight is on your lower knee (A). With your free hand holding your hip, lift your top leg into the air, keeping the knee bent, and hold the position (B). After 20 seconds, your obliques will be begging for a break – so swap sides. Then move straight onto the walkouts.

2B) Walkout: 5 reps with 5-second hold

From a standing position, with your feet shoulder-width apart, hinge at your hips to drop your hands to the floor (A). From here, walk your hands out in front of you. When you can’t extend your arms any further, brace your abs tight and hold this position for five seconds (B). Slowly walk your hands back to your feet and return to standing. Repeat for five reps, then take a 60-second breather before starting again with the hip raises.

SUPERSET 3 x 3 SETS

Rest 30sec between sets

3A) Hollow Rock: 30 seconds work

Gymnasts use hollow holds to help build a rock solid core. Lying on your back, extend your arms overhead and your legs straight out. Lift your shoulders and legs slightly off the floor, forming a dish shape with your body. Rock forward, lifting your shoulders higher (A), then backward, bringing your legs up (B). Repeat for time, then move into the Pallof press. Your abs will be stronger for it.

3B) Banded Pallof Press: 12 reps per side with 2-second hold

Secure a resistance band at chest height and stand side-on. Take a large step away, holding the band to your chest (A). Press your arms straight in front of your body to feel the tension in your obliques (B). Hold the position for two second, then slowly return the band to your chest. The key is to resist the twisting movement in your core. After 12 reps, switch sides. After those reps, rest 30 seconds then go back to the hollow rocks.

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