Time: 15-25 minutes
I’m going to let you in on a secret: The ab-crunch weight machine at the gym is probably the most useless piece of equipment on the floor. If you want rock-hard, steely, washboard abs, then free weights and bodyweight exercises are the way to go.
Basic Free Weight Exercises for your Core:
- Weighted hanging leg raise: With your legs hanging from the captains chair, grip a weight (dumbbells work best) between your feet, and raise your feet out in front of you so that your body makes an “L” shape, then lower them back down. Do 10 reps to complete a set.
- Plank hip raises: Lay in the side-plank position, then use your abdominal muscles to raise and lower your hips about three inches, keeping your body off the ground the entire time. Do 12-15 reps on each side. Then, in side-plank position again, cross your upper leg over your lower, and repeat the hip-raising motion 12-15 times. Switch sides and repeat to complete a set.
- Deadlift: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and legs slightly bent. Holding a barbell against your thighs with both hands, bend your knees and lean your torso forward until the barbell touches the ground, then straighten back up. It is important to keep your back straight, and head up, throughout the duration of this exercise. Do 6-8 reps to complete a set.