Think of the workout that follows as your favorite artist’s greatest hits album. The artists, in this case, are Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., fitness director for Men’s Health, and Sean Garner, creator of the 6-Week Sweat Off program, while the album is a routine that combines their favorite ab exercises and takes only eight minutes to perform.
The “hits” they’ve chosen focus on making your core stabilize your spine—its primary function. If you can keep your back stiff and straight while you move your arms and legs around, you can be certain that your abs and lower back muscles are kicking in hard. So while it may look like you’re working your delts, triceps, or legs, you’re really rocking your midsection. Leave the hundred-rep sets of crunches and situps to those who don’t know better, and put this playlist on repeat.
Want more workouts like this from Garner and a program to follow for a healthier body? Check out the 6-Week Sweat Off, available on the All Out Studio streaming service alongside other stellar workout programs from Men’s Health.
Directions: Do this workout twice a week; you can add it to a routine that’s already in your program, or do it on its own. Perform the exercises in circuit fashion, completing reps of each move in turn for 30 seconds and resting 30 seconds between exercises. That’s one round. Repeat for 2 total rounds.
Front Rack Carry March
Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold the weights at shoulder level with palms facing each other. Pull your ribs down and tuck your pelvis under slightly so that it’s parallel to the floor—you should feel your core engage. Pull your shoulders back and down so that you feel your lats turn on.
Slowly begin marching in place for 30 seconds, lifting one leg at a time until your knee is just above your hips. Avoid swaying side to side, and stay tall. Every muscle in your body should stay braced. As you raise one leg, squeeze the glutes on the opposite leg to help maintain your stability.
Hollow Body Rock
Lie on your back on the floor, and bend your hips and knees 90 degrees, so that your shins are parallel to the floor. Press your lower back flat into the floor and brace your core. Extend your legs without letting your lower back lose contact with the floor. Now extend your arms overhead, raising your shoulder blades off the floor. From there, extend your left arm out 90 degrees from your side, palm facing the ceiling.
Begin rocking your body back and forth for 30 seconds, making sure to keep your ribs pulled down and your core braced. In the second round of the circuit, perform the rock with your right arm out to the side.
Tall Kneeling To Overhead
Kneel on the floor with legs hip-width apart (a tall-kneeling position). Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and press the right-hand one overhead. Allow the left-hand weight to hang at your side.
Keeping your shoulders back, ribs down, and core braced, step forward with the right leg and place it on the floor, so you end up in a half-kneeling position (the bottom of a lunge). From there, bring your left leg forward to stand up tall.
Reverse the movement by stepping back with the left leg into the half-kneeling position, then back with the right leg to the tall-kneeling position. Now switch the dumbbell positions. Repeat for 30 seconds, performing each rep slowly and with full control.
Lie on your back on the floor with a dumbbell in your right hand. Hold the weight at arm’s length over your chest and bend your right knee so that your foot is close to your butt. Extend your left leg out straight and your left arm at about 45 degrees, resting on the floor.
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Raise your torso off the floor, twisting to the left so your hand can support you, and extend your left arm. Draw your ribs down, engage your core, and drive your heels into the floor to raise your hips to full extension. Your body should form a straight line. Lower your hips back down and repeat for 30 seconds. In the second round of the circuit, perform the getup with your left arm raised and left leg bent.
Get more guidance and workouts like this one when you check out the 6-Week Sweat Off program, available on the All Out Studio streaming service, alongside other stellar workout programs from Men’s Health.
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