A Strong Summer Body

by Kari Pearce

Here are five of my absolute favorite Ab movements that will work your entire midsection. These movements come from my gymnastics, personal training and CrossFit experiences, as an athlete and Founder of PowerAbs.

If you want to get more definition in your midsection and stronger abs, give these a try. They are equipment-free–all you need is your body and the floor to go for it! 

Hollow Body Hold

This is the single most important foundation movement to get stronger abs and wake up that core. If you want results, this will do it!

Including this movement will make sure you get the most out of every abs workout. Hollow body holds will work your six-pack ab muscles and deep stability core muscles (which are important for your posture).

This may look simple, but believe me - if you are doing this correctly, it is much harder than it looks! 

1. Start on the floor, lying flat on your back.

2. Extend your arms over your head.

3. Straighten your legs out.

4. Eyes up towards the ceiling.

5. Lift your shoulders and legs up, keeping your back firmly pressed to the floor. There should be no space between your lower back and the ground!

6. Keep your core tight in the Hollow Body position.

7. To modify this position if you can’t keep your back pressed flat against the ground, bring your knees into a bent position. You can also move your arms from being over your head to down by your sides. 

As you become more comfortable in that starting position, slowly work on extending your arms and legs to the original Hollow Body position.

Go for 4 sets of 30 seconds.

Crossbody V-Ups

Crossbody V-Ups will work those six-pack ab muscles, your obliques (the muscles on the sides of your core), your hip flexors and quads. Within a few reps, you will feel those abs on fire! This is a movement we did A LOT in gymnastics to build bulletproof abs. 

1. Start on the floor, lying flat on your back.

2. Extend your arms over your head.

3. Straighten your legs out.

4. Eyes up towards the ceiling.

5. Lift your shoulders and legs up, keeping your back firmly pressed to the floor. There should be no space between your lower back and the ground!

6. Keeping your legs straight, lift your right leg to bring your toes up, while at the same time lifting your upper body and slightly twisting it so your left hand touches your toes. 

7. Your head stays straight with your chin tucked in.

8. After your toes and fingers touch at the top, return back to the starting position and repeat the movement. 

9. This time you will lift your left leg and reach your right hand to touch your toes.

10. Once again return to the starting position and continue to repeat for the designated number of reps. 

To modify for Level One, keep your feet on the ground, this will help your stability. You can also bend your knees and then work up to straightening your legs as you get stronger. 

Go for 3 sets of 20 reps (10 on each side).

Spiderman Push-Ups

Push-ups are not only a movement for your arms. Spiderman Push-Ups will work those six-pack ab muscles along with your obliques, hip flexors, quads, shoulders, chest and triceps. You get a complete workout with this one movement.

I love this movement because it challenges your core as you lift one leg and bring it up during the push-up, causing you to balance on the other. This is one you will definitely feel!

1. Start on the floor, on your hands and toes and your head neutral.

2. You should be in a nice straight line from your shoulders to your core, to your heels.

3. Be aware of your hips. Do not raise them up or dip them down. You want to stay in a straight line.

4. Abs engaged (pulled in) and bottom squeezed tight for support.

5. Slowly lower yourself down by bending your arms and keeping them close to your sides. This will help you to use your shoulders, chest, and triceps. 

6. As you lower yourself, bring your left knee into your left elbow. Keep going down until your chest touches the floor. Right when your chest touches the floor is when your knee should meet your elbow. 

The goal is to get full range of motion. If you can’t do that at the beginning, it is something to work towards!

7. After you reach the full range of motion, press yourself back up and return your left foot back into the starting position. 

8. Return to the starting position and begin to lower yourself again, bringing your right knee into your right elbow.

f you need to modify Spiderman Push-Ups, then you can do Push Up + Knee To Elbow! You will still get all of the same benefits.

How To Do Push Up + Knee To Elbow:

1. Start on the floor, on your hands and toes. Hands relaxed. Head neutral.

2. You should be in a nice straight line from your shoulders, to your core, to your heels.

3. Be aware of your hips. Do not raise them up or dip them down. Stay in a straight line.

4. Abs engaged and bottom squeezed tight for support.

5. Keep your arms close to your sides. This will help you to use your shoulders, chest, and triceps.

6. Slowly lower yourself down until your chest touches the floor. You want a full range of motion.

7. Return to the starting position in a controlled movement.

Once back at the top, bring your right knee into your right elbow. Return to the Push Up position.

8. Bring your left knee into your left elbow. Return to the Push Up position.

Go for 4 sets of 12 reps (6 on each side).

Plank Walkout

Everyone knows what a plank is, but have you done a plank walkout before? Planks are one of the most common ab movements out there. Everyone loves them because they work your six-pack abs, deep stabilizing core muscles, shoulders, and triceps. 

Did you know you can take your plank even farther for greater results? I like plank walkouts because they are more exciting than just holding the position. Plus they work your core, shoulders, glutes, lower back, and legs! You can scale this movement to any level but doing it from your feet and touching your nose to the floor is only possible by those with a super strong core! I dare you to try it if you want a challenge!

1. Start on the floor, on your hands and toes and your head neutral.

2. You should be in a nice straight line from your shoulders, to your core, to your heels.

3. Be aware of your hips. Do not raise them up or dip them down. Stay in a straight line.

4. Abs engaged and bottom squeezed tight for support.

5. Slowly walk your hands out in front of you.

5. Continue to walk them out as far as you can while maintaining a tight core. This means your hips are not sagging. 

6. Once you have walked your hands out, slowly walk them back into your starting position.

The stronger you are, the farther out you will be able to walk your hands.

The goal is to be able to touch your nose to the floor, however, keep in mind this is very tough to do. Only go as far as you feel comfortable. As you gain strength, you will notice yourself getting your hands farther and farther out until you can go all of the way!

Go for 4 sets of 6 reps. 

Squat Thrust + Plank Jack

Every good ab workout includes a full body movement that will help you torch calories while you get stronger. Squat Thrust + Plank Jacks are included in this list because they are my favorite full body exercise . They work basically your whole body including those abs. They will get your heart rate up and help you burn calories and fat to get those abs to show! Plus, I think they are a lot of fun to do! The muscles worked include your 6 pack abs, core stability muscles, hip flexors, shoulders, triceps, quads, and glutes. I told you it worked a lot of muscles!

1. Start standing tall with your feet together. 

2.Bend your knees, reach down to the ground and get your hands as close to your feet as you drop down. 

3. Jump your feet behind you so that you are in a high plank position with your core nice and tight.

4. While maintaining a tight core, jump your feet apart and then back together. 

5. Then jump your feet back in towards your hands.

6. Then lift your hands off the ground, stand up tall and jump into the air. 

7. That is one rep. Repeat for the designated number of reps. 

Go for 4 sets of 15 reps. 

The next time you want to get those abs on fire and want to get a great workout in, give these movements a try! They will challenge your abs in a way that you have never felt before no matter what level you are at. 

I would recommend doing them in the order they are written for the designated number of reps to get maximum results. 

If you do them back to back, it shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes (or I would suggest capping it there to keep the intensity up and really push yourself). Rest as needed but get it done as quickly as possible with perfect form. 

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