Since your abs move in more ways than just planks and crunches, they need a variety of exercises to reach their full potential, and not to mention look good in a bikini. So if you want to up your abs game, do these five out-of-the-box exercises to fire up the muscle fibers you didn’t know you had. In a couple of weeks, meet six-pack.
The Workout: Complete one set of each of the five exercises below for the time or repetitions noted, in order, without resting between moves. After finishing all of the exercises, rest one minute and repeat for a total of three rounds.
1. Swiss Ball Plank With Feet On Bench
Place a Swiss ball next to an exercise bench. Place your forearms on the ball so that your elbows are directly under your shoulders. Step one foot back onto the bench and then the other. Your feet should be separated about four to six inches apart. Keep your feet flexed, and hold your body in a straight line for 30 seconds. Release down. That’s one set. When you return to this move in the next round, hold for 15 more seconds. During the third round, add another 15 seconds for a total of 60 seconds.
2. Hands Free Side Plank
Lie on your left side perpendicular to an exercise bench. Bring both feet together on top of the bench with your right foot on top of the left. Keep your feet flexed, and cross your arms in front of your chest (A). Brace your torso, squeeze your butt muscles, and push into your feet to raise your hips. Rise until you form a straight line from your left shoulder to your ankles (B). Hold it for 10 seconds, and release down. That’s one rep; do a total of five, then switch sides.
3. Front Plank With Pull-Down
Position yourself perpendicular to a cable machine with a handle. Get on your hands and knees, and place your elbows under your shoulders. Grab the handle in your right hand, and step back into a plank position. Keeping your elbow bent, allow the handle to move upward until your upper arm is parallel with the floor (A). Pull the handle down until your elbow touches the ground (B). That’s one rep; do 15 on each side.
4. Stability Ball Reverse Leg Lifts
Lie face-up so that the middle of your back is centered on a Swiss ball and your feet are on the floor with your knees bent. Reach overhead with both hands to hold your anchor (A). Contract your core muscles, and pull your legs upward until your feet are over your hips (B). Pause for two seconds, then slowly lower your legs back down until they’re a few inches off the ground (C). That’s one rep; do a total of 15.
5. Slide Out
Get on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders. Put a sliding disc under each hand (A). Bracing your core, slowly slide your hands forward with straight arms as far as you can (B). Use your core to pull your hands back to the starting position. That’s one rep; do 15.