Two Home Abs Workouts From Cover Model Alex Crockford

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Your abs get a decent workout every time you squat, lift or press a weight because their key roles include stabilising your torso and transferring power between your upper and lower body. But only ever doing indirect abs training via the big lifts won’t get you a sculpted six-pack. For that, you need to hit your abs directly.

“Fully engaging your abs when doing the workouts ahead is really important to getting the most benefit from the sessions,” says Men’s Fitness cover model Alex Crockford (Instagram: @AlexCrockford). “I think about ‘sucking in’ my abs before and during the set, and breathing out on the concentric contraction, which can also help with a mind to muscle connection.”

And where do most people go wrong in their pursuit of washboard abs? “They keep doing the same exercises, and this lack of variety and progression means they make no progress,” he says. “I also see a lot of people rushing through the exercises without effective technique. Focus on great form and really engaging the muscles, and you’ll get the results you want faster.”

To help change up your abs training, Crockford has devised these two hard-hitting abs workouts to help you sculpt a lean and defined six-pack.

Workout 1: This six-move six-pack circuit will hit your upper, lower and side abs to give solidity and definition to your entire midsection. Do this circuit twice a week after a main workout.

Workout 2: This core circuit will work your deep-lying stabilising muscles, which will improve how your abs look and perform, improving your posture and sports performance. Do this circuit once a week after a main workout.

Workout 1: Six-Move Six-Pack Circuit

1A Crunch

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 10sec

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, with your fingers by your temples. Engage your abs, then raise your torso off the floor without tensing your neck. Keep that tension on your abs as you slowly lower your torso back to the floor.

1B Bicycle

Reps 12 each side Rest 10sec

Lie flat on your back with your fingers by your temples and legs straight. Raise your torso off the floor, engage your abs, and lift your feet off the floor. Crunch up and rotate your torso to one side, bringing your opposite knee in to touch your elbow. Alternate sides with each rep.

1C V-sit

Reps 12 Rest 60sec

Lie flat with your arms by your sides and your legs straight with feet together. Keeping your hands on the floor, raise your legs as high as you can while you raise your torso towards your thighs. Slowly return to the start, keeping your entire core tight and engaged.

2A Mountain climber

Sets 3 Reps 20 Rest 10sec

Start in the press-up position. Without letting your hips sag, draw one knee up and bring it towards the elbow on the same side. Straighten that leg, then repeat, bringing your other knee towards your elbow. Keep the reps fast and controlled.

2B Diagonal mountain climber

Reps 20 Rest 10sec

Start in the press-up position. Without letting your hips sag, draw one knee up and bring it towards your opposite elbow. Straighten that leg, then repeat, bringing your other knee towards your elbow. Keep the reps fast and controlled.

2C Squat thrust

Reps 20 Rest 60sec

Start in the press-up position with your body straight from head to heels. Keeping your back straight and your abs engaged, draw your knees in towards your chest so that both feet land under your body. Jump your feet back out to straighten your legs.

Workout 2: Core Control Hard Abs Circuit

1A Plank saw

Sets 3 Time 30sec Rest 10sec

Get into position, supporting yourself on your forearms. Engage your abs, then raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Hold this position, then move your body forwards so your head goes past your hands, then pull back.

1B Rolling plank

Time 30sec Rest 10sec

Get into position, supporting yourself on your forearms. Engage your abs, then raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Hold this position, then roll one hip downwards, then rotate your hips up and over to the other side.

1C Plank shoulder tap

Time 30sec Rest 60sec

Start in the top press-up position but with your feet slighter wider apart. Keep your abs and glutes engaged to hold this position, then lift one hand off the floor and tap your opposite shoulder. Return it and repeat with your other hand, then keep repeating.

2A Plank toe tap

Sets 3 Time 30sec Rest 10sec

Get into the plank position and keep your abs and glutes engaged to hold this position. Lift one foot off the floor and move it to the side. Tap the floor with your toes, then return to the start. Repeat on the other side. Continue, alternating toe taps.

2B Plank jack

Time 30sec Rest 10sec

From the plank position, engage your abs. Without letting your hips sag, jump both feet out to the sides, then back in. Continue repeating this movement.

2C Side plank

Time 30sec Rest 60sec

Lie on one side, supporting your upper body on that forearm. Engage your abs, then raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line. From there, raise your top arm and hold this position. Swap sides halfway through.