Wednesday Workout: 5-Pack for That 6-Pack

Last week we started looking at our core, testing out whether we had a weakness and how we could strengthen our midsection. This week we’ll offer a 5-pack of exercises to help you build that 6-pack you’ve always wanted.

First off, let’s make it clear: ab workouts alone won’t get you there. You need a proper, BALANCED diet to pair with your BALANCED workout regimen. You can’t be eating your weight in oreos (trust me, I’d look like The Rock if you could).

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Before we get to ’em, let’s remember that our core is made up of our abdominals and obliques, as well as your lower back muscles. If your lower back is weak, not only will it restrict the capability of your ab workouts but it won’t be able to hold your gut from sagging over your belt line. On another note, a fun little factoid: you can’t actually ‘isolate’ your upper or lower abs. Technically your rectus abdominus is one single muscle, so while you can ‘focus’ on upper or lower, the entire muscle is engaged to some degree during exercise.

1. Spiderman Plank

Are you surprised? You already know of our love for Spidey. And planks. Combine the two and you get an all-around attack on your core, hitting all three major muscle groups. Once in plank position, alternate bringing a knee to your elbow on each side.

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2. Bicycle Crunch

One of the more well-known ab exercises, but doesn’t mean it’s not effective! Combining the bicycle leg motion with the crunch by alternatively bringing your elbows to the opposite knee cranks your obliques and upper and lower abs all at once. Reverse the bicycle to shock your system midway. One left plus one right equals one rep.
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3. Clothespin

A more advanced move, and a sibling to the Fold-up, the Clothespin keeps your abs and obliques burning for the duration of the exercise. Sit straight legged on the floor with your arms out in front of you. Lean back and come to a balance on your tailbone. Focus on keeping your legs straight as you raise them up and bring your hands to your ankles. Slowly return to the starting position (not all the way back to the floor), and repeat.

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4. Leg into Hip Raise

Maximize the impact on your lower abs by adding a hip raise to the top of your leg raise. Lying flat on your back and keeping legs straight with toes pointed, slowly raise your legs up until vertical. Top it off by raising your hips off the ground, driving your legs up into the air. Return you hips to the floor, slowly lower your legs to six inches off the ground, and repeat.

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5. Mason Twists

Hammer it home with some mason twists to chisel out those obliques. Sitting on the floor, engage your abs by leaning back and lifting your feet off the floor, coming to a balance on your tailbone. Preferably with a medicine ball or other weight in hand, twist side to side, tapping the weight on the floor on each side. One rep is a tap on both sides.

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So test out this ab circuit and let us know what you think!

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What’s your favorite ab exercise?

Wednesday Workout: Is There A Core Issue?

We all want those chiseled, washboard abs. Heck, as we get ready for beach season, we want that entire chiseled/jacked/ripped/enter-your-own-term-here body. Something like this, mayhaps?

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That means we’ll be hitting the gym as much as possible, throwing around some big-looking weights, and calling it a workout. We’ll probably toss in some sit-ups or crunches at the end to address those abs we talked about. Other than the fact that you should re-think sit-ups/crunches (see the end of last week’s post here), you likely aren’t giving your core the respect it deserves. In fact, your core may actually be a weakness. Not a good look bro (literally and figuratively).

How do you know if your core is a weakness? Luckily, there are many tests that can help us find out. Check out this video, courtesy of Menshealth.com, of the trunk stability pushup and give it a try to see where you stand.

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Ok, so your struggling. You’ve taken a hit to your ego and your confidence isn’t exactly at an all-time high. Your core is a weakness. Not ideal, but we can work with this. Use it as added motivation to get you where you want to be. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t accept its existence.

So how can you work on shoring up your core problems? There are hundreds of variations of ab exercises that hit all different angles of our midsection. The key here, though, is to make sure we are attacking our entire core, from our abs to our obliques to our lower andop0 mid back, to build a stronger, balanced core. A great way to do this is with some weights and a little floor space to perform “farmer’s carries”. Check out these 31 variations from MensHealth for the lowdown.

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With a little added attention, we can quickly get our core up to par and get back on track for that six pack that seems to always be stuck at three. Next Wednesday, we’ll build on this topic and create a circuit that can help us finally get those ripped up abs we’ve been yearning for.

Stay tuned!

No Time to Workout? Weak Excuse.

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Source: rippednfit.com

Oh, “The Gym”. We know where it is. We know how to get there. We know we should go. We even want to go. If only we had the time.

Life as a YoPro bro isn’t always conducive to making that trek. However, don’t let it deter you from getting that burn! Regardless of how busy your schedule may be, you can do some serious damage to that body-by-Duff of yours in just 15-20 minutes.

You can always do your standard pushups and sit ups to get the blood flowing, but who are we kidding? Do you ever feel satisfied? Instead, we’ve provided some combo exercises that will target multiple muscle groups at once to maximize that precious time.

Spiderman pushups

Have you met Peter Parker? The moment he got his Spidey-senses our boy got ripped. We’ve uncovered his secret. This remix of the classic pushup will not only amplify the hit to your chest, arms, and deltoids, but also add a crunch to your core which is already engaged and asking for more!

How’s it done? Drop into standard pushup position. When you lower your chest to the ground, pick up your right foot and bring your knee to your right elbow. Return to starting position as you push back up and repeat on the left. Each pushup is one rep. And remember: it’s not about the number of reps! The slower you do it and the more you hold at each position, the greater the effect from each rep.

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Source: menshealth.com

Body-Weight Jump Squats

Bros, don’t ignore your lower body! In all the hoopla to get buff up above, many forget about those chicken legs down below. For one, you’ll look plain silly. But did you know that working out your lower body, especially with squats, releases natural growth hormones that are instrumental in the development and building of lean muscle mass, increases your metabolism, and burns more calories than working out other muscles?

Add some body-weight jump squats to get a more balanced workout. Start off standing with your feet shoulder width apart, your back straight, and your hands behind your head. Keeping your upper body steady, drop your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pushing off the balls of your feet, jump as high as you can and reach for the sky. On landing, immediately drop into the next rep.

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Source: list25.com

One-legged Planks

By this point, many of us have heard about the issues that can be caused by standard crunches and sit ups if not done properly (and they usually aren’t): neck pain, poor posture, spinal strain, etc. If you hadn’t…well now you have. Fortunately, there are no shortage of killer ab and core exercises out there. Out favorite? The plank. It’s an all-inclusive soiree for your core, engaging your abs, obliques, glutes, and lower back.

For a standard plank, get into pushup position except on your elbows instead of your hands. Keep your forearms flat on the ground, while keeping your back straight. Flex your abs, squeeze your glutes and hold for 60 seconds. Spice it up by lifting one foot at a time and holding for 10 seconds. Put down, switch feet, and repeat until you hit 60.

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Source: racinginpaintedtoenails.blogspot.com
 

So your excuse is that your too busy? Not buying it. Create a quick circuit with the exercises above. Mix in some of your own favorites. All you need is 15-20 minutes! Now excuse me, I couldn’t make it to the gym today…

             Sample Circuit (no breaks between each exercise, 1 min break between sets) 

                          25 Spiderman pushups
                          25 body-weight jump squats
                          60 second one-legged planks
                          (repeat 3x)

Got your own favorite exercises when time and equipment are limited? Help a YoPro Bro out and share the wealth!