Ready to take your core training to the next level? If basic moves like planks and crunches don’t challenge you anymore, it’s time to add a killer abs workout to your routine.
Not only will a solid core make riding a lot easier—it provides the stability your other muscles need to throw down watts—but it’ll also make doing those total-body exercises a lot easier.
That’s why Kara Miklaus, NASM-certified trainer and co-owner of Training Studio in Irvine, California, created this intense abs workout that targets your obliques, lower back, and rectus abdominus.
How to do it: Perform each exercise in the video below for 40 seconds with a 20-second rest in between each. Perform 3 rounds of this circuit for an 18-minute burner. Each exercise is demonstrated by certified personal trainer so you can learn perfect form.
Not quite there yet? Each move also includes a modified version of each exercise to do until you’re comfortable with and strong enough to do the advanced exercises with perfect form.
Hanging Knee Tuck
Start by hanging from a bar with legs fully extended. Draw knees toward chest then slowly lower legs back down to starting position, while bracing core the entire time. Repeat.
Make it easier: Modify to a Bench Knee Tuck. Sit on a bench with hands flat on the bench at your sides and legs fully extended. Lean back about 45 degrees and draw knees in toward chest. Then extend legs back out to starting position. Brace core the entire time.
Banded Squat With Rotation
Tie a resistance band around the bottom of a rig or pole and grab the end closest to you with both hands, facing the rig or pole. Send hips back to squat down, and as you come up, rotate your body toward the left while pivoting your right foot inward and keeping arms extended straight out. Repeat the squat then rotate your body to the right and return to center. Continue to alternate.
Make it easier: Modify to a Squat With Rotation. Perform the above move without a resistance band.
Suspension Trainer Swimmer
Hold the two handles of a suspension trainer (that’s just about level with your knees) with each hand and walk out into an elevated high plank position. At the same time, move your right arm forward and your left arm backward. Then move your right arm backward and your left arm forward. Continue to alternate.
Make it easier: Modify to a Plank Walkout. Start in a high plank position and walk each hand out in front of you one at a time little by little until you can’t go any further. Then walk your hands back toward you one at a time little by little.
Medicine Ball Get-Up
Lie faceup on the floor holding a medicine ball above your chest, feet flat and knees bent at about 90-degree angles. Engage core, then peel head, neck, and shoulders up to perform a sit up. Keep propelling yourself forward until you come to a standing position while lifting the med ball overhead. Reverse the movement to return to starting position.
Make it easier: Modify to a Med Ball Sit-Up. Lie faceup on the floor holding a medicine ball above your chest, feet flat and legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Perform a regular sit-up while keeping hold of the med ball and lifting it overhead. Lower back down and repeat.
Medicine Ball Russian Twist Slam
Sit with a med ball held at your chest, engage core to lift feet off floor and balance on sit bones. Keeping your back straight and chest elevated, extend ball about six inches from your chest. Twist to the right side and bounce the ball next to your right hip. Use the momentum of the ball to catch and easily transition the force as you rotate your torso to the left. Slam the ball to the left side, and repeat the motion. Continue to alternate.
Make it easier: Modify to a Dumbbell Russian Twist. Holding a dumbbell at your belly button, sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet off the floor. Lean back so that your torso and upper body are at a 45-degree angle. With elbows bent and hands grasping each side of the dumbbell, rotate your torso from one side to the other.
Start in a high plank. Engage your core and walk your hands out in front of you (alternating between right and left hand) as far as you can go without your torso touching the ground. Pause, then walk back in to return to starting position. Repeat.
Make it easier: Modify to a plank reach. Start in a high plank. Extend one arm out in front of you, bringing biceps to your ear, reaching fingers for the wall in front of you. Return to starting position, and continue alternating arms.