Convert your bow-shaped belly keg into an arrowproof six-pack with a gauntlet of grueling UFC-worthy moves.
Another day, another half-assed sit-up session at the gym to wrap up your quarter-assed workout. Why can’t everyone be born with an impossibly ripped, waxed, CGI-enhanced six-pack? Since this is real life and not 300, we sought the ab-building advice of Kevin Kearns, strength and conditioning coach for UFC warrior-scholar Kenny Florian and creator of burnwithkearns.com. “These nine exercises represent the three basic abdominal movements—forward, lateral, rotational—you need for any sport,” Kearns says. “When you’re done, you’ll feel like your abs were ripped out of your gut.” The three main muscle groups he targets here are the rectus abdominus, or bumpy surface muscles that make up your visible abs; the transverse abdominus, or thin muscle band around your midsection; and the obliques, or side stomach muscles beneath your inner-tube-like love handles. “Bodybuilders alternate between major muscle groups like chest and back every other day,” says Kearns, “but the point of ‘functional strength training’ is to work every muscle functionally every day, including your abs.” That means you can add these moves to any workout for a core that drops ladies jaws...and you know what else.
Rectus Abdominus: Stability Ball Roll-up
Place your elbows on a stability ball and roll forward till they extend just beyond your chin, then stop and go in reverse. Try: 3 sets of 8
Take it up a notch by coming up off your knees and balancing on your toes, rolling back and forth from a “plank” position. Try: 3 sets of 10
For the extreme version, extend your arms until you’re in a push-up position over the ball. Just ignore that tearing sound. Try: 3 sets of 12
Transverse Abdominus: Medicine Ball Kayak
Grab a six-pound medicine ball and sit with your back angled 45 degrees. Now twist your torso, swinging the ball from side to side as if you were rowing some perverse kayak. Try: 3 sets of 20
Raise the difficulty level not by upping the weight but by lifting your feet several inches off the floor. The workout will be significantly harder as you struggle to balance. Try: 3 sets of 20
Ready to burn? Start in the intermediate position, but as you sweep the ball from side to side, angle your quivering knees as far as you can in the opposite direction. Try: 3 sets of 20
Obliques: Sideways Plank
Lie on your side, supporting weight with your elbow. Lift hips to straighten your spine and hold (side plank position). Seeing spots? You’re doing it right. Try: 3 30-second holds per side
When you can hold the side plank position with ease, man up by lowering your hip to an inch off the floor, then raising it back up. Repeat until you feel like puking. Try: 3 sets of 10 per side
Wanna get nuts? From the plank position, raise your top leg as high as you can, then bring it down and lower your hip to an inch off the floor. Scream, “Boosh!” Try: 3 sets of 5–10 per side