Exercise of the Week: "Arkansas Abs" Circuit

October 19, 2011

Every Wednesday, STACK features an Exercise of the Week to help you improve your overall sports performance—including strength, speed, conditioning and flexibility. This week we highlight Arkansas Abs, a circuit designed to increase core strength through four different exercises.

Who’s Doing It

  • Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions DT

Muscular Benefits

  • Increases overall core strength, specifically in the abs, obliques and hip flexors

Sports Performance Benefits

  • Improving core strength helps you maintain balance and control when throwing, shooting, changing directions and executing many other sports skills
  • Improves the transfer of power between the lower and upper body so you can throw faster, hit further and tackle harder
  • By strengthening the core, you stabilize and protect the spine to prevent low back injuries

How to Perform Arkansas Abs Circuit

  • Straight-Leg Raise
    • Lie with back on ground
    • Hold med ball overhead with arms straight
    • Flex hips to raise legs until perpendicular to ground
    • Contract abs to lift hips off ground and pulse feet toward ceiling
    • Lower legs with control until six inches off ground
    • Repeat for specified reps
  • Toe Touches
    • Lie with back on ground, arms straight and legs perpendicular to ground
    • Contract abs to lift shoulders off ground; touch toes with hands
    • Lower with control
    • Repeat for specified reps
  • Impulse Crunches
    • Assume sit-up position holding med ball at chest; position partner at side near hips
    • Contract abs to lift shoulders off ground; pass med ball to partner
    • Lower with control
    • Repeat crunch; receive med ball from partner
    • Repeat pattern for specified reps
  • Twist and Touch
    • Sit on ground with knees bent and heels off floor
    • Hold med ball at chest
    • Rotate left until ball touches ground outside hip; quickly release and bounce med ball on ground
    • Rotate right until med ball touches ground outside hip; quickly release and bounce med ball on ground
    • Repeat pattern for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 2-3x12-18 each exercise

Coaching Points

  • Circuit exercises with minimal rest
  • Use 10- to 25-pound med ball
  • Straight-Leg Raise
    • Keep core tight and stomach pulled in
    • Keep legs straight and toes pulled up
  • Toe Touches
    • Keep legs straight and touch ball to toes each rep
  • Impulse Crunches
    • Raise shoulder blades off floor with each rep
    • Hand ball to partner or receive it on every rep
  • Twist and Touch
    • Keep knees together and toes pulled up
    • Touch ball to ground and quickly release it on each side
    • Keep pelvis straight and core tight

Do you have an exercise that you want to see featured as an Exercise of the Week? Tweet us at @STACKMedia to let us know.

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Must See
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,506
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 5,895,916
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 84,573

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 3,167
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 1: Introducing the Players Views: 19,245
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Intro to Complexes Views: 61,461
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,488
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,633
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,559,605
How Greg Nixon Converts Strength to Speed
Views: 960,874
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,329,250

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

Build Athletic Strength with the Playground Sandbag Workout

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

Train Like a Pro: Baseball Strength Workout Program

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level