Build Strong, Athletic Abs With This Workout

January 14, 2013 | Z Altug

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In order to perform a variety of athletic tasks, athletes need strong core muscles for spinal stability and postural alignment. You can't swing a tennis racket, golf club or baseball bat, or even throw a ball, without engaging a portion of your core. Since the core muscles function differently than your arm and leg muscles, they must be trained in a different manner for the exercises to be effective. (See also Core Training 101.)

Perform the following dynamic abdominal exercises to improve your athletic performance.

Recliner

Sets/Reps: 3x10-15

  • Sit on large stability ball
  • Slowly walk your feet out and let your hips and lower back roll off the ball until your back, hips, and thighs are in tabletop position
  • Return to sitting position

To make the exercise more difficult, keep your feet in a narrow position and/or allow both arms to stretch overhead as you assume the tabletop position.

Jackknife

Sets/Reps: 3x10-15

  • Assume push-up position with hands on ground and knees on stability ball
  • Slowly tighten your abdominals and bring your hips toward the ceiling to roll the ball from your knees toward your feet until your body is in a jackknife position

To make the exercise more difficult, keep your hands in a narrow position.

Walkouts

Sets/Reps: 3x10-15

  • Assume push-up position with hands on ground and knees on stability ball
  • Slowly walk your hands away from the ball, allowing the ball to roll from your knees toward your feet

To make this dynamic plank exercise more difficult, keep your hands in a narrow position.

Leg Rollers

Sets/Reps: 3x10-15

  • Lie with your back on the floor and both heels resting on the ball
  • Raise your hips into bridge position and maintain this position as you perform slow leg curls by bending and straightening your knees

To make this dynamic bridging exercise more difficult, perform with only one leg at a time.

Dynamic Planks

Sets/Reps: 3x5-10

  • Start in side plank position with one hand and one leg in contact with the ground
  • Slowly rotate toward the floor to assume push-up position
  • Slowly rotate into side plank on other side

Slo-Mo Run

Sets/Reps: Repeat 10 times, then perform on opposite side.

  • Start in standing position with right foot on the ground, left arm by hips, left knee up at lower abdominal level, right arm bent and hand at chin level
  • From the side, you should look like you are in a running position
  • Keeping core tight, slowly move right arm and left foot down like you are running in slow motion
  • Return to start position and repeat

To make the exercise more difficult, stand on a foam balance mat to further challenge your coordination.

Topics: ABS
Z Altug
- Z Altug, PT, MS, CSCS, NSCA-PT, is a licensed physical therapist and athletic performance specialist out of Los Angeles. He co-authored the 2012 Healthy Lifestyle...
Z Altug
- Z Altug, PT, MS, CSCS, NSCA-PT, is a licensed physical therapist and athletic performance specialist out of Los Angeles. He co-authored the 2012 Healthy Lifestyle...
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