Exercise of the Week: "Arkansas Abs" Circuit

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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.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock