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Some of these "sore abs" exercises are advanced, but others can be modified for all fitness levels. You might even be surprised at some of the exercises I'm about to share with you…
So here we go, 5 exercises that have given me sore abs in the last 3 weeks…
#1 – Stability Ball Plank
A plank on the ball is 30 percent harder than a regular plank, but last Friday I used it in a weird way that left my abs sore all weekend.
I did a "3 minute stability ball plank challenge". I set a timer for 3 minutes and got in position. As soon as I started feeling fatigue, I stopped, rested for 15 seconds, and then got back in position.
I alternated between the Ball Plank and short rests for a full 3 minutes…and tallied up the amount of time I spent in the Ball Plank – and next week I'll try to beat that time. That challenge is a great way to make the exercise harder and for the time to fly by.
#2 – Stability Ball Rollout
This is one of my 3 favorite ab exercises, and to make it harder and for more ab soreness, the key is to do a sloooooow "roll out". That will put your abs under a loaded stretch – which causes soreness.
Now of course, you MUST train smart and conservatively…but if you are advanced, you can really extend this to about 5 seconds.
If you are an intermediate, don't roll too far out (see photo for reduced range of motion), but take it really, really, really slow. You'll get similar benefits.
#3 – L-Chinup
Okay, this one is super advanced, but for all of my bodyweight compadres out there, dig this:
You're basically going to do a chin-up while holding the top position of a hanging leg raise. Do all your reps like this. At first it will be really tough, but your reps will increase big time after a couple of sessions.
#4 – Regular Plank done to failure AFTER a hard upper body workout
I know what you're thinking…how could a regular plank make your abs sore?
Well, there's a little trick to this one…and that is to do the plank at the end of a really tough upper body workout when your arms are pumped and fatigued.
Why? Because it will force your abs to work extra hard, because it takes away a lot of the support that your arms give to a regular plank. So tack a regular plank on to the end of a biceps/triceps superset, and your abs will be pleasantly surprised.
So go for as long as you can with good form, rest 30-60 seconds, and repeat.
#5 – Strict Hanging Leg Raise and Leg Pike
Most folks are familiar with the hanging leg raise. You might even have tried it yourself. But you won't get maximum results from this exercise unless you do it with strict form.
That simply means removing as much momentum from the exercise as possible – basically, don't SWING your body and your legs. Instead, brace your abs as hard as possible, start from a "dead hang" position and raise your legs with muscular control – not momentum.
And what's the ab pike? Well, it's an advanced leg raise. In the pike, you'll continue the movement to take your feet all the way to where your hands are holding the bar. Super advanced.
BONUS EXERCISE – Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
Yes, the simple lying dumbbell triceps extension exercise can cause ab soreness. How? By emphasizing the stretch in your abs at the bottom of the movement.
You'll need to have your head at the very end of the bench and you'll need to drop the dumbbells a little lower than normal beside your head to get maximum ab stretching benefits…but done right, this will cause soreness and more sculpted abs if done consistently.
Get more bodyweight exercises in my videos here
Hitting your abs hard without crunches or situps,
Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer
PS - Here's what MATTERS...
Kekich Credo #76. "I will do this" is the only attitude that works. "I'll try" or "I think" doesn't work." ... Not every problem is conquered overnight, but if you persist and never give on what is important, you will succeed and achieve what really matters in your life.
The SECRET is to identify what TRULY matters and stay focused on your vision without taking detours from peer pressure or "shiny object syndrome." Dig deep, figure out what matters, and move towards that destination today. You can do it. I believe in YOU.
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