Use a ball to build lean abs

Try th is six-move medicine ball cir­cuit to sculpt your­self a rock-hard six-pack

Men's Fitness - - Updates -

This six-move med ball cir­cuit - of which you’ll do four rounds in total - kicks off with a tough vari­a­tion of the clas­sic press-up. Do­ing it with your hands on the ball works your core far harder than in normal press-ups, and you’ll work your chest, shoul­ders and tri­ceps too.

How to do it

As­sume the pres­sup po­si­tion but with your hands on the ball rather than flat on the floor. En­gage your core, then bend your el­bows to lower your chest. Press back to the top. The clas­sic crunch is great for work­ing your up­per abs, but this vari­a­tion - where you hold the med ball against your chest then raise it high at the top of each rep - gives these mus­cles a far harder chal­lenge.

How to do it

Start in the stan­dard crunch po­si­tion with your back on the floor, your feet to­gether and your knees bent. Hold the ball with your hands ei­ther side of it. Con­tract your abs to raise your torso, and then straighten your arms to lift the ball as high as you can. The weight of the med ball makes this move more dif­fi­cult be­cause your up­per abs and side abs need to be fir­ing on all cylin­ders to lift your torso, then move it from side to side, then lower back to the start. Make it even harder by not let­ting your up­per back hit the floor be­tween reps.

How to do it

The move is sim­i­lar to the pre­vi­ous one, ex­cept at the top of each rep you ro­tate the ball, with straight­ened arms, to one side then the other, be­fore re­turn­ing to the start. If you want a re­ally im­pres­sive six­pack then it’s vi­tal you don’t ne­glect your lower abs. This move does the op­po­site.

How to do it

Lie flat on the floor with straight legs and the med ball held tight be­tween your feet or an­kles. Lay your arms flat by your sides. Raise your feet off the floor, pause, then raise them as high as you can while keep­ing your legs straight. Pause at the top, then lower them slowly. Don’t let your heels touch the floor in be­tween reps. This ex­plo­sive move re­quires you to move your whole body pow­er­fully and quickly to get your abs work­ing as a sin­gle unit to en­cour­age faster and more im­pres­sive growth.

How to do it

Stand tall hold­ing a med ball in both hands. Squat down, then pow­er­fully push through your heels to jump high. As your feet leave the ground, ex­tend your arms to throw the ball as high as you can di­rectly over­head. Catch it, then go straight into the next rep. Each cir­cuit fin­ishes with a set of heart rate-rais­ing, core-crunch­ing ex­plo­sive med ball slams. The key here is to slam the ball into the ground as hard as pos­si­ble: the harder you do, the more your abs are work­ing close to ca­pac­ity. Imag­ine you’re try­ing to make a hole in the floor (but don’t ac­tu­ally).

How to do it

Stand tall with the ball in both hands. Raise it above your head, then slam it straight down into the floor in front of you. Catch it and re­peat im­me­di­ately.

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