Men's Fitness

Bodyweight Workout


1. SIT REPS: 10 secs REST: 60-90 secs SETS: 6 (2 x L sit, 2 x extension overhang, 2 x V sit)

“This is an exercise that never feels easier, but it does start to look better and you do see some big results in your abs if you persevere with sit-position exercises,” assures Griffiths.

When on the floor, you can either have your fingers pointing backwards or, depending on wrist mobility, you might be happier with your fingers pointing out from your sides. You want your arms in line with your mid-thigh, so your hips will be floating behind your forearms.

As much as lifting the legs is about contractin­g your hip flexors and quads hard, it’s also made easier by pushing down through your shoulders properly. Push your shoulders down as hard as you can so they are as far away from your ears as possible. This element of strengthen­ing the bottom part of your shoulder girdle is why I think sit-position practice is so important.

On the floor, an L sit can feel impossible to start, so relax into the idea of leaving your heels on the ground. Imagine your heels are on ice, and you don’t want the ice to break. Just keep the heels light.

An extension overhang doesn’t look like it has anything to do with a sit exercise, but it’s what will turn your L sit into a V sit. Legs straight, hips high, chest proud. Retract your shoulders and press your hands into the floor. Walk backwards so your shoulders ‘overhang’ your hands. Keep your hips high while doing this. If you get it right, you will feel the long head of your tricep working very hard.

If you can hold an L sit and you’ve practised your whole-body extension, hitting a V sit is as easy as leaning back. Keep the legs as tight as you can to your chest, so still lift through your hip flexors and quads. Then gradually lean into your triceps and your legs should lift up.

2. MEAT HOOK REPS: Max hold REST: 60-90 secs SETS: 3

“The meat hook is one of those exercises that’s easy when you have it, but getting there is a serious challenge,” says Griffiths. “It’s a great expression of flexibilit­y and linked strength from your hips, trunk and shoulders. I like the fact it’s not just about strength, but having an awareness of how your body moves efficientl­y.”

You can use a bar, but Olympic rings would be preferable.

Invert so that you are vertical with the rings either side of your hips.

Drop one leg down so that your quad slides past the ring.

Turn to face the leg you have dropped so that your chest faces down to the floor below you.

Pull up so your hips are as close to the ring you are turning around as possible. Stay high throughout the move. Don’t let yourself drop down, as the further your hips are from the hand holding the ring you’re turning around the harder the meat hook will feel.

When your hips are high, drop the other leg down to meet your first foot, sliding your quad past the ring again. You can hold a meat hook with straddle legs or your ankles connected.

Once you have the hold nailed with both hands on the rings, you should be able to let go of the outer hand.

3. DRAGON LEG RAISE REPS: 5 REST: 60-90 secs SETS: 4

“Who watched Rocky IV and didn’t want to hit these? Leverage is a very powerful way of getting your abs working properly, so holding tension in a horizontal line from your shoulders is about as good as it gets,” says Griffiths.

The classic set-up is to lie on a weight bench and hold the top edge behind your head, to anchor the top of your body to the bench while you extend your legs up vertical above you. Contact should be between your shoulders and the bench, so try to keep both your back and your glutes off the bench throughout the move.

From the top, tilt your pelvis under and squeeze your glutes hard. You basically want to lock your hips out. Take a deep breath before the tension hits you hard, so you have plenty of pressure in your diaphragm to keep you strong. Lower yourself down slowly and then return back up to the top.

Single-leg is the easiest option, where you keep one knee tucked into your chest. Straddle legs is a step up, where your legs go wide to give you a bit less weight than having your legs together and locked out, which is the end goal.

4. ELBOW PLANCHE REPS: Max hold REST: 60-90 secs SETS: 4

“An elbow planche is a party trick rather than a conditioni­ng exercise, but it’s a good thing to learn for wrist mobility and strength, and understand­ing how to block your weight using good mechanics,” explains Griffiths. “The biggest benefit of an elbow planche might be how it teaches you to use your diaphragm to stabilise your spine, while keeping a good amount of air going in and out. That’s no bad thing for any intense sport.”

Place your hands on the ground with your fingers pointed behind you or out to the side. Your hands need to be narrower than your hips, as your hips need to end up resting on your elbows.

With your knees on the floor, pull your elbows in and rest your waist on top of your elbows. You need to have your abs pulled in tight and your pelvis tucked under to be able to find a balance point.

If you extend your legs so you are on your toes, you will then be able to start playing with your balance until you start to float. Keep your body parallel to the ground. Legs should be straight with feet locked together, and you should be able to breathe normally.

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