Abdominal Core Trifecta


Question: I would like to strengthen my core. I typically do sit-ups for three sets of 20 which hit my upper abs. What are some other good core/ab exercises?

Answer: Your abs are actually one long sheath of muscle with no distinctive differentiation between upper and lower abs.

However, some exercises do seem to affect the upper area beneath the ribcage like sit-ups, and reverse crunches seem to affect the lower region of your abs more. We use a 3-D approach to hit both of those regions and the intercostal and oblique (sides) as well.

Hanging knee raises are a very effective ab exercise as long as you remember to do these three things during your set.

  • When you lift your legs up, raise them as high as you can which changes the tilt of your pelvic bone.
  • When you lower your legs control the downward motion. Don’t just drop them down.
  • Finally, don’t allow your feet to drift behind the plane of your back. That causes too much curve in your lumbar region and can allow you to whip your legs back up using momentum from swinging.

This is the first exercise in a sequence of three exercises which are all done for three sets.

The second is Windshield Wipers. Lying on your back, hold on to a rack or a doorframe and lift your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor. Keep your legs together and rotate them to the right and as close to the floor as possible then back up and over to the other side. Do 20 reps.

The third exercise is the Punch Crunch. Use a 10 to 20 pound dumbbell holding it in one hand while still on the floor. You will do a crunch accenting the one side holding the dumbbell with your arm fully extended. Do ten reps and repeat the same with the other arm. Do one set of all three exercises in a cycle and repeat two more times.

These will strengthen your core nicely.

God bless and keep training,