Coasting through your once-challenging core workout with hardly a grimace? Gains are satisfying, but don’t rest on your laurels for too long. If you want to keep building core strength, you need to progress your training with more advanced movements.
This intense abs workout, designed by Raj Hathiramani, certified running coach at Mile High Run Club in New York City, will make you feel like a beginner all over again. But the struggle is worth it, he tells Runner’s World.
“Increasing the strength of your abs will result in your upper and lower body working together more efficiently when you run to maintain good form and conserve energy,” Hathiramani says. “You will not only improve running endurance but also speed and power as you push off the ground.”
As you move on to exceedingly difficult core exercises, proper form becomes even more critical, Hathiramani warns.
“It’s especially important to intentionally brace your core muscles so your lower back doesn’t carry the extra load,” he says. “Try doing this by breathing into your stomach and then tensing your abs as if you’re about to take a punch.”
How to do it: Perform each exercise below for 30 seconds, resting for 15 seconds between exercises and 1 minute in between sets. Repeat the full circuit a total of 3 times.
Each move is demonstrated by Hathiramani in the video above so you can master the proper form. An exercise mat is recommended.
Bear Plank Extension
Start on your hands and knees. Keeping your back flat, use your core to lift your knees off the ground a few inches so you’re balancing on your palms and the balls of your feet. This is the starting position. Extend your right arm and left leg straight out until they’re parallel to the floor, then return to the starting position. Repeat with the left arm and right leg, then return to the starting position. Continue alternating.
Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists, feet about hip-width apart. Keeping your back flat, lower into a forearm plank by replacing right palm with right elbow, then left palm with left elbow. Immediately replace left elbow with left palm, then right elbow with right palm to return to a high plank. Repeat, alternating the initiating arm with each rep.
Forearm Side Plank With Hip Dip to Leg Raise
Start on your side with your right forearm on the ground, forming a straight line from your head to your feet, feet stacked on top of each other. Make sure your right elbow is directly under your shoulder and extend your left arm overhead. Engage your core and slowly dip your hips and tap them on the ground. Return to side plank, then lift left leg as high as you can, keeping hips stacked the entire time, and lower the leg to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Single-to-Double Leg Lower
Lie faceup, legs extended toward ceiling, lower back pressed into the floor, hands gently resting on knees. Lower right leg until it’s a couple of inches off the ground, then lift it back up. Repeat on the left leg. Then, lower both legs together until they’re a couple of inches off the ground and lift them back up. Repeat the sequence.
Lie faceup with both hands behind head, legs bent, and feet flat on floor. Lift right shoulder off mat to bring right elbow toward left knee, while extending right leg straight. Reverse to draw left elbow to right knee as you extend left leg straight. Repeat, alternating legs and elbows.