Best For:Muscle

Body Targets:Back

EXERCISES: 12
TOTAL SETS: 3
TOTAL MINUTES: 39
BY BJ GADDOUR

There are more than two dozen muscles in your core—and the stronger they are, the better they’ll be able to stabilize and protect your spine. This circuit builds strength in every single one of them.

HOW TO DO IT: Perform the following 12 exercises as a circuit. Perform the first exercise continuously for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Repeat for the next 11 exercises.

When you finish one circuit, rest 1 minute. That’s 1 circuit. Do up to 3 circuits.

Lying Hollow-Body Hold

Max Reps
For: 45 Seconds
REST: 15 Seconds

Lie on your back with your feet together and your toes pointed. Squeeze your legs together.

Raise your arms overhead, keeping them straight. Clench your glutes, brace your abs (as if you were about to be punched in the gut), and pull down your shoulders and ribs. Now raise your head, arms, shoulders, and legs a few inches off the floor and hold this position for the prescribed time.

Plank Stepup

Max Reps
For: 45 Seconds
REST: 15 Seconds

Assume a pushup position with your hands in front of a low step or box. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Move one hand at a time up onto the step and then back down again. That’s 1 rep.

Standing Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Max Reps
For: 45 Seconds
REST: 15 Seconds
SPECIAL DIRECTIONS: Left arm

Grab a dumbbell in one hand and place your other hand on a bench in front of you. Let the dumbbell hang at arm’s length, palm facing backward. Keeping your elbow tucked, row the weight to the side of your body and rotate the dumbbell so your palm faces inward. Return to the starting position.

Kneeling Dumbbell Overhead Press

Max Reps
For: 45 Seconds
REST: 15 Seconds
SPECIAL DIRECTIONS: Left arm

Grab a pair of dumbbells, and kneel on the floor with your knees shoulder-width apart. Hold the weights just outside your shoulders, with your arms bent and palms facing each other. Brace your core, as if you’re about to get punched in the gut, and maintain that contraction throughout the entire exercise. Press the weights above your shoulders until your arms are completely straight. Your biceps should be next to your ears. Don’t let your shoulders shrug toward your ears—keep them down. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Goblet Split Squat

Max Reps
For: 45 Seconds
REST: 15 Seconds
SPECIAL DIRECTIONS: Left side

Stand tall, and hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest, cupping the top end in both hands. Assume a staggered stance, your left foot in front of your right. Keeping your torso upright, slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent to at least 90 degrees. Pause, then push back up to the starting position as quickly as possible.

Suitcase Carry

Max Reps
For: 45 Seconds
REST: 15 Seconds
SPECIAL DIRECTIONS: Left side

Stand tall, and grab a dumbbell or a kettlebell in your right hand and let it hang at arm’s length by your side. Keep your chest tall and brace your core—pretend as if you’re about to be punched in the gut. Maintain that contraction the entire time. Walk forward for the prescribed distance or time.

Single-Arm Single-Leg Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift

Max Reps
For: 45 Seconds
REST: 15 Seconds
SPECIAL DIRECTIONS: Left side

Grab a dumbbell with an overhand grip in your right hand and let it hang at arm’s length in front of your thigh. Lift your left leg a few inches off the floor behind you. This is the starting position. Keeping your lower back naturally arched, hinge at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Let your left leg stretch out behind you with your toes pointed down to the floor the entire time. The weight should travel straight down toward the floor in your right hand. Hold your left arm out to the side for balance. Return to the starting position without letting the toes of your left foot touch the floor. That’s 1 rep.