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Sculpt real-world strength and stability with three hard-core power moves, and build a six-pack that saves your spine.
Shredded abs might boost your attractiveness quotient, but that’s not their primary purpose. In everyday life, your core has one directive: to stabilise your spine. That’s what makes the exercises on this page the ultimate gut check. By forcing your core to brace against three kinds of potentially spine-damaging motion – rotation, flexion and extension – you’ll find out just how strong it really is, says trainer Kevin Carr. And if you add them to your weekly routine, you’ll soon notice greater stability and power in everything you do – not to mention an increasingly chiseled profile.
Perform these exercises as a circuit, moving from one to the next without resting. Once you’ve finished all three exercises, rest for one minute and then repeat the circuit. Complete a total of three circuits (if you can).
YOUR GOAL: 3 CIRCUITS
Plank Row (Anti-Rotation)
Assume a push-up position while gripping a pair of dumbbells that total half your body weight. Row the weight in your left hand to your ribs, then repeat with the right. Continue alternating sides for 20 reps.
Farmer’s Walk (Anti-Flexion)
Grab a pair of dumbbells equal to your body weight and let them hang naturally at arm’s length next to your sides. Keeping your chest up and shoulders back, walk forwards for 36 metres.
Ab Wheel Rollout (Anti-Extension)
Kneel on the floor and grab the handles of an ab wheel. Roll it forwards as far as you can. Use your core to pull the wheel back. Do 15 reps. No ab wheel? Use a barbell loaded with 4.5 kilogram weights instead.