Too many abs routines are uninspired and, frankly, boring. Building up a strong core is important for more than just your mirror muscles, so your training should be more than just a tacked-on afterthought after you’re already mentally checked out of your workout.
Even worse, you might only be hitting your abs from one angle. Maybe you’re only going through the motions with endless situps and overdoing it with the spinal flexion. Introduce new elements and shake up your program with dynamic exercises, like this challenge from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.. The corkscrew hollow hold challenge takes the foundational hollow hold position, then adds some extra work to really push your obliques
“There’s a lot of focus these days on anti-rotation in core training, and it’s terrifically important, but your core—and your obliques in particular—also play a key role in creating torso rotation,” says Samuel. “We’re hammering away at that with the corkscrew hollow rock in this series, forcing your abs to own rotation while in movement during the hollow rock. That’s an incredible challenge and very likely new stimulus for your abs; traditionally, when we train our abs to rotate our torso, they aren’t challenged to stay in that position for a sustained period of time. But during each set of corkscrew hollow rocks, your abs don’t get to change position; you’re forced to continue twisting.”
All you need to take on the challenge is some room to spread out on the floor, although you might want a yoga mat for your backside.
- Find a spot on the ground and get into hollow hold position.
- Bring your left elbow to the right knee, keeping your position otherwise unchanged.
- Perform 8 rocking reps, keeping your lower back on the floor and your arm “glued” to your knee (this is the corkscrew referenced in the name).
- Shift back into a normal hollow hold. Perform 8 more rocking reps.
- Repeat the series again, this time for 6 reps each, then again for 4, then 2. That’s one set.
You have a tough task keeping up with the demands of the series, according to Samuel. “The added challenge here is how your core changes responsibilities continually; coming off the corkscrews, the standard hollow rocks will take a moment to get used to,” he says. “Make sure to keep your non-connected arm and leg long as you do this. That’s critical to the challenge here; continuing to create the long levers that make the hollow rock and hollow hold worthwhile.
Take on the corkscrew hollow rock challenge by rocking through 3 sets per side.
By Brett Williams and Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.