While there are few conventional abs exercises here (straight-leg sit-ups notwithstanding), each move will force your core to stay strong and stable – and a strong core has carry-over benefits for just about everything you do in the gym and day-to-day life.

And unlike traditional abs work, this workout will give just about every other muscle in your body – from your pecs to your quads – plenty to do.

Abs Workout: Strengthen Your Core With This Crunch-Free Routine | Men's Fitness UK

1. Gorilla Press-Up 

Reps: 5
Rest: 15 secs
Sets: 5

  • Start in the top press-up position.
  • Slowly lower to the ground, then explode up as fast as possible and bring your hands off the floor to slap them against your chest.
  • Put your hands back out to land and go into the next rep.

Abs Workout: Strengthen Your Core With This Crunch-Free Routine | Men's Fitness UK

2. Medicine Ball Press-Up 

Reps: 8-10
Rest: 30 secs
Sets: 4

  • Kneel in front of a medicine ball. 
  • Put your hands on the ball so your palms are almost touching and fingers are pointing diagonally away from you.
  • Press down on the ball to raise your body into a press-up position, with feet hip-width apart (this is the start position).
  • Bend your arms to lower your chest to the ball, then press back up.

Abs Workout: Strengthen Your Core With This Crunch-Free Routine | Men's Fitness UK

3a. Weight Plate Bulgarian Split Squat 

Reps: 10 each side
Rest: Straight into 3b

  • Hold the plate to your chest and place one foot on a bench behind you.
  • Bend your front leg to lower into a split squat, keeping your chest up and front knee in line with your toes.
  • Drive back up through your front foot to return to the start.

Abs Workout: Strengthen Your Core With This Crunch-Free Routine | Men's Fitness UK

3b. Straight-Arm Medicine Ball Squat  

Reps: 10
Rest: 60 secs, then repeat 3a
Sets: 4

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, and hold a medicine ball in front of your chest with straight arms.
  • Tense your quads, glutes and core.
  • Sit back into a squat, lowering as deep as you can get with perfect form, keeping arms extended.
  • Pause for a count of one at the bottom, then drive back to standing.

Abs Workout: Strengthen Your Core With This Crunch-Free Routine | Men's Fitness UK

4a. Plate Carry 

Time: 30 secs
Rest: Straight into 4b

  • Hold a heavy weight plate (or two) to your chest. 
  • Keeping your core strong and body upright, walk forwards.
  • Walk in figures of eight if space is tight.

Abs Workout: Strengthen Your Core With This Crunch-Free Routine | Men's Fitness UK

4b. Medicine Ball Slam 

Time: 30 secs
Rest: 90 secs, then repeat 4a
Sets: 5

  • Hold a medicine ball in two hands and stand with feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Raise the ball high above your head, rising up on to the balls of your feet.
  • Contract your core as you powerfully slam the ball into the floor in front of you.
  • Catch the ball as it bounces up and continue into the next rep.

Abs Workout: Strengthen Your Core With This Crunch-Free Routine | Men's Fitness UK

5a. Straight-Leg Sit-Up 

Reps: 8-10
Rest: Straight into 5b

  • Lie on the floor with your feet together and fingers at your temples. 
  • Squeeze your core to press your lower back into the floor then, keeping your core braced, contract your abs to raise your upper body, making sure not to raise your legs.

Abs Workout: Strengthen Your Core With This Crunch-Free Routine | Men's Fitness UK

5b. Single-Leg Extended Dragon Flag 

Reps: 6 each side
Rest: 60 secs, then repeat 5a
Sets: 4

  • Lie with your back flat on a bench.
  • Bring both knees into your chest and raise them up to the ceiling.
  • Now extend one leg up and out in front of you – that leg should create a straight line from ankle to knee to hip to shoulder.
  • Lower very slowly (the slower the better).
  • Alternate legs each rep.

 

Model: Nik Naidoo
Photography: Eddie Macdonald

 

 

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