A Harder Core Challenge

By: The Editors of Men's Health 


Don't underestimate the tame-looking side bridge. "Men think a good ab exercise has to make your abs burn," says Michael Boyle, M.A., ATC. Here's the truth: Side bridges improve the stability of all the muscles surrounding your spine and stomach. In fact, Canadian researchers found that men who can perform the side bridge effectively are less likely to encounter back trouble. Add these ab exercises to your workout to bolster your core and help carve a six-pack.

Directions
Hold for the time specified below, then switch sides. Do this routine two or three times a week

WeekExerciseSetsTime
1Modified Side Plank230 seconds
2Modified Side Plank260 seconds
3Side Plank2-345 seconds
4Side Plank2-360 seconds
5Side Plank with Feet on Bench2-345 seconds

 

 


Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Modified Side Plank


Step 1

Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Bend your knees 90 degrees. Brace your core by contracting your abs forcefully as if you were about to be punched in the gut.

Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Breathe deeply for the duration of the exercise. Hold this position for 30 seconds (or as directed). That's one set. Turn around so that you're lying on your right side and repeat.

This move works:
Abs, Core, Hips, Lower Back, Obliques
Photo Credit: Beth Bischoff

Side Plank


Step 1
  1. Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Brace your core by contracting your abs forcefully as if you were about to be punched in the gut.
  2. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Breathe deeply for the duration of the exercise. Hold this position for 30 seconds (or as directed). That's one set. Turn around so that you're lying on your right side and repeat.

14 Smart pushup improvements

This move works:
Abs, Core, Hips, Lower Back, Obliques
Photo Credit: Beth Bischoff

Side Plank with Feet on Bench


Step 1

Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders.

Fix your posture to maximize muscle

Place both feet on a bench. Brace your core by contracting your abs forcefully as if you were about to be punched in the gut. Breathe deeply for the duration of the exercise. Hold this position for 30 seconds (or as directed). That's one set. Turn around so that you're lying on your right side and repeat.

This move works:
Abs, Core, Hips, Lower Back, Obliques
Photo Credit: Beth Bischoff

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