2 Intense Ab Exercises (Most People Skip)

2 Intense Ab Exercises (Most People Skip)

No you can’t spot reduce the fat around your middle by doing a bazillion crunches or sit ups…

BUT focused ab work can help you get that lean, defined core when your nutrition is dialed in.

Yet too often we skip the core work.

If we add it in, it’s an afterthought.

And too often we think we’ve done even enough core work because we’ve included heavy lifts like squat and deadlift.

And while those moves do benefit your core, they’re working it only in one way…to stabilize.

But our abs power spinal flexion and don’t only resist extension or stabilize.

Not to mention our obliques twist and turn, and laterally flex not to mention help us prevent unwanted rotation.

This means we want to target all of these movement patterns to see the best results.

That’s why I want to share a few of my favorite core moves, specifically two moves focused on your abs, to train these muscles both with flexion and anti-extension exercises to not only help you build a stronger core but a more defined one.

However, first I want to touch on two essentials to core training that will help you see better results faster and are too often IGNORED…

I’ll then also show you how to use my favorite moves while addressing these two key components…

#1: Make sure your abs are ACTUALLY working!

You can’t just rush through moves and let your hip flexors and lower back compensate. 

And you may just write this off, labeling those others weak.

But, if these areas are compensating, THEY are getting the work from the moves you’re including…

Not your abs.

What you feel working in a move is what is BENEFITING from the move.

So whether your hip flexors and lower back are actually weak or whether they are taking over because a move is too advanced and your abs have to rely on these other muscles to keep up because they aren’t strong enough…

You have to address this compensation if you want results.

This may mean changing your form or it may mean regressing the move to build up!

But if you don’t feel your abs, your ab exercises aren’t paying off and you’re wasting time and energy.

#2: If it challenges you, it will change you.

Just like building up any other muscle, you need to progress the moves you’re doing to see results. 

And no, we aren’t trying to bulk out our middles, which is why we may not just focus on heavy loads.

But we need to advance moves to drive that muscle to change which will help us see that definition as it is revealed through proper nutrition.

This also means strategically designing your workouts to include core work you can progress as too often core work is just an afterthought in our training.

We add a move here or there. And we may add a rep or two but don’t really do anything to continue to progress the exercise.

While you can add weight to progress a move, we often want to progress through the same but different, changes in types of loads or loading placements, ranges of motion or even instability as we keep the reps higher, even in that 15-25 rep range often. 

Now I want to share a 2 of my favorite ab exercises to work your abs with spinal flexion AND anti-extension movements.

These moves are especially amazing if you’re looking to target your lower abs.

Yes, your lower abs.

If you’re about to say, “There is no lower ab muscle.”

You’re right. There is no separate lower ab muscle.

But we can target different portions of different muscles to greater extents based on the postures and positions used.

And leg raise type movements, if you can avoid overusing your hip flexors, as well as extended plank positions, have been shown to activate the lower abs, or lower portion of your rectus abdominis to a greater extent.

With both of these moves, I’ll show you how you can make sure your abs are actually working and even progress, or regress, these moves to fit your needs.

The first move is the Reverse Crunch Roll With Overhead Hold.

This lower body crunch variation is a great way to target those lower abs while also helping you prevent your lower back from engaging or relying on your hip flexors over your abs.

The key tweaks this move makes off the basic lower body crunch is the overhead hold and the heels locked back into a roller. 

Both of these help you avoid compensating to better target your abs.

The overhead hold helps you more easily engage your abs without your lower back compensating because it creates tension through your lats to protect your back.

You want to pull down hard on the pole or even edge of a bench you’re holding onto.

This slight move to even flex your lower abs will help you protect your back further.

Then using the roller locked between your lower legs and hamstrings, you’ll be able to engage that posterior chain, especially your hamstrings, to prevent those hip flexors from activating.

With even these two tweaks, you still want to focus on ROLLING one vertebrae at a time up. Curl those knees in toward your elbows FLEXING your spine.

If you don’t have a roller, you can still do this move by just thinking about pulling your heels in toward your butt and hamstrings. That activation will help inhibit your hip flexors to focus on your abs.

But these two tweaks to that basic lower body crunch can help you really make sure you’re focusing on your abs with spinal flexion.

And then to progress this move, you can change tempos.

Or you can even do a straight leg variation, but not only perform a leg lower but an extra LIFT at the top.

This lift at the top as you raise your legs up is what gets that extra spinal flexion. But you have to make sure you’ve built up to this move and you’re not just relying on your hips to lift and lower.

While your hip flexors are working with hip flexion, the raise of your legs back up, you want your abs engaged using that posterior pelvic tilt, or tilt of the hips up toward the ribs to round the back toward the ground.

This protects your back and supports those hips so you aren’t only feeling them working. And that plus part of the movement and lift at the top further work the abs.

To further advance this move and even target your adductors and pelvic floor more, you could hold a med ball between your legs.

Or to even make this move tougher on your abs, you could use an incline bench.

This way you’re working more against gravity to even tuck up!

But the key is to progress only once you’ve mastered that basic variation.

And even as you progress, never think you’re above returning to this move as sometimes changing things up is the progression we need to see results as we can focus even more on really activating our abs with those basics!

The second move is Plank Extensions.

I also call these the Body Saw when done off the forearm over the hands. 

You’re trying to brace your abs so you don’t get sawed in half…just kidding…but seriously!

This move is freaking DECEPTIVELY hard. 

By extending your plank position, your abs and especially your lower abs, have to work very hard to prevent extension of your spine and stabilize.

This takes that basic plank up a notch!

You should NOT feel your lower back engaging or arching. If it arches, you may start to feel yourself even overusing and resting on your hip flexors. 

So to modify this move, start off an incline, such as a bench. 

Focus on engaging your abs as if you’re going to be punched in the gut as you even flex your glutes to walk back. That glute flexion helps protect your back and disengage your hip flexors.

If you can walk back into that extended position, maintaining that brace, lower the incline. 

You can then move to this walk back from your hands on the ground before moving to your forearms. 

These changes in postures can really help you target those abs and progress the move.

Then you can start to implement different tools even instead of adding loads to make the move more challenging for your core.

You can use sliders to slide over walk back (towels work too). 

Or you can even really vary the move by changing the way you’re extending the plank, using a ball to roll out under your forearms instead of the sliders on your feet.

It’s not just weights that can make moves harder and drive progression! Those different postures, tools and even placements can have an impact!

If you’re looking to take your core definition to the next level, use these moves and tips to really work those abs and progress your training.

And yes, dial in that diet to truly reveal your hard work in the gym!

Want amazing workouts you can do anywhere? Check out my Dynamic Strength program:

–> Learn more about Dynamic Strength


The Best Core Exercise (Everyone Hates)

The Best Core Exercise (Everyone Hates)

Teapots have gotten a lot of hate in recent years.

But unpopular opinion. I think the hate is unwarranted.

They can actually be an amazing move to include in your workout routine when implemented correctly.

I say this often but there are no bad exercises…

Just misused moves that aren’t right for our needs or goals that need to be modified for us at this phase in our journey!

And too often these days a missing component of our core training routines IS lateral flexion movements.

Our spine and the muscles of our core are meant to side bend.

Learning to control this movement in our workouts is key to helping us avoid unwanted strain on our spine when we lift and move in everyday life.

Not to mention, by simply writing it off because someone said it was bad for them, means we could be missing out on a move that perfectly addresses OUR unique needs.

Can’t get down on the ground?

Well the teapot is an amazing STANDING core move.

Need to address an imbalance between each side?

Well the teapot is an amazing UNILATERAL core move.

There is so much opportunity with different exercises if we simply seek to learn more about them and when and why they may work, or not work, for us and our goals.

That’s why I first want to go over some key pointers for using this exercise correctly, such as ways to include it in your workout routine, and even variations so you can build up and work your core in a way that matches your needs and goals!


Now if you’re thinking about grabbing as heavy a weight as possible for your teapots and doing only a couple or reps, this is not the exercise for that type of loading.

While creating progression even in our ab and core routines is key, moves like the teapot should never be about constantly just going heavier and heavier, especially for lower rep work.

Moves like this should most often be progressed through changes in equipment, tempos and even to some extent volume (adding a few more reps).

While you can add loads, you want to be conscious that you aren’t trying to max out. You want to be in full control of that range of motion.

And often you will want to work in that 10-20 rep range based on your experience with lateral flexion and any injuries.

Keeping the reps higher and loads challenging but overall lighter is key especially starting out.

You also want to note that this lateral flexion exercise often puts more emphasis on the eccentric, and because it applies more load when the muscle is stretched, can make you VERY sore even with lighter weights starting out.

That’s why even opting for just a round or two to start of those higher reps at the end of your workout can be good.

It’s key you move slowly and work through only the range of motion you can control.

But because strengthening and controlling that movement is so key, again starting lighter is best.

Really focus on that slow lower down of the weight at your side and don’t twist or rotate to get the range of motion bigger.

When you lower you aren’t focusing on the side that is actually flexing…

You’re focusing on the STRETCH on the opposing side.

And then to move back up to standing, you will feel that stretched side PULL your torso back up straight.

While you can crunch slightly to the other side, the focus should be on that eccentric lower down to the move back upright.

Too often we rush through movements over focusing on what we feel working.

Now as amazing as this move can be, one exercise in one form is not right for everyone.

And while this traditional teapot may be done with a dumbbell or kettlebell down by your side, there are other variations you can use based on the tools you have and even your specific needs.


There are so many ways to address and implement lateral flexion into your routine – from more isolated oblique crunches to variations of the teapot.

You can simply change the type of tool you use while doing the same basic teapot, trading a dumbbell for a kettlebell or plate weight.

(The plate weight especially can be a great too for one, working on your grip strength in a different way!)

You can even keep the same loading placement and use a cable or band anchored down low to apply resistance in a new way. The band anchored down low will really challenge your core as you pull to come back up!

This simple change in types of resistance can be a great way to progress this move as you advance with it to challenge your body in new ways.

You can also change loading placement, anchoring the resistance overhead by using a cable or even doing a variation of this in the suspension trainer.

This will also change the focus from being on your OPPOSING side, to the same side you’re bending toward.

But so often little changes like this can create progression through the same but different and really help improve our mind-body connection because we are working the same muscles but in a new way.

And if you have no tools available, you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of this amazing move.

Side plank hip dips are a great way to work on that lateral flexion without any equipment.

If the full version off the ground isn’t right for you, modifying the side plank off an incline, such as a bench, allows you to really use this move to your advantage and control that lateral flexion.

Just make sure you’ve engaged your back to support your shoulder and have flexed your feet, especially if your feet are stacked, to protect your knees.

And as important as it is to work through that range of motion to strengthen the muscles that power the lateral flexion movement, it can also be key to include some ANTI-FLEXION exercises as well.

Learning to PREVENT unwanted flexion or movement is equally as important.

And you can strengthen those muscles to stabilize using different anti-flexion moves as well.

It’s why things like side plank holds or the stability or pallof press can also be key to include.

But too often we aren’t using both and we’re even valuing one over the other instead of seeing the opportunity in combining both in our routines.

Remember moves are only as good as their implementation.

And lateral flexion, and the ability to avoid it, are key movement patterns we want to learn to control.

Train them in the gym to become stronger and functionally fit!

Looking for amazing workouts to help you rock those results?

Join my Dynamic Strength program!



18 Underrated Core Exercises

18 Underrated Core Exercises

Often we fall back into using the same old moves, forgetting all of the options and variations out there. But having different variations of exercises to target the same area can help us create progression through the same but different.

It can help us even activate different muscles to different extents!

That’s why I want to throw back to the origins of my YouTube channel and share a Core Exercise Variations video with all of you.

These exercises work your entire core, frontside and backside.

Because sometimes we just need that library of move options to help remind us of all of the tools out there we have to meet our needs and goals and design the workouts that help us rock those results!

18 Underrated Core Moves

Balance Toe Touches 00:37
Cross Body Knees 00:54
Twist And Pivot 01:13
Wall Push 01:26
Side Balance Oblique Twists 01:35
Side Plank Clams 01:56
Plank with Reach Back and Out 02:12
Bulldog Reaches 02:34
Plank Snow Angels 02:55
Sit Thrus 03:39
3-Way Sit Up And Reach 03:59
Seated Hinges 04:24
C-Sit With Knees 04:42
Bridge to Boat 04:57
Banana Rolls 05:17
Butterfly Crunches 05:41
Frog Kickouts 05:57
Leg Wipers 06:12


15-Minute Core Burner

Complete 2-3 rounds through each circuit without resting. Rest no more than 30 seconds between circuits if possible. 

30 seconds Twist And Pivot
30 seconds per side Plank With Reach Back And Out
30 seconds C-Sit With Knees
30 seconds Frog Kickouts

30 seconds per side Cross Body Knees
30 seconds Plank Snow Angels
30 seconds 3-Way Sit Up And Reach
30 seconds Bridge To Boat

For more amazing workouts to match your needs, goals and schedule, check out Dynamic Strength!


The Most UNDERRATED Lower Ab Exercise

The Most UNDERRATED Lower Ab Exercise

No you don’t have a lower ab muscle.

But you CAN target the lower portion of your rectus abdominis or your LOWER ABS to a greater extent based on the moves you include in your workout routine.

And one great way to target that area is with lower body crunches.

They’re simple and effective…if done correctly.

There are also a variety of ways you can regress and progress this move to match your needs and goals.

However, how you do this amazing move can really impact where you actually feel working and the benefits you get from it.

That’s why in this video I want to go over how to properly do this movement and some amazing ways to really feel those lower abs working.

But first I wanted to discuss two areas we often feel compensating during this exercise that can end up overworked and injured, leading to this fabulous move being hated on…

And they are our hip flexors and lower back!

Do you ever feel your lower back or hip flexors taking over when you do a lower body crunch? 

This is because you aren’t properly bracing your abs!

While yes, any exercise that involves hip flexion (that bending at the hip) WILL work your hip flexors… 

So often we rely on our hips over bracing our abs which ultimately ends up with us only feeling our hip flexors or lower back during this ab exercise! 

To prevent this from happening, there are a few things you want to focus on….

Focus On These Tips:

#1: Set up bracing your abs, tucking your hips slightly up toward your ribs. 

This posterior pelvic tilt will help you feel those abs engage and even engage your glute max a bit.

This glute max engagement inhibits your hip flexors from taking over as much.

#2: Initiate the crunch of your lower body through spinal flexion. 

Too often this move will be cued just as tucking your knees in which leads to us only bending and extending at the hip to raise our feet up off the floor and lower them back down.

But really we want to curl in from our SPINE. This spinal flexion is what engages our abs to power the knee tuck up.


Slowly roll to tuck in and then, one vertebrae at a time, lower back down.

Do not release that ab brace at the bottom.

Keep your abs engaged as you touch your feet down! 

By focusing on this ab engagement and spinal flexion you not only protect your lower back, preventing it from arching up, but you disengage your hip flexors through that glute max engagement and use of the abs to curl in over just bending at the hip.

Building off of this focus on engaging your abs even before you start the movement…

I wanted to go over some tips to implement this basic lower body crunch properly before I then dive into some fun modifications and variations to match your needs and goals.

How To Do The Lower Body Crunch:

To do the lower body crunch, you want to set up lying on your back with your hands down on the ground beside you or behind your head.

To help you brace with the posterior pelvic tilt, pushing your palms and arms straight down beside you into the ground can help.

Bend your knees and curls your heels in toward your butt. This active curl in as you flex your feet should even help you feel your hamstrings engage to further prevent your hips from compensating.

Tilt your pelvis, drawing your hip bones up toward your ribs. Press your arms down into the ground.

Then think about curling your ribs up toward your hips as your knees curl in toward your chest.

Do not let yourself just flex at the hip. Really focus on curling your spine to lift your butt up.

Move at a controlled pace, then roll back down to tap your heels down.

Do not fully release engagement of the abs at the bottom.

Then curl back in.

Focus on that exhale as you curl in to help you engage your abs!

Then repeat the move, again focus on that curl starting from your spine over just your hips bending!

Keep that heel pulled in tension to help you avoid only bending at your hips!

Struggling? Try These Modifications!

If you’re focusing on these cues and struggling with getting your abs to engage there are two things I like to do with clients that can help…

#1: Hold on to something overhead. 

#2: Use a roller squeezed between your calves and hamstrings. 

I’ve even combined these two things as a variation to really isolate those abs. 

By holding on overhead as you perform the lower body crunch, you can help engage your lats, which can lead to better glute engagement as well.

This can help you create tension through your backside that protects your lower back during the move.

This pull down can also help you crunch your ribs slightly down toward your hips to better brace your abs.

It can also give you more control as you curl your knees in toward your chest.

And the roller can help you maintain that hamstring engagement to prevent your hip flexors from taking over.

By having to squeeze that roller into your legs, you prevent yourself from extra movement at the hips as well.

Combining both of these techniques may prove a killer combo even to really target those lower abs with a slow curl in and lower back down!

And the great part about this basic movement is there are so many ways you can change it up to match your needs and goals!

If you’re feeling really in control of this lower body crunch, you may still find the modifications provide progression through the same but different.

They can even help you isolate those lower abs in new ways.

Try These Progressions:

But you may also find you want to progress to a double leg lower with your legs straight or even a leg lower plus. 

That bonus spinal flexion at the top of the basic double leg lower is a great way to work those abs extra as they are worked by that flexion of the spine!

You can even just simply add weight to the basic lower body crunch. 

The benefit of adding weight is not only that the resistance makes it harder but also that, by holding a weight between your legs, you engage your adductors.

Because of the connection of your hip flexors to your pelvic floor, and your adductors are also a hip flexor, you may find that by squeezing a medicine ball between your legs you even feel your core working more with very light weight!

And if don’t have weight and want to work your upper body more, you can even take this lower body crunch up off the ground with hanging leg raise variations or even dip hold leg raises. 

But with all of these variations, you want to make sure you target your lower abs by bracing those abs with the posterior pelvic tilt and actually flexing at the spine as you lift.

It is tempting to just let the movement only occur at the hip when you fatigue without your abs engaged.

Remember this will just lead to your hip flexors working, not your abs getting the benefits you want!

So regress if you feel yourself starting to cheat!

Using these tips you can really target your lower abs with the amazing and oh so simple lower body crunch.

Perfecting basic moves like this can help us see better results faster and really target those stubborn areas we want to work!

Try This Ab Burner:

And for a quick and killer burner using this move, try this 100 Rep Ab Burner…

This is great to use once a week in your workout progression.

Completing 1 round through the circuit.

20 Heel Raised upper Body Crunches
20 Lower Body Crunches
20 per side Oblique Crunches
20 Full Body Crunches

For more killer workouts, and even ab burners, join my Dynamic Strength App!


Fixing These 5 Abs Mistakes Was A Game Changer For Me!

Fixing These 5 Abs Mistakes Was A Game Changer For Me!

Want toned abs? That lean-looking six pack?

Then you’ll want to avoid these ab training mistakes.

And yes…I want to discuss the mistakes we make when it comes to our ab training routines.

Because while abs are revealed by what we do in the kitchen, our training can play a huge role in not only the speed but the quality of our results.

And too often our core work is an afterthought in our programming.

A few ab moves strung together, done randomly over the week.

Or some googled “best” core moves we do till they burn and our abs feel destroyed.

That’s why in this video I wanted to share 5 common mistakes I see people making and how to avoid them to really build a killer ab training routine!

Mistake #1: Doing Only Big Heavy Lifts To Work Your Core.

Yes, those big compound lifts DO strengthen your core.

But those moves alone aren’t enough.

Because your core is truly only being worked in one way during these moves – to brace. 

When really our abs, and the other muscles of our core, have so many different functions we can and should be addressing.

By including focused core work and isolation exercises for the different muscles of your core, not only can you create better muscle hypertrophy for more defined abs but you can truly strengthen any weak links. 

The stronger your weakest link, the more you can lift. And the more you can lift, the more muscle you can build which will only further improve your body comp results. 


Many of us even do this already with other areas. We include leg extensions to further strengthen our quads after lunges or squats. 

We do bicep curls after back exercises to further target our arms. 

The same thing needs to be done for our abs.

So stop just only focusing on compound moves. 

Include isolation work for your abs and core and address ALL of the functions these muscles perform from spinal flexion and lateral flexion to twisting and even anti-extension and flexion. 

Yes this means doing things like crunches, leg raises, and russian twists…the things so often demonized as not being functional. 

But strengthening movements those muscles are MEANT to perform is actually ESSENTIAL if we want to be functionally strong and see the definition we want!

Which actually brings me to Mistake #2…Fearing Moves Because You’ve Heard They’re “Bad.” 

I know I ruffled some feathers when I mentioned crunches and russian twists already.

Because over the last few years these have gathered more and more hate. 


But just because YOU have an injury that may make a move not right for YOU because you can’t control it, doesn’t make it wrong for someone else or even dangerous.

I can also tell you, too often it wasn’t the move that caused the problem even if you got hurt during it. 

It was improper recruitment patterns or us doing a move that wasn’t yet really earned which we couldn’t fully control that led to the issue.

Often the move we get injured on is even simply the straw that broke the camel’s back as overload had already built up without us fully realizing.

And moves like crunches and russian twists can actually be amazing exercises to target our abs and obliques and build that definition because of how isolated their focus is. 

Because they isolate those muscle groups so well, it can allow us to really learn to engage and activate those specific muscles to prevent overload to our spine.

Learning to control that proper spinal flexion and rotation is a key to avoiding aches and pains. 

So instead of demonizing these isolated movements, we need to use them more. And that focused activation of those core muscles will help you improve your definition.

The more stubborn an area, the more we want to include moves that really hone in on it and isolate it by working it during a movement pattern it controls.

Add more crunch variations where you can really feel your abs working in isolation. 

Include moves that work on lateral flexion to target your obliques like plank hip dips or the often also hated teapots.

Learn to CONTROL these movement patterns as you focus on isolating those muscles to work so you can have not only a sexy looking core but a strong one! 

And then as you include these moves, realize that you will need to progress them as you go if you want to build that definition.

(Ready for some killer core routines to get that defined 6-pack? Check out my Dynamic Strength App!)

Mistake #3 Is That We DON’T Create Progression In Our Core Work. 

If you’re repeating the same few ab exercises and never making them more challenging, even though you may feel a burn when you do them, you’re not going to keep getting better and better results.

You NEED to find ways to progress those basic exercises.

Whether you add resistance, change tempos, change up the range of motion, adjust training volume or even simply tweak the exact posture or positioning for a move, you need to progress things as you go. 

It’s not good enough that it just “feels” hard.

You need to advance the exercise over time or you’re not forcing the muscle to build back stronger. 

So if you’ve been doing the basic crunch, try holding a dumbbell to add resistance or increase the range of motion by doing it over a bosu. 

Or if you’ve been doing hanging knees to elbows, try toes to bar or just the pelvic tilt to change the range of motion and exact body positioning. 

If you’re shooting for 10-15 reps of a move and only able to do 10 with a weight one week, shoot to do 11 or 12 then next.

Even try just a slightly different variation of the same basic movement can be progression through the same but different! 

But focus on trying to make the move just a little bit harder over the weeks to build that definition. Don’t just go through the motions doing the same moves day after day after day!

Which is part of the 4th Mistake I often see people making – Not Including Diversity In Their Routine. 

We can not only create progression through the same but different, but even small tweaks in how you perform a move can impact exactly how they benefit you.

When we include a diversity of exercises we can address all of the different functions the muscles of our core have. 

It’s why it is key we don’t only work our core by using it to brace for big compound lifts like deadlifts or squats or rows.

We also need to include moves that work on spinal flexion, rotation and lateral flexion not to mention even strengthen muscles to AVOID unwanted extension, flexion or rotation. 

Yup both exercises that power movement, but that also help us prevent it!

And then not only do we want to use a diversity of movements to address all of the actions the muscles perform, we want to use different moves to target muscles to different extents. 

Through using a variety of exercises, you can target different aspects of your abs more or less.

While we don’t have a lower ab muscle, you can target the lower portion of your rectus abdominis to a greater extent through long lever plank variations and lower body crunches instead of doing the traditional crunch. 

Studies have shown that slight changes to our postures and positions can elicit better activation in different areas of the same muscle!

This can help us make sure we are truly getting the fully defined six pack we want!

But just make sure that whatever moves you include, you feel the correct muscles working.

This is where Mistake #5 comes into play…Letting Other Muscles Compensate. 

When you do an ab exercise, ask yourself, “What do I feel working?”

Because whatever you feel working is actually getting the benefit of that exercise.

If you feel your hip flexors or your lower back taking over, instead of your abs doing the work, those other muscles are therefore getting the “benefit” of the move.

This is often not only what leads to injury and us demonizing certain moves, but us also not seeing the ab definition we want resulting from all of our hard work.

If you don’t feel your abs or obliques working during a movement like they should be, regress to progress.

Maybe you need to modify a movement, reducing the resistance or strain on the muscle group as you earn that harder variation.

This could mean bending your knees and tapping your feet down during a full body crunch over extending your legs out straight if you can’t control that posterior pelvic tilt to avoid your lower back becoming overworked. 

Or it may mean implementing a different variation of an exercise, like using a resistance band around your heels during a sit up to remind yourself to push down into the ground and engage your hamstrings as you roll up so you feel your abs and not just your hip flexors working. 

Sometimes you have to change the exact way you use a move to make sure you can feel the correct muscles working.

But don’t just push through using a move someone else said was amazing if you don’t feel the correct muscles working.

Bonus Tip:

The final bonus tip I wanted to include to help you adjust your ab training to see amazing results was to be conscious of how frequently you’re doing core work and when you’re including it in your workouts. 

I find often ab training is used in one of two ways…

Either it is done every day for a bazillion reps.

Or it is done every once in a while as a complete afterthought.

Just like you want to design a clear weekly schedule to build results for other muscle groups, you want to do the same for your ab training. 

Consider including ab exercises 3-4 times a week at the end of your sessions, especially if this is a stubborn area for you. 

Working your abs with isolation exercises at the end of your workouts is helpful if you are including heavier lifts earlier on.

You don’t want your abs fatigued for those moves because that puts you at greater risk for injury.

Also by doing more frequent sessions over the week, you don’t have to go crazy destroying your core each and every time. The volume of work will still add up though over the week. 

This can help you not fatigue your abs so much that your following workouts suffer.

You want to get in the greatest volume of quality work you can to see the best results as fast as possible!

Like any stubborn muscle group you want to build and see amazing muscle definition in, you need to create a plan of action and not just randomly add in moves that feel hard. 

A clear plan so you can create progression and constantly challenge that muscle group is key.

And use that diversity of movement over your workout progressions to your advantage to not only keep things fun but create that killer defined six pack! 

For more tips to help you see that ab definition, especially for the first time, check out this video!

The Most Underrated Plank Exercise

The Most Underrated Plank Exercise

The plank is an amazing core move and a fundamental we need to include. 

But holding longer only helps us build strength to a point.

And just because a move is a must-do basic, doesn’t mean we can’t have fun using other variations especially to target specific muscles of our core more. 

Because the basic plank doesn’t help us work on that rotational core strength nor does it include any lateral flexion.

And learning to power and control both of these movements is key if we want not only a toned, strong core but also to improve our shoulder, hip, knee and even ankle stability.

So if you want to work those obliques and glutes even more with both a rotational and lateral flexion movement, while improve your shoulder stability try this amazing plank variation – the Plank with Oblique Knee Tuck! 

In this video, I’ll show you how to perform this move and modify it to fit your current fitness level so you can build a strong core!

And I’ll share my “secret” to finding a way to modify ANY exercise to fit someone’s needs and goals. 

How To Do The Plank With Oblique Knee Tuck:

This plank variation actually combines the basic front plank with the side plank as you transition from side to side with this rotational exercise.

And then it advances the basic side plank by adding in that oblique knee tuck.

Because you are stabilizing on just one arm and one leg, this move needs to be built up to slowly so that you aren’t overloading your shoulder or knee.

It is a challenging plank variation to work on your shoulder, hip and knee stability and will really work those obliques and glutes!

To do the Plank with Oblique Knee Tucks, set up in a forearm front plank from your elbows and toes.

Stack your elbows under your shoulders but outside your chest and focus on engaging your back to really lock your shoulders in place. Your hands will be in toward each other as your elbows are wider. This will feel more comfortable as you rotate.

You can even start with your arms fully perpendicular to your body under your shoulders.

Flex your quads as you drive back slightly through your heels and perform a small posterior pelvic tilt to feel your abs light up.

Maintain a nice straight line from your head to toes.

Then rotate to one side. Make sure your elbow stays stacked under your shoulder and your hips don’t drop as you twist.

As you move into that side plank, also make sure your foot that stays on the ground is flexed. This protects your knee and ankle to create better tension up your leg to engage your glute.

Squeeze your butt forward as you lift your top leg up and reach your top hand overhead.

Then tuck your elbow and knee together. You will crunch them together slightly in front of you, but do not allow your bottom hip to sag.

You want that bottom oblique and glute working!

After performing the tuck and reaching back out move back to face the ground and rotate into a side plank on the other side to perform the oblique knee tuck.

Do not rush this move. Take it slow to really stabilize and feel those obliques and glutes working!

So How Can You Modify This Move?

Adding movement to a plank exercise creates a new stability challenge. And side planks themselves are already very challenging.

You do not want ego to get in the way. So just because you can do a full plank from the ground, doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily earned this variation. 

The rotation into the side plank and then supporting yourself with only your bottom leg as you tuck the top leg, requires more strength and stability than we realize. 

If you find yourself losing balance or rushing, try first modifying with your elbow up on a bench, stair or incline. 

By lifting up your elbow, you reduce the resistance on your upper body and put less strength demands on your entire core. 

I prefer the incline to modify because it allows you to learn to engage everything down to your feet. 

When you do a knee plank variation, you don’t learn how to create tension into your lower leg.

As you build up and get comfortable with the movement pattern, you can move back to the ground. 

We have to remember it isn’t just strength sometimes but that mind-body connection we first need to work on with movements. We need to build that smooth coordination and get muscles engaged efficiently and correctly to progress.

So slow things down and use that incline.

However, if you find that you can do the full plank off the ground but that you lose balance as you alternate sides, you can even modify by doing one side at a time. 

Just rotate from that front plank to the same time to help you maintain that balance. Then after all reps are complete, switch to the side plank on the other side.

Now what if due to injury, an incline variation still isn’t right for you?

Because I know that not every move is right for every person, I wanted to share some tips to help you learn how to adjust any moves you ever need… 

So my secret to modifying moves?

Not being married to an exercise and instead always prioritizing the muscles I need to train and movement patterns I want to work on.

With this plank with oblique knee tuck, I always want to first see how I can simply regress the exact movement. 

But when this isn’t possible, I go back to why the move was being used in the first place.

Was it that I wanted rotational core work? That extra oblique and glute medius work? That lateral flexion?

When you have a goal for every move you include, you can easily swap in another move or moves that achieve those same goals whenever you need. 

If you did still want a balance and stability component while working on that lateral crunch, but that didn’t require strain on the shoulders, maybe you include a standing oblique knee tuck where you stay balanced on one side. 

Or maybe you wanted more of the rotational element to target your obliques and glutes unilaterally but can’t get down on the ground so you include a cable hip rotation. 

The point is, when modifying, you aren’t as much concerned with the exact exercise as the GOAL for the movement.

And whenever possible, you keep the exercise as close as possible to train that exact movement, build the mind-body connection and build up. 

But when that isn’t possible, you simply stay focused on the goal for including the move so you can see the same benefits!

There is always a way to find a movement variation to match our needs and goals. 

That’s why I love this amazing plank with oblique knee tuck when you want to work your glutes and obliques even more. 

And the rotational movement and lateral flexion are a great way to target your core in multiple planes of motion.

But if you can’t get down on the ground to enjoy this amazing plank move, give these non-floor core moves a try.

–> Non Floor Core Moves