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Your ab circuits may be missing an important component. You can train your body with body movements like planks and hold everything you like – but to really take your sixpack to the next level, you should add a weighted resistance.
Men's Health Fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., uses a barbell to make his core work even harder during this decline-situp circuit. The sit-up has been mocked recently by some fitness authorities, but Samuel insists that the move can still be very effective ̵
"Situps and spinal flexion get a bad name in the fitness world today," he says. "Newsflash: One of the functions of your abdominals is to wait for it – to flex your spine – if we train so smartly, it's still a great way to build a six-pack."
I need a decay bank and a barbell. But do not just pick up the nearest 45-pound bar in your hand. Samuel says that you will need less weight than you might expect. "Even a 20s [pound bar] will kill most people if you really own that hold," he says, noting that he filmed the series himself with a 25-pound stick. If you're having trouble getting lighter or do not have access to smaller dumbbells, just use your body weight and keep your hands straight over your shoulders throughout the series.
- Starting in the hold position, start with your upper body parallel to the floor and hold the dumbbell directly above the shoulders. Do not let the bar slide over your chest.
- Press and hold for 2 seconds.
- Perform 3 situp reps by moving your back muscles to shoot the pole overhead.
- Return to the hold position.
- Repeat the cycle twice for a total of three clusters.
Samuel says that your abdominal muscles are sustained by both the situps and the braces that occur during the hold position. This is another important function of your core. "Regular bracing helps keep your situp shape clean and your awareness that your core needs to stay firm," he says. "We also add weight to the equation to really carve depth and shape into our abdominal muscles."
Add this burner to your training as a Core Finisher by completing 3 sets of the series, with about 1 minute between each set.