Ab sessions are often performed in isolation, after the main training is complete, as an accessory or subsequently tackled. However, their core is vital to overall body strength, and you can often beat two muscle groups (or more) for the price of one – so make sure your routine includes exercises that give your core the chance to shine in the main set ,
Trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S. She uses these types of versatile exercises to keep her training fresh and effective, especially when she has to program restrictions such as access to the gym and the lack of equipment. That's when movements like the plank and leg extension come up in the clutch.
"With many of my clients exercising at home, I had to find different ways to do leg exercises that are not squats or lunges," she says. "This exercise is threefold whammy because it requires a lot of power and balance, but if you do enough repetitions, you're really going to start illuminating the quads."
The train is relatively easy to pull off, so all you need to burn the Core Quad is a low platform for your feet. If you really want a challenge, Atkins recommends using an exercise ball, like this option from Superior Fitness.
- Start in a push-up position, with your feet raised on the step, the exercise ball, or the low bench. Squeeze your buttock muscles and core together to keep the spine straight and in the right position.
- Move your weight slightly forward so that your shoulders are slightly in front of your wrists.
- Bend your knees to touch the ground.
- Hold your core as you stretch your legs at your knees and push quads to return to the starting position.
Depending on strength, you can use the plank and leg extension as a warm-up or burnout test to complete a workout on the day of the leg. Try 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps, and then add volume while mastering the form.
Would you like to learn more about Atkins? Take a look at our series with their training tips: Try Her Move.