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You CAN Have A Six Pack

By Alex James

Every guy wants abs. Heck, just visit any gym around the world and you’ll see miles of dudes blasting their core and trying to build the coveted six-pack. But old school exercises like situps and crunches are out (and bad for you); now, if you want the ultimate midsection, you need to strengthen your muscles and do it in a way that’s safe and sexy.

Plank

The plank is unbeatable: It builds great core stability, it’s safe, and it can help everyone from an absolute beginner to the hardest of athletes.

But here’s the thing: Once you can hold a plank for a minute, there’s no use in holding it longer. Instead, make the plank harder -- elevate your feet, lift a leg, lift an arm, or do it on a stability ball. Put your feet on a sliding surface or in a suspension trainer and push your body backward, climb into a pushup position and back to a plank, curl one knee to your side, or do a side plank. You’re limited only by your creativity.

Kneeling Pallof Press

The kneeling Pallof Press is the best rotational core exercise because it teaches your torso to resist against rotation, which is exactly what it’s designed to do. Get on both knees and set a cable handle to chest height. While facing perpendicular to the cable, bring the handle to your chest. Brace your core, squeeze your glutes, and keep your shoulders and hips directly over your knees. Push the handle straight forward and hold for three seconds. Bring it back to your chest and repeat. Then, switch sides and repeat.

Stir-The-Pot

Get into a plank position with your forearms on a stability ball. Keep your core tight, glutes squeezed, and shoulders pulled back. While keeping your body still, stir your forearms and move the ball. Do 10 rotations in one direction and 10 in the other.

Kneeling Cable Chop

Diagonal exercises like kneeling cable chops strengthen the abdominal “slings” that stretch from your right chest to your left hip and vice versa, which are vital in throwing, running, or swinging a club. Over time, cable chops will help you build a strong core and improve your athleticism.

Get on both knees and set a cable bar or rope attachment above your head. While facing perpendicular to the cable, grab the bar or rope at both ends. Diagonally drag the bar or rope downward across your body. Lock out the arm farthest away and push forward with the arm closest to the machine. Finish your reps on one side and switch sides.

Rollouts

Get on your knees and place your hands on a stability ball. Push your hips forward, keep your arms straight and try to touch your nose to the ball -- keep your hips straight and squeeze your glutes the entire time. To make it harder, use a smaller ball, an ab-wheel or a barbell.

Single-Arm Carries

Carries are a badass way to sculpt a strong, sexy core. Grab a heavy dumbbell or kettle bell in one arm. Keep your shoulders pulled back, core tight, and hips level -- and walk as far as you can for 30 seconds. Switch arms and repeat.

Make it harder by closing your mouth and breathing through your nose.

Kneeling Kettlebell Halos

Place one or both knees on an inflatable disk. Grab a kettle bell in the “bottoms-up” position -- holding the handle with the round part up -- with both hands. Make circles around your head with the kettle bell and alternate directions. If you’re on one knee, repeat on the other leg.

Deadbug

The deadbug is an awesome exercise to blast your deep core muscles, especially for those with back pain. Lie on your back with your arms and knees in the air (like a dead bug), press your lower back into the ground, and lift your glutes. Reach out with your right leg and left leg at the same time while keeping your lower back flat on the ground, keeping your hips off the ground, and exhaling all of your air. Switch sides and repeat.

Landmine Twists

If you’re not using a landmine yet, start now -- it’s one of the most versatile pieces of equipment. From a standing position, grab the handles (or the barbell, if you don’t have handles). Keep your core tight and let your arms fall to one side without letting your body twist. Alternate on the other side.

If you don’t have a landmine, however, wedge a folded towel into a corner and place a barbell’s end into the towel. (Editor’s Note: We are not sure what your gym will say about this one, so if you get kicked out, don’t blame us.)

Stability Ball Jackknives

Get into a pushup position and place your shins on a stability ball. While keeping your upper-body still, curl your knees to your chest. Repeat.

Want to make it harder? Put your feet in a suspension trainer or try single-leg jackknives.

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