[WOTM, 12/2014] Upgrade Your Core This Winter With The Six-Pack Abs Gauntlet
Welcome to the fiery depths of abdominal hell. 11 exercises, 7 sets, 4 killer supersets, exponential difficulty, all undercut with a torturous burn. I’m no astrophysicist, but that equates, approximately, to one incinerated core.
December’s WOTM—The Six-Pack Abs Gauntlet—closes out the year strong with an ABS-olute hellbeast of a workout. Seriously, it might be the most vicious and insidious ab routine we’ve ever concocted. The gauntlet is an advanced, high-volume circuit that gradually traverses the entire midsection and aggressively attacks the sheath of muscle fibers circulating your core.
You’ll quickly weave in and out and gradually obliterate your six-pack muscles (the rectus abdominis), obliques, and lower abs. You’ll also hammer the inner transverse abdominis repeatedly, which sucks everything in tight like a souped up Dyson. As the workout progresses, the weight increases, the difficulty escalates, and the intensity spikes, bringing a waterfall of burn along with it.
Suck it up, buttercup.
Treat that slow burn like a barrel of TNT — with enough time, it’ll gradually blow up your core and revamp your entire midsection; eventually revealing a shiny new six-pack (mandatory mention: get your diet in order, otherwise all of this is moot).
Ready? ENTER THE GAUNTLET. And then share your conquests with us over at Lean It UP 360º. Badaboom.
[WOTM 12/2014] The Six-Pack Abs Gauntlet
Do the Six-Pack Abs Gauntlet 2-3x per week, on top of your regular workouts. Give yourself at least 2 days off in between each workout — your abs need to rest in order to recover and grow. Three quick things before jumping in:
- Rest for 1-1.5 minutes in between sets.
- For any applicable sets, adjust the weight to your own ability and gradually increase it over time. Just like any other muscle group, challenge = growth.
- Our printable infographic of the full workout is available here.
*Click on each applicable exercise name for a full pop-out video demo.
Protocol: 2 supersets — 15 reps per side + 60 seconds
Target Muscle(s): Abs (All)
- (1) Ab Sprinters — Lie flat on the floor. Explosively contract your core, crunch up, and bring your left knee/right elbow into the center of your body. Return to the floor and continue to alternate sides.
- (2) Ab Planks — Immediately flip over, squeeze your abs, and hold a plank for 60 seconds. Keep your body straight and your butt perked up (don’t let it sag).
Protocol: 2 supersets — 25 reps + 15 reps
Target Muscle(s): Rectus Abdominis, Lower Abs
- (1) Do 25 Swiss Ball Weighted Crunches. Place your lower back on top of a ball and hold a light weight behind your head. Powerfully crunch up and squeeze the contraction at the top. Up the weight as you get stronger.
- (2) Immediately flip over and do 15 Swiss Ball Jackknives. Place your feet on a ball and extend into push up position. Without arching your back, powerfully contract your lower abs and pull the ball into your stomach. Roll out and repeat.
Protocol: 2 supersets — 15 side + 40 reps
Target Muscles: Obliques, Abs (All)
- (1) Do 15 Cable Woodchoppers per side. Place the cable so that it’s in-line with the top of your stomach (lower than pictured). Powerfully torque your core and pull the cable across your abs. Keep your arms straight.
- (2) Immediately sit on your butt, grab a weight, and do 40 Russian Twists. Maintain a flat back, twist, and tap the weight against the ground on either side.
Protocol: 4 sets — 15 reps
Target Muscle(s): Lower Abs, Rectus Abdominis
- (1) Hang from a pull-up bar with your hands at shoulder-width.
- (2) While keeping your back straight, contract your lower abs and slowly raise your legs until they form a 90º angle with your torso. Do not swing, rock, or use momentum and keep your legs straight.
- (3) Slowly lower down to the bottom.
If Hanging Leg Raises are too difficult at first, replace with Hanging Knee Raises. You can also do Hanging Knee Raises on a Captain’s chair.
Protocol: 2 supersets — 45 reps + 20 reps
Target Muscle(s): Abs (All)
- (1) Do 45 Bicycle Crunches. Alternate sides and try to tap your elbow to the opposite knee.
- (2) Immediately flip over and do 20 Ab Rollouts. If you don’t have an ab wheel, use a Swiss ball instead. Extend out up until your back is flat (but no further), contract your core and lats, and pull the wheel back in.
Protocol: 2 sets — 15 reps/arm
Target Muscle(s): Core,Back, Biceps
- (1) Hold 2 dumbbells and get into push up position with your arms locked.
- (2) Maintain a flat back (try not to twist), keep your core tight, and powerfully row up into your torso. Do 15 rows per side.
Protocol: 2 sets — 20 reps
Target Muscle(s): Rectus Abdominis
- (1) Attach a triceps rope to a cable stack and set it to a high position. Set it to a weight that’s challenging, but lets you complete a full set.
- (2) Grab the rope and get on your knees. Sit back into your hips and pull the rope beside your head.
- (3) Powerfully contract your core, crunch your abs down towards the floor, and SQUEEZE the contraction. Your butt doesn’t move.
- (4) Slowly release and fully extend up. Repeat for 20 reps down the center, 15 left, and then 15 right. If you don’t have access to cables, use a resistance band instead.
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto.
I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP
, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid
, and all-around fitness junkie.
I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine
When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses
and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.
Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO)
& Snapchat (BRYDISANTO)
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