Transversus Abdominus: Scrabble Ball
What you'll need: A stability ball, a pair of 2- to 5-pound dumbbells, and a mat.
- Get into plank position with hands under shoulders, legs extended, back straight, and feet on top of a stability ball, forming a line from head to heels.
- Keeping abs tight, roll ball under feet to spell out the letters of the alphabet.
- Aim to spell up to O.
- As you advance, try to make it all the way to Z.
Transversus Abdominus: Horizontal Plank
- Get into plank position on mat (hands under shoulders, legs extended, feet hip-width apart, back straight, abs engaged), holding a dumbbell in left hand.
- Slowly lift left arm straight out to side at shoulder height, keeping hips and core still.
- Lower arm.
- Do 10 reps, staying in plank.
- Switch arms; repeat.
Rectus Abdominus: V Rock and Roll
- Lie faceup on mat with legs together, toes pointed and arms extended overhead by ears, hands stacked (like you're about to dive into a pool).
- Engage abs and lift both legs and shoulders about 6 inches off ground, slowly rocking body back and forth.
- Do 10 reps.
Rectus Abdominus: Stand-Up
- Stand with back to mat, feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell vertically at chest with both hands.
- Squat to sit down.
- As soon as butt touches mat, bring knees into chest and roll onto shoulder blades.
Obliques: Around the World
- Lie back on top of a stability ball, butt slightly off edge of ball, feet hip-width apart on ground.
- Extend arms overhead in line with ears.
- Rotate upper body in a circular motion to the right, up, left and back, keeping abs tight.
- Do 10 full circles.
- Switch sides; repeat.
Obliques: Windshield Wipers
- Lie faceup with legs extended over hips, arms extended at shoulders, abs engaged.
Lower Back, Hips (Iliopsoas), Glutes: Glute Bridge
- Lie faceup on mat with arms by sides, knees bent and feet flat.
- Engage abs and glutes and slowly press hips toward sky, forming a straight line from knees to shoulders.
- Hold for 3 counts; lower.
- Do 12 reps.
- For a challenge, do the bridge with one leg lifted.
Lower Back, Hips (Iliopsoas), Glutes: Ball Opposites
- Lie facedown on top of a stability ball with palms on ground under shoulders, legs extended, and toes on ground.
- Squeeze glutes to lift right leg straight up while extending left arm out in front, keeping abs tight, shoulders relaxed, and head in line with spine.
- Hold for 1 count; lower.
- Switch sides; repeat.
- Do 16 reps, alternating sides.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July 2008.
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4 Weeks to Gorgeous Abs Workout
Get envy-worthy abs in one month! Choose one move from each zone to create a 1-move abs circuit that works your transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, obliques, and your lower back, hips (Iliopsoas) and glutes.