The plank is a virtuous thing – the rock-steady route to real core strength – but it’s also far from an inspiring exercise. Considering the most effective abs plan is the one you stick to, we asked PT and six-pack owner Bradley Simmonds to up the ante.
Smoke your core for fun with this six-of-the-best circuit. “Complete it five times, against the clock,” says Simmonds, who recommends starting with 5kg dumbbells and working up to 10kg. It’s crunch time.
Hollow Rocks, 30sec, rest as necessary
Hold a weight and lie with your legs straight, arms overhead (A). Squeeze your core. Lift your arms, shoulders and legs off the floor. Hold, pressing your lower back down (B). Rock back and forth.
Dead bug, 20 reps, rest as necessary
With a dumbbell in each hand, lift your arms towards the ceiling. Raise your legs, your knees bent at 90º (A). Slowly extend your left arm and right leg simultaneously, keeping your back straight (B). Return, then repeat on the other side.
Jack Knives, 10 reps, rest as necessary
Now, lie back, extend your arms and straighten your legs, this time with one weight in your hands and another clasped between your feet (A). Bring your arms and legs together to meet in the middle, as if you’re folding yourself in two (B). Then repeat – lots.
V-sit crunch, 10 reps, rest as necessary
With one weight in both hands, lie with your arms above your head. Lift your legs as high as you can, keeping them straight and your feet together. Hold. Crunching your abs, lift your arms to your feet. Lower slowly; go again.
Sit-up punch, 10 reps, rest as necessary
Finish strong. Grab two dumbbells and set up in the classic sit-up position (A). Contract your abs, and at the top of the move, punch each arm across your body (B). Rest after 10 reps, then tackle the circuit again, all the way from the top.
Russian twist, 20 reps, rest as necessary
Time to target your obliques. In a seated position with your knees bent and your feet flat, lean back. Clasp the weight, brace your core and raise your legs off the floor. Twist your arms and torso to the right (A), then the left (B). Keep going.