A sit-up routine doesn’t have to involve tons of crunches to get your core on fire. In fact, it doesn’t have to involve any crack. We’ve got a kettlebell abs workout that will seriously fire up your abs – and really, your entire core and body – in just six moves, no crunches required.
The secret to the effectiveness of this routine? Stabilization of the core through compound movements of the whole body.
Basic stabilization movements are « very functional », NASM certified personal trainer Alicia jamison, CPT, trainer at Fitness area in New York, says SELF. Compared to crunches, which isolate your abdominal muscles, core stabilization movements recruit multiple core muscles as well as tons of other muscles, such as your back, butt, legs, chest, shoulders, and hips. . Remember that your heart is not correct your abs (i.e. your rectus abdominis, or the muscles that run vertically along the front of your abdomen) – this also includes your obliques (the muscles on the sides of your torso) and transverse abdominals (the deepest muscles that lie below your obliques), as well as your glutes, pelvic floor, and the muscles that stabilize your spine and hips.
In this sense, core stabilization movements more closely mimic the movements you perform in everyday life than isolation exercises. Think about it: When performing everyday activities, like walking, getting off the ground, or carrying a heavy grocery bag up the stairs, you rarely use just one muscle group at a time to get the job done. Instead, you rely on many different muscle groups working together. Stabilizing core movements require similar multi-muscle coordination, which can make them a functional addition to your workout routine.
Another advantage of basic stabilization movements? They offer a lot for your exercise dollars, says Jamison, since you are working so many different body parts at the same time. This means that they can be a good addition to your routine when you are short on time but still want a heavy, full body workout. With that in mind, Jamison created the following six-move kettlebell workout, which focuses on core stabilization through functional full-body exercises.
You can do this workout two to three times a week, suggests Jamison, either as a stand-alone routine or in combination with cardio for a super intense workout. Just make sure you allow enough rest between sets of this workout (at least 48 hours, as a rule) so that your muscles have time to recover. It is also important to do a 5-10 minute warm-up before starting to improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury. Foam rolling, along with movements like side steps, spreads, show jumps, bodyweight squats, and high knees, can do the trick, says Jamison. (You can also consider these five pre-workout stretches designed to warm you up for any routine.)
So if you’re ready for some serious core stabilization and full body work in the form of a kettlebell abs workout, keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
What do you need: Two sets of kettlebells. A set of lights, between 5 and 10 pounds, for the Turkish outfit, the windmill, the row of renegades and the halo. And an average set, between 10 and 20 pounds, for the squat rack and the transport of the suitcase. (Of course, the weight varies for each person, but you can use these recommendations as a starting point!)
- turkish outfit
- Renegade row
- Rack squat
- Suitcase carry
- Each do 4 reps on each side of the Turkish outfit and 8 to 12 reps of the next two movements; try not to rest between exercises. After completing all three movements, rest for 90 seconds. Repeat for 2-3 rounds in total.
- Do 8 to 12 repetitions of each movement in Triset 2; try not to rest between movements. After completing all three movements, rest for 90 seconds. Repeat for 2-3 rounds in total.
The kettlebells we love:
Demonstration of the movements below are Amanda wheeler, host of the Cover the ground podcast (GIF 1); Salma nakhlawi, (GIFs 2 and 6), the founder of StrongHer Girls and strength coach; Sarah taylor (GIF 3), personal trainer and founder of the virtual plus size fitness program Fitness by Sarah Taylor; Saneeta harris (GIF 4), blogger, SFG Level 1 certified kettlebell trainer and founder of @NaturalHairGirlsWhoLift; and Davi Cohen (GIF 5), weightlifter, farmer, educator, dancer, singer, trainer and youth mentor based in Brooklyn.