10-Minute Advanced Ab Workout for a Super Strong Core

Feel like you can do planks and crunches endlessly? You’re probably ready to put your core to the ultimate test with a more difficult ab workout than what the beginners are doing. As you know, a tough core workout will encompass the upper and lower abs, obliques, and back for a serious challenge. And moves that work every aspect of your midsection are sure to make you feel the burn.

Try this tough 10-minute workout to set your abs ablaze. Do each exercise for 50 seconds with a 10-second break between each.

1. Straight-leg leg lifts from a bar

Man doing ab exercises on a pull-up bar

Man doing ab exercises on a pull-up bar | iStock.com/dolgachov

Muscles worked: Lower abs, upper abs, back, shoulders, grip

How to: You’ll need a pull-up bar for this tough exercise. Begin with an overhand grip of the bar and pull your shoulders back and down from your ears to engage your lats. From here, keep your legs perfectly straight as you lift them. You’ll need to engage your core the entire time to keep from swinging. Once you get your legs as high as possible (to the bar is ideal), slowly lower them down to complete one rep.

Finding this move too difficult? Try bending your knees instead and bringing them toward your chest.

2. Medicine ball hollow body holds

Muscles worked: Lower abs, upper abs, back

How to: Begin by lying flat on your back and placing a medicine ball between your feet. Then, slowly lift your shoulders off the ground, keeping your low back glued to the ground. Lift your straightened legs while holding medicine ball a few inches off the ground next. Keep your hands extended by your sides, or for even more of a challenge, hold them straight by your ears.

3. Plank walk-outs

Muscles worked: Lower abs, upper abs, back, shoulders

How to: Get into push-up position, making sure your back is flat and your hands right below your shoulders. Then, keeping your core as still as possible, walk your hands out as far as you can without collapsing (ideally, your nose would be close to touching the ground). Slowly bring yourself back to push-up position to complete one rep.

4. Barbell or dumbbell sit-ups

Muscles worked: Upper abs, shoulders, lats

How to: Start by lying on your back with a barbell or dumbbell on your chest and legs long in front of you. Keep your abs engaged as you curl up (don’t let your legs float up as you curl). Then, lift the dumbbell or barbell straight overhead as you approach the top of your crunch. Lower the weight back down to your chest as you descend from your crunch to complete one rep — and don’t forget to switch arms halfway into your set.

5. Stability ball pike-ups

Man doing exercises on a stability ball

Man doing exercises on a stability ball | iStock.com

Muscles worked: Lower abs, shoulders, hips

How to: Place a large stability ball underneath your feet as you get into proper push-up position. Then, pike your hips upward as the ball rolls forward toward your hands. Most of your weight should be in your shoulders and arms at the end of the movement (as if you’re preparing to go into a handstand). Slowly lower your hips back down and roll the ball back to the starting position with your legs.

6. Weighted windshield wipers

Muscles worked: Lower abs, obliques, shoulders

How to: Lie on your back and grab a barbell or two dumbbells to hold directly above your chest, keeping arms straight. Contract your lower abs as you lift straightened legs to be directly above your hips. Then, slowly lower your straight legs down to the left without touching the floor, and bring them back up again. Lower your legs to the right next, and repeat.

7. Stability ball mountain climbers

Muscles worked: Lower abs, upper abs, hips, legs, shoulders

How to: It’s a mountain climber — but much harder. Get into push-up position while balancing a stability ball beneath your feet. Then, keeping your core tight and back flat, bring one knee to your chest and then the other before returning them to the ball. Your core will be working overtime trying to balance you on the ball and perform the move.

8. Front lever twists

Muscles worked: Back, shoulders, lower abs, obliques

How to: Grab on to a pull-up bar with either an overhand or chin-up grip. Then, perform the pull-up or chin-up to get your chin above the bar. Tuck your knees into your chest so your back is parallel with the ground. Twist your knees side to side to work your obliques for as long as you can.

Want an extra challenge? Try extending your legs fully in this position while your back is parallel to the ground.

9. Medicine ball V-ups

Muscles worked: Shoulders, glutes, upper abs, lower abs

How to: Lie on your back with arms outstretched by your ears holding a medicine ball and legs long. Crunch up with your upper abs and use your lower abs to lift your legs at the same time to create a “V” shape (this takes some coordination). Once you have the proper V-up down, try transferring the ball from your hands to between your feet at the top of the movement, and then back to your hands on the next rep.

10. Side plank toe touches

Woman doing a side plank

Woman doing a side plank | iStock.com/g-stockstudio

Muscles worked: Obliques

How to: Get into side plank position by lying on your left side with legs stacked straight. Press your left arm down straight and lift up with the hips to balance between your left arm and legs. Hold your side plank while your right leg kicks forward. Tap the toe of your right foot with your right hand before bringing your leg back to the other. Repeat this exercise for 25 seconds before switching sides.

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