The Best Ab Exercises That CrossFitters Swear By for a Strong Core

You’re probably aware that CrossFit isn’t for the faint of heart. The workout of the day involves high-intensity, explosive exercises that will leave every muscle screaming — and by the end of the intense exercise session, you’re sure to leave loaded with endorphins. It’s no wonder CrossFitters are some of the strongest athletes around.

Not into attending a CrossFit class? No worries — you can still get a super strong core by adding some of the best moves from their workouts into your own routine. Here are the moves you need to try.

Tuck Crunches

Woman doing tuck crunches

Woman doing tuck crunches | iStock.com/Veles-Studio

Muscles worked: Upper abs, lower abs

Begin this move by lying on your back, Bodybuilding explains. Bend your knees and stack your knees directly over your hips (your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor). Keep your hands directly behind your ears or cross them over your chest. To begin, slowly lift your torso while keeping your lower back pressed into the floor. Lower back down to complete the rep. For an added challenge, hold a weight plate at chest level.

V-Ups

Muscles worked: Upper abs, lower abs, hip flexors

This move takes some coordination, so don’t worry if you can’t get it on the first try. Begin by lying on your back with arms and legs fully extended and together. Lift straightened legs up toward the ceiling, and at the same time, lift your upper body with arms straight by your ears (you should come into a V shape). Slowly lower your upper and lower body down to the floor to complete one rep.

L-sit holds

Muscles worked: Shoulders, lower abs, glutes, quads

You can either start this exercise on the ground or by placing your hands on an elevated surface, like parallel bars. From the ground, start in a sitting position with legs straight in front of you, quads and glutes fully engaged. Place your hands by your sides and push through your elbows to straighten them completely. With enough force, you should be able to lift your engaged legs off the ground. Hold the position for 10 seconds before relaxing.

Arch holds

Man doing an arch hold

Man doing an arch hold | iStock.com

Muscles worked: Back, upper abs, shoulders, glutes

CrossFit incorporates plenty of static holds, and this arched-body position is particularly great for building strength. Boxrox explains you start this position by lying face-down on the floor with legs straight and arms straight by your ears. To begin, squeeze your quads and glutes to hover your legs off the ground. At the same time, squeeze your chest and lock your elbows to hover your upper body as well. Hold this position for 10 seconds at a time before resting.

Hollow body rocks

Muscles worked: Upper abs, lower abs, back, hip flexors

Hollow body holds are vital in CrossFit — and the rocking motion adds an additional challenge. Start on your back with legs long and arms extended by your ears. Keeping your lower back pressed into the mat, lift straightened legs hovered a few inches off the ground. At the same time, lift your shoulders and straightened arms off the ground as well.

To start the rocking motion, lean toward your feet without breaking the half-moon body shape. Allow your body to rock back toward your upper body, and continue for 20 seconds before resting.

Plank shoulder touches

Muscles worked: Upper abs, lower abs, shoulders, glutes

Begin this plank variation by getting into proper high plank position (or push-up position). Make sure your glutes are squeezed, your back is flat, your abs are pulled in toward your belly button to engage them, and your hands are right below the shoulders.

To start the move, lift one hand up from the ground and touch the opposite shoulder. Repeat on the other side, moving quickly from one hand to the next. Make sure you’re not rocking from your hips while you do this. Stay completely steady to feel the abdominal burn.

Toes-to-bar

Sport, fitness, lifestyle

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

Muscles worked: Grip, shoulders, upper abs, lower abs, back

This move takes some time to get the hang of, as it involves a kipping motion and some coordination, Muscle & Fitness explains. Start by hanging on a pull-up bar with hands a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. To begin the movement, squeeze your glutes and your abs to hang in hollow body position, and initiate momentum by opening your shoulders, driving with your hips, and arching your back slightly.

Now that you’re in a backswing, use that momentum to go into your upswing and bring your toes up to touch the bar. Push against the bar, lift with the hips, and extend the legs at the top of the motion. As you come back down, move quickly into your backswing to generate that momentum one again.

Weighted sit-ups

Begin this move in sit-up position, either with knees bent and feet planted on the ground or legs totally straight. Hold a heavy weight to your chest and hug it to keep it stable. Then, initiate your sit-up by rolling up toward your knees, never letting go of the weight. Lower down slowly, first pressing your lower back into the floor, to complete one rep.

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