We’re using a medicine ball for this workout, but you could use a dumbbell or other weighted object if you don’t have one. I’m calling this a core workout, but your arms and legs will be feeling it as well–especially if you use a heavier weight. There are two bodyweight exercises thrown into the circuit purposely to give your arms a little breather in the event upper body fatigue is hindering the core work.
While I wouldn’t say this workout is “easy” (the first two sets especially are tough!), I’d consider it easier than some of the other core workouts I’ve shared. It’s a good one if you’re a beginner (just chose a light med ball or even just bodyweight) or have mobility impairments preventing you from comfortably getting down to the floor for crunches and other supine ab exercises.
- Medicine ball (I shot the workout with a 6-lb med ball because it’s all I have at home but would have liked to challenge myself with a 10-lb–next time!)
The structure of this workout is a time pyramid. Each time you go through the circuit you’ll stay on the exercises for less time. Here’s the breakdown:
- 60 seconds each exercise
- 60 seconds rest
- 45 seconds each exercise
- 45 seconds rest
- 30 seconds each exercise
- 30 seconds rest
- 15 seconds each exercise
Try not to rest in between exercises. Only rest as specified above (after a full set). In total, this workout will take you 20 minutes to complete. The goal is to complete as many reps of the exercise as possible in the specified time interval. That being said, never sacrifice proper form for the sake of speed!
As with all workouts, make sure to warm up beforehand. Always listen to your body and modify when needed.
Marching Front Chop
Start standing with arms straight, med ball held overhead. Keeping your arms straight, you’re going to chop the ball down in front of you as you lift one knee up towards it (as if you were going to spike the ball off your knee). Raise the ball back overhead as you lower the foot back to the floor and repeat on the other side.
Crossbody Woodchop RIGHT
You want a wide stance for this one with both feet pointing forward. With the lower body, I want you to think side lunge; with the upper body think of tracing a diagonal line with the medicine ball.. Start with the legs straight, med ball held in straight arms up and overhead to the left (you want your torso twisted so that you’re facing the left side of the room). Keeping the arms straight, chop the med ball down towards your right foot as you bend into the right knee (remember, think side lunge) and twist to face the right side of the floor. Reverse the movement back to the starting position and repeat the to the LEFT
Standing Bicycle Crunch
Start standing with feet a little wider than hip’s width apart, chest open, fingertips behind the ears and elbows out wide. From this starting position, you’re going to crunch the right elbow down and across your body to touch the opposite knee, which you’ll bend and lift up towards it, squeezing your low abs. Don’t worry if you can’t make physical contact between the knee and elbow; focus on pulling your core in tight and just get them as close as possible. Return to starting position and repeat to the other side.
Torso Twist to Front Chop in Lunge RIGHT
Start in a lunge position with your right foot forward; ball of the left foot planted behind you. Feet should be hip’s width apart (you’re not walking on a tight rope–you want a stable base!). If joint mobility allows, you want to find a 90-degree bend with the front knee. Hold the med ball at chest height, arms straight in front of you. Keeping the arms straight, twist towards the right side of the room so that the ball twists over the front leg. Twist back to center and then chop the ball down towards your back knee, crunching through the core to lower it. Rise back to starting position and repeat to the LEFT.
Sumo Squat Obliques Crunches
You’ll be in a wide sumo squat position the entire time with the lower body. You want a wide squat stance with your toes pointing outward; knees track in line with the toes. Chest open, have your fingertips lightly behind your head or hovering by the ears, elbows bent out wide to the side. From here, dip your right elbow towards your right knee, contracting the right side obliques. Lift upright and over to the left. As you crunch down side to side, think of staying in a single plane of motion; don’t lean forward as you dip to the side. So picture your torso is sandwiched between two walls, one against your back and one against your chest. Stay between the walls.
Side note: Every time I do this exercise I can’t help singing “I’m a little teapot short and stout…” in my head. Please tell me someone else’s mind goes to that when doing side bend motions??
Via: Pumps & Irons
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