The 3 Best Abdominal Exercises that Are Not Traditional Ab Exercises

August 5, 2010

A unique ab workout that doesn’t contain your typical boring stomach exercises – no crunches or situps here

by Mike Geary – Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer

Instead of the typical ab routines that we see so often with crunches, situps, leg lifts, etc… I like to give my readers better options for metabolism-boosting high intensity workouts that work their entire body while also working their abs… thus building rock hard abs & core, but also creating a much better fat-burning workout than a typical ab workout.

I’m going to show you an example today of one of my favorite “ab workouts” that doesn’t include any direct “ab exercises” at all. It’s in a tri-set format (similar to a super-set but alternating between 3 exercises).

Here goes:

1a. Renegade Dumbbell Rows
1b. Front Squats with Barbell
1c. Mountain Climbers on Floor

A good rep scheme to use with this could be 3-4 sets of 8 reps for each exercise, or more sets for less reps, such as 5 sets of 5 reps of each exercise. Mountain climbers can be done for a time interval (such as 30 seconds) instead of “reps”.

Exercise Pics & Descriptions:

Renegade dumbbell rows are done starting in a pushup position with the hands on 2 dumbbells. You then row one dumbbell up while stabilizing your body with the other arm. Bring the dumbbell back to the ground and alternate the rowing arm while stabilizing with the opposite arm. This stabilizing effect during the rows creates incredible work for your entire midsection core area. Trust me… you’ll feel it in the abs!

Renegade Rows shown above

Front squats are done similar to back squats, however with the barbell in front of your body on the front of your shoulders instead of resting on the upper back as in back squats. You stabilize the barbell on your shoulders by crossing your arms and pushing your fists into the bar against your shoulders while keeping your elbows out in front of the body.

This takes a little practice at first, so you will want to seek a professional trainer at your gym to help you with the form. Front squats require extreme stabilization strength from the abs due to the barbell weight being shifted to the front of the body instead of the back. Even though this is mostly a leg exercise, you’ll feel this one in the abs big time!

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Front squats shown above

Mountain climbers are done by starting in a pushup position and then shuffling your feet in and out so that your knees are moving in under your chest and then back out to starting position. It sort of resembles climbing a mountain but flat on the floor. If you want an advanced version, you can also shuffle your hands 8-10 inches forward and backward in addition to the leg movements. This really makes it a full body exercise and MUCH more difficult than standard mountain climbers.

Mountain Climbers shown above

After finishing each exercise, rest about 30 seconds before starting the next exercise. Rest about 1-2 minutes after completing each “tri-set” before repeating.


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