Savvy exercisers know that achieving a six-pack requires a combination of ab-centric resistance training and an intensive cardio program (as well as a clean diet). But can you blend cardio and strength work together in the interest of efficiency? Samantha Carmean, CSCS, SFG, PN, a Tier X coach with Equinox in New York City, says yes. “I came up with an effective solution that allows for actual muscle growth while helping you attain that ‘six-pack’ look,” Carmean says.
Each move in this five-move circuit is done for a two-minute interval, which is parsed out into four rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. “Two minutes is the zone where we begin to transition from the anaerobic energy system to aerobic metabolism,” Carmean says. “And the 20/10 [breakdown] allows just enough rest to perform the exercise repeatedly with good form.”
Move quickly from one exercise to the next and complete one to three rounds, depending on your fitness level. Rest two minutes between rounds. “As you build muscular endurance, gradually reduce the 10-second rest and aim to perform the full two minutes straight through,” Carmean says.
Start in plank with your hands under your shoulders and your head, hips and heels aligned. Keep your trunk stable and your hips square as you lower one arm at a time into a forearm plank. Reverse the steps to return to the top and continue, alternating arms.
Side Plank Knee to Elbow
Assume a full side plank, balancing on your left hand and left foot with your hips stacked. Reach your right arm overhead, then bring your right knee and right elbow together and tap them lightly. Extend both back to the start and repeat.
Gliding Mountain Climber
Assume a plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders and each foot on a gliding disc or small towel. Bend one knee and slide your foot toward your hands without lifting your hips or bending at the waist, then return to plank. Continue, alternating sides.
Anti-Rotational Band Hold
Anchor a resistance band at chest height to a stable object like a squat rack and stand sideways to the anchor point, moving far enough away that you feel a pull when you hold the band. Grasp the band handle in both hands, then extend your arms directly in front of your chest and hold, resisting the pull of the band.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes forward. Jump and turn your lower body side to side in a twisting action while keeping your shoulders square and your focus forward.