Have you planked, crunched, sit-up and bicycled for years but still feel you want more out of your abs/core workout?  Want to try something new and challenging to wake up those abs?  Check out the 3 best “Not Your Normal” abdominal exercises:

Renegade dumbbell rows: Start in a pushup position with your hands holding on to 2 dumbbells. Then, one at a time, row one dumbbell up while stabilizing your body with the other arm. Bring the dumbbell back to the ground and alternate by rowing the opposite arm while stabilizing with the opposite side. This stabilizing effect during the rows creates an incredible workout for your entire midsection and core.  Be sure to keep the buttocks down and the back nice and flat which will help engage the abs more and protect the back.  Also, make sure the weights you use are not too heavy for you to control.

renegade row

Front squats:  Like a regular barbell squat except the barbell is in front of you (front of shoulders above chest) instead of resting on your back/shoulders behind you. First, stabilize the barbell on your shoulders by crossing your arms and holding your fists into the bar against your shoulders, keep your elbows out in front of the body.  This may take a little practice at first, so you will want to have someone spot you to help you with your form at first. Due to the barbell weight being in the front of the body instead of the back, this exercise requires extreme stabilization strength from the abs . Even though this is still a leg exercise, the abs have no choice but to kick in as well. Note, you do not have to add additional weights on the end of the barbell (as pictured) and actually for the first few times, I would not recommend it.

front squat

Mountain climbers:  Again, start in a pushup position.  Begin by shuffling/alternating 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. This not only will work out abs but also it is a great cardio boost and it a great exercise to do while traveling.  The key to this one is to fully extend the leg back out, keep the back as level as possible and keep the abs engaged to protect the lower back.

mountain climbers

Happy Fitness!

Paula Jamieson

Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutritionist

Atlanta Personal Fitness – a Bodyrich Company





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