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Surviving This Extreme Ab Workout Will Be a Challenge

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  • Post last modified:September 25, 2023

If you want to revamp your core exercise routine, here’s your opportunity: This is the ultimate vigorous abs workout designed specifically to target each of your core muscles. And it will definitely enhance your core strength to the next level, since it was devised by Shaun T, the originator of the Insanity workout program.

For your information, there are no basic movements in this workout — this vigorous abs workout (demonstrated here by trainer Rebecca Kennedy) is the real deal.

How it operates: Commence with 10 repetitions of each exercise, and see if you can progress to 15 or 20.

The Muscle: Spinal Erectors

Peter Ardito

The spinal erectors consist of paired bundles of muscles and tendons that latch onto the spine. It runs alongside the edges of the spinal column and attaches to the back of your pelvis to safeguard and strengthen your entire back.

The Vigorous Abs Workout Move: Diamond Back

“People forget that to have astonishing abs, you need to have a sturdy back,” says Shaun T. “This move is misleading: It doesn’t appear nearly as demanding as it is,” he adds.

A. Lie facedown on the floor and contract your glutes so that your legs slightly lift off of the floor. Raise your chest and extend your arms out in front of your body, off of the floor, to commence.

B. Keeping your chest lifted, draw one elbow toward the back.

C. Extend that arm back to its starting position, then repeat on the other side. That constitutes one repetition.

The Muscle: Rectus Abdominis

When most individuals mention “abs,” they are referring to the rectus abdominis. It’s a lengthy, paired muscle that, thanks to connective tissue, gives abs their six-pack appearance. Moreover, it functions to assist your torso in bending forward, which is fairly crucial if you desire to get out of bed or bend down to pick up anything. (

The Vigorous Abs Workout Move: Scissor Clap

“This vigorous ab workout move provides a great burn, but it’s entertaining to do at the same time. Every time I hear that clap, I know I am committed!” says Shaun T.

A. Lie faceup on the floor, with your shoulder blades raised off the floor and legs extended.

B. Keeping both legs straight, lift your right leg so that your legs form an “L” shape, lifting your torso to clap your hands behind your right leg.

C. Tilt the upper body slightly backwards and lower the right leg, then immediately lift the left leg and perform a sit-up to repeat on the opposite side. That completes one repetition.

The Muscle: Outer Obliques

Peter Ardito

Among the largest and outermost muscles in your midsection, the outer obliques are located on each side. They assist in lateral bending and rotation of the spine. (

The Intense Abs Workout Move: Oblique Knee Lift in Low Plank

If you found side planks challenging, brace yourself.

A. Begin in a side plank position, balancing on one forearm with the shoulder directly above the elbow. Keep the other hand at chest level.

B. Lift the top knee towards the chest until it touches the hand, then lower it back down, maintaining the side plank position throughout. Complete all repetitions on one side, then switch sides and repeat.

The Muscle: Inner Obliques

Peter Ardito

The inner obliques are located under and perpendicular to the outer obliques. They work in conjunction with the outer obliques to facilitate bending and rotation. They also assist the diaphragm in exhalation during exercise, which is crucial for enabling you to exert yourself more intensely and for a longer duration.

The Intense Abs Workout Move: Abdominal Sprint

Not a fan of actual running? Give this a try. (Then familiarize yourself with the essentials of running for beginners.)

A. Lie face up on the floor with legs fully extended. Lift the legs just off the floor, sit the torso up to a 45-degree angle, and bring one knee towards the chest to initiate the movement. Allow the opposite elbow to swing forward as if running.

B. Switch legs and arms without allowing the feet to touch the floor. That completes one repetition.

The Muscle: Transverse Abdominis

Peter Ardito

The transverse abdominis, your deepest abdominal muscle, runs along the front and sides of your abdomen and acts like a corset, cinching it in. It is also the powerhouse of your entire core, supplying the necessary energy for athletic performance, whether you’re engaged in running, swimming, weightlifting, or cycling. (See: The Significance of Core Strength)

The Intense Abs Workout Move: Drum V

“There’s something about forcefully striking your stomach with your fists that taps into your primal instincts and compels you to push yourself to your limits,” says Shaun T.

A. Sit on the floor with your legs extended.

Recline marginally to balance on buttocks and hoist legs upward until the complete physique takes on a “V” form.

B. Employ clenched hands and strike them (with moderate force!) against stomach muscles while sustaining the “V” formation. Repeat for 30 seconds.

The Muscle: Hip Flexors

Peter Ardito

The hip flexors are a cluster of muscles in the pelvic area and upper thighs, and they’re those “lower abs” that everyone struggles with reaching. More significant than appearance, though, they’re vital for core strength and athletic performance. And since they’re responsible for propelling your knees up to your chest and maintaining alignment between your pelvis and thighs, any weaknesses can expose you to the risk of running injuries.

The Challenging Abs Workout Movement: Pike Up

“I adore this movement because it’s akin to performing exercises on the ball, minus the ball,” says Shaun T. “It’s exceptionally beneficial for the lower abs, which I acknowledge can be a challenging area,” he adds.

A. Commence in a high plank position. Then, while keeping your legs together and straight, spring your feet towards your chest, elevating your rear end towards the ceiling to assume an inverted “V” formation.

B. Halt momentarily at the zenith, then spring your feet back out to the plank position.

The Muscle: Multifidus

Peter Ardito

A slender, elongated muscle that extends from the base of your spine to the middle of your back, the multifidus furnishes stability and support to the spinal column. It facilitates optimal functioning of each vertebra and helps maintain a state free from injury.

The Challenging Abs Workout Movement: Alternating Plank Balance

“This exercise is exceedingly difficult and ceaselessly presents challenges to me. My objective is to minimize the extent of wobbling, and only then do I realize that I am truly engaging my core,” says Shaun T.

A. Initiate in high plank position. Next, simultaneously extend your left arm in front of your body and your right leg behind your body.

B. Pause, ensuring that your hips remain parallel to the ground.

C. Gradually lower your hand and foot towards the floor. Repeat on the opposite side. That completes one repetition.

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