Training for a Tough Mudder can seem daunting. But don’t worry—you don’t need to run marathons, have a six-pack, a twelve-pack, or any pack, really. That said, having a strong core will help you maneuver through obstacles with ease.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to target the muscles that help stabilize your core. Try these do-anywhere exercises that'll work your abs and obliques into the six-pack you always dreamed of.
1. Reverse Crunch: Lower Abdominals
How to do it:
1. Lie down with your back flat against a bench.
2. Bring your legs together and knees up until your legs are at a 90 degree angle to your body (like you are sitting in horizontal chair.)
3. Grip the top of the bench with both hands right by your head.
4. Slowly lift your hips off the bench as high as you can while keeping shoulder blades on the bench, and then slowly return until your hips are back on the bench again.
5. The slower bring your hips up and down, the more it will work your lower abdominal muscles.
Why it works: A normal sit-up does not activate the lower abdominal muscles as much as a reverse crunch.
2. Hollow Body Hold: Lower and Upper Abdominals
How to do it:
1. Lie on the ground on your back.
2. Extend your arms above your head. Straighten your legs and lay them flat on the ground.
3. Lift your legs, arms, and upper back off the ground at the same time hold that position as long as you can by flexing your abs.
4. Then, slowly lower your legs, arms, and upper back back to the ground.
Why it works: When you lift your arms, legs, and upper back off the ground, you are forcing both your lower and upper abdominal muscles to contract.
3. Band Rotation: Obliques
How to do it:
1. You need a bit of equipment for this one. Grab a resistance band and something in the gym, such as the a bench, squat rack or pole, to loop the resistance band through.
2. Hold the band and walk out from the support until you feel tension in the band.
3. Facing a 90 degree angle away from the band support, extend your arms straight out with end of the band in hand.
4. As you extend your arm out in front of you, you will feel the band pulling you towards the anchor. Resist this for maximum oblique burn. The band will want to turn you to face where you have it anchored.
5. Hold for as long as you can.
6. Switch sides.
Why it works: The band is going to pull you back towards where it is anchored. Engage your oblique muscles to resist the pull and keep your arm straight and steady. If this is too easy, you can also turn toward the support with arms extended and slowly turn to starting position. This is called Band Rotation and will work one side of your obliques.