Greek Statue Abs

A strong, well defined set of abs is a clear indicator of health, strength, and physical fitness. A chiseled “six pack” (your abdominal muscles without fat covering them up) is also very aesthetically pleasing. Don’t believe me? What looks better: a large, hairy and rotund belly that flops over someone’s waistband or a chiseled core that looks as though it has been carved from stone? I rest my case.

Now, back over a hundred years ago, strongmen built impressive cores that not only looked great but were exceptionally powerful. They used exercises that would make modern trainers wet themselves. So, if you don’t want a core that is “all show and no go”, then check out these three exercises that will build an awesome looking and functional six pack:

1) The Get Up Sit-Up – You’ll need a dumbbell or kettlebell for this exercise. Start by lying on your back with the weight (dumbbell or kettlebell) pressed fully out in one arm as though you have just completed a lying one arm chest press. Keep your legs straight. Now, take a deep breath and tighten your core and simply sit up in a slow and controlled manner. Make sure you keep the weight pressed out overhead and keep your core tight throughout the movement. Next reverse the movement and lay back down, again in a slow and controlled manner. At the bottom of the lift rest and take a breath, then repeat. Choose a weight that allows you to complete no more than 5-10 reps.

2) The Hanging Leg Raise – You’ll need a pull-up bar for this exercise. Start by hanging from the pull-up bar. Before starting the movement you will want to flex your latissimus dorsi muscles (the “lats”). This will help protect your shoulders. From this point all you need to do is tighten your abs and raise you legs up in front of you making sure to keep them straight throughout the movement. You will want to lift your legs until your feet are at a higher level than your waist. If this drill is too hard for you can bend your legs and turn this into a “hanging knee raise”. If the exercise is too easy try wearing heavy boots or grab a small dumbbell with you feet. You should be performing this movement in a slow and controlled manner – no swinging your legs with momentum. 8-10 reps ought to be sufficient.

3) The Saxon Side Bend – Stand with your feet together and two small dumbbells pressed out overhead (trust me you want to start small and slowly work your way up). From this position you will tighten your core and simply bend from side to side in a slow and controlled manner. This drill may sound easy but it will shred your obliques – don’t take it lightly. Aim for 8-15 reps.

These exercises can be completed in a traditional rep and set scheme where you do three or more sets of one exercise (resting 1-2 minutes between sets) before moving on to the next exercise. However, if you really want to ramp up your results I suggest doing these exercises as a circuit. Simply complete a set of one exercise and without rest move on to the second exercise and then do the same with the third exercise. Once you have completed a set for each exercise you have completed one circuit. You can rest 1 minute – 30 seconds between circuits, but you really don’t have to rest at all if you can take it.

How hard you want to go is up to you. I wish you the best of luck. Train Hard.

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