Not all ab exercises are created equal, and if you’re looking to build your core, it might be worth switching sit-ups out of your routine. Not only aren’t sit-ups the most effective exercise, but when performed with poor form, they can put a strain on your lower back and neck muscles.
So which ab exercises should you do instead? To answer that question, we turned to Thor himself — or next best thing, to the trainers behind Chris Hemsworth’s fitness app, Centr. (Read what happened when we used the Centr workout app for a month.) While we can’t be sure Hemsworth uses these moves himself, all of the exercises on this list will help strengthen your core.
There are a number of benefits to working your abdominal muscles. Strong abs can help reduce back pain, improve posture, help you lift heavier weights, and set a personal best at your next marathon. If visible abs are your goal, however, you’ll want to focus on your overall body fat percentage. Stress, diet, sleep, and fitness levels all affect your body fat percentage, not just ab workouts. Here you are how to calculate body fat percentageand why it matters.
Luke Zocchi, Chris Hemsworth’s personal trainer, told Tom’s Guide: “No matter how hard you train your abs if you don’t have a low enough body fat percentage, you don’t stand a chance of seeing that beloved six-pack you’ve been working on.” so hard for. It all comes down to diet and nutrition. To see those washable abs you need to be lean; we recommend men to be between 8-12% body fat and women around 14-18% body fat for the best shape.
6 ab exercises to build your core
Below, we’ve listed the top six exercises recommended by Hemsworth’s team. Remember, the key to really working your abs is moving slowly and with control. To turn it into a workout, do each exercise for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds and repeat the circuit twice.
Static bear strike
For this exercise, start in a high plank position, with your wrists stacked under your shoulders, abs engaged, and a straight line from heels to forehead. From here, step one leg forward, then the other, so you’re in a tabletop position, with your knees under your hips, suspended a few inches off the floor. Hold here for a few seconds, then return to your high board.
For this exercise, start in a Three-Legged Down Dog position, with your core engaged and one leg raised all the way to the ceiling. Keeping your core engaged, he lowers his leg down and under your body, touching it to the opposite elbow, then straightens his leg toward the sky and repeat. Perform all reps on one side, before switching to the other.
To perform a breaststroke plank, start in a low plank position, with your body weight on your elbows, legs extended, and abs contracted. Squeeze your abs and lift one foot off the floor. Bending the knee, he brings the knee towards the elbow on the same side: it doesn’t matter if they don’t touch. He extends his leg to the starting position and repeats on the opposite side.
To perform a supine v-up, start by lying on your back, with your lower back pressed into the mat and your legs raised toward the ceiling. Engage your core and lift your head and neck off the mat. At the same time, lower your legs to a 45-degree angle, or as far as you can go without your lower back lifting off the mat. Keeping your core engaged, crunch your legs against your chest, then extend them back at the same angle.
For this exercise, start in a tabletop position, with your lower back pressed into the mat and your hands behind your head—be careful not to pull your neck during this movement. He touches one foot to the ground and, at the same time, rotates from his torso to tap his elbow on the opposite knee. He keeps switching sides.
Begin by lying on your back, with your heels pressed into the floor. Straighten your arms toward the ceiling, engage your core, and lift your head, neck and torso off the mat, moving from your core, not your upper body. At the same time, it mimics pulling on a rope, as if you were climbing. Once you reach a seated position, slowly and with control return your body to the starting position.
As always, whether you’re new to an exercise or returning to training after an injury, it’s always a good idea to check your form with a personal trainer.