1The Classic Plank

How it’s done:

  • Begin in push-up position leaning on your forearms and toes to the floor
  • Keep your torso straight and hold a line from your ears to your toes without any sagging
  • Keep your head relaxed and keeping eyes to the floor
Set count: Start with 3-4
Duration: 10-20 seconds working your way up to 60 seconds
Target zone: Entire Core


2Rope Crunch

How it’s done:

  • Kneel between 1 and 2 feet in front of a cable system with a rope attached
  • After selecting an appropriate weight, grasp the rope with both hands reaching overhead
  • Keep your torso upright in the starting position.
  • To begin flex at the spine, attempting to bring your rib cage to your legs as you pull the cable down
  • Pause at the bottom of the motion, and then slowly return to the starting position
  • Be sure to fully contract your core once you reach the bottom
  • Add a twist or go side to side target your obliques
Set count: Start with 3-4
Rep Count: 10-15 rep count. Start with light weight to ensure proper form
Target zone: Upper abs, entire core

3Leg Raises 

How it’s done:
  • Start by holding a bar above your head
  • Raise your legs in a straight position until they are parallel with the floor
  • Keep your legs straight as you slowly raise them up and down without braking the tension on your abs
  • Make sure your lower back straight and your body is not swinging
  • Important note *When you feel your lower back begin to arch, your lower abs are no longer engaged.
Set count: Start with 3-4 sets
Rep Count: 8-10 to start, build toward 12-15
Target zone: Lower abs, strengthen entire core

4Cable Wood Chops

How it’s done:
  • Attach a rope to a cable tower in the lowest pulley position
  • Grab both handles of the rope and then kneel down onto one knee that is closest to the cable attachment
  • Keep shoulders perpendicular to the stack and head looking straight
  • Starting from your waist look straight ahead pull the rope across your body finishing the movement at shoulder level
  • Slowly bring the weight back to the start position and repeat movement
  • Be sure to keep your core and abs tight at all times
Set count: Start with 3-4 sets
Rep Count: 10-15 controlled reps
Target zone: Obliques and Serratus

5Russian Twist

How it’s done:
  • Using an adjustable decline bench your legs should be bent and feet locked in
  • Starting position; keep your upper body elevated to about 45 degrees and hold that position
  • Extend your arms in front of you, approximately parallel to your thighs, twist your torso to the right side with a slow controlled movement as far as you can while exhaling
  • Hold the contraction for a second and move back to the starting position while breathing out.
  • Using a slow and controlled movement twist your torso to the left and back to start position
  • To make this move tougher, you can hold a dumbbell or weight plate at full extension
Set count: Start with 3-4 sets
Rep Count: 10-20 controlled reps
Target zone: Lower abs, Obliques
Vinnie Ruddy is a New York City Firefighter and Co-Owner of Force Fitness Club & Crossfit Ridgewood located in Queens. He has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years as a gym owner, personal trainer and men's physique competitor as a 3 time National qualifier.