Roast Your Entire Core in 5 Minutes With This Sprinter Situp Series

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.
Photo credit: Eric Rosati
Photo credit: Eric Rosati

From Men's Health

You could do specific exercises for your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles. Or you could train them all at once. And if you want a core that both looks the part (read: a six-pack!) and performs like it, you're better off doing the latter.

Why? Because your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles, along with your glutes, are meant to function as a unit, says Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. And whenever possible, says Samuel, he wants you training them that way. "This preps your core to function with the balance you need in the real world," says Samuel. "And perhaps just as importantly, it'll help you save time in your core training, too."

You'll do that with Samuel's Gator Roll to Sprinter Situp Countup, a devilish core burner that's over in 5 or 6 minutes and leaves your whole midsection gassed. It does this with a blend of moves that batter your core from all angles.

First, there's the gator roll, a deceptively tough move that blasts everything. Your game plan seems simple: Roll from a hollow hold position into another hollow hold without ever letting your arms or legs touch the ground. "That means abs, obliques, and lower back muscles all take turns stabilizing and flexing your core into the ground," says Samuel. "It's the only way to keep legs and arms off the ground."

You're hitting everything in a uniquely symmetrical fashion, too; each part has to contract hard to hold your legs and arms off the ground. You go from that into the sprinter situps an asymmetrical move that has you crunching inwards with individual legs. "You're using your core in different ways," says Samuel, "just as you do in real life."

The best part: You can do this core series anywhere.

  • Start with your back on the ground, lower back glued to the floor, arms and legs slightly off the ground. Contract your abs and lift legs and shoulder blades off the ground. You're now in a hollow hold.

  • Roll over to the left onto your belly and then your back quickly; do this without letting arms or legs touch the ground. You should land in a hollow hold.

  • Go right into sprinter situps: Maintain a hollow hold and elevate your torso while tucking your right knee to your chest. Then return to a hollow hold and repeat the move on the other side. That's 2 reps.

  • Gator roll to the other side; now do 4 sprinter situps.

  • Repeat the pattern until you've completed the round of 10 sprinter situps.

  • Rest 1 minute; do 3 sets.

The Gator Roll to Sprinter Situp Countdown Series can be used in a variety of ways, says Samuel. You can easily do this as the final move in just about any workout, whether it's an upper-body session, a lower-body workout or a total-body blast. You can also use it as a quick standalone workout anytime. "If you're at home," says Samuel, "you're sitting a lot. You can easily get up and do a few sets of this to fire up a core that isn't necessarily in use when you're sitting. Attack it."

For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb's New Rules of Muscle program.


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