You found the perfect core routine eight weeks ago, but now you’ve plateaued. Being bored with your workout is one of the worst demotivators you can have. Add that to the fact that you won’t improve if you don’t change things up every once in a while. “As your core gets stronger, you need to add new challenges that include a fuller range of motion and less stability in order to maximize your results,” says Ashley Marriott, trainer and CEO of Optimal Living. Challenge yourself by making these tweaks to your abs workout four to five times a week.
1. Swiss Ball Pike Knee Drive
Try it if you’ve been doing: the Swiss ball pike. If you’re not a regular to the Swiss ball pike, start in pushup position with your feet on a Swiss ball. Keeping your legs straight, use your abs to bring your hips toward the ceiling.
How to perform the swiss ball pike knee drive: When your hips are lifted toward the ceiling, drive one knee toward your chest and keep the other leg on the ball while lowering yourself down. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
2. Hover Quadruped Reach
Try it if you’ve been doing: the bird dog, or quad arm and leg reach. On your hands and knees, lift your left arm and your right leg until they are in line with your body and parallel to the floor.
How to perform the hover quadruped reach: On all fours, press the palms of your hands and balls of your feet into the ground to raise your knees off of the floor. Keeping your left knee bent, lift your right leg off of the floor behind you and your left arm out in front of you. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
3. Hanging Knee Raise
Try it if you’ve been doing: the captain’s chair. Sitting in a chair and holding the arms, contract your abs to raise your legs and lift your knees toward your chest without swinging them.
How to perform the hanging knee raise: Do the same exercise with a pull-up bar instead of a chair. Grip the bar with an overhand grip and then raise your knees until they are parallel to the ground. Do not arch your back or swing your body—everything in this movement must be controlled in order to get the full impact. To make the move even harder, keep your legs straight and continue to bring your toes to the bar above your head.
4. Side Plank Knee Drive
Try it if you’ve been doing: side planks. Lying on your side with your legs straight, prop your upper body up with your forearm. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line while contracting your abs tightly. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
How to perform side plank knee drives: Hold a side plank, and then raise your top leg off the bottom leg and bring your top knee to your chest. Return to plank and repeat.