MusclePharm-sponsored athlete and Bodybuilding.com spokesmodel finalist Tyler Holt isn't afraid to challenge his physical limits. We're talking about the creator of the 1,000-rep arm workout, after all! Holt took that same spirit, minus a few hundred reps, and channeled it into this dual-circuit, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink core workout.
"This is a great workout to throw into your routine 1-2 times per week," he explains. "It's not just a bunch of crunches; it's a pretty intense core workout, so a couple times per week should be enough."
This workout gives you a little bit of everything: weighted exercises, timed sets, bodyweight movements, deep core and oblique work, and straight-up six-back burners. After getting though both those circuits, your core should be fried. Let's get started!
Toes-to-bar is a classic ab-building exercise you can do anywhere you have a pull-up bar.
"My focus on this exercise is tucking my hips forward and crunching my abs to get my feet all the way up," explains Holt.
If you need to tap your feet on the ground to get yourself stable and ready between reps, go ahead and do that. If you can't get your feet all the way to the bar, just bend your legs and drive your knees up as high as you can.
For this exercise, you'll need an incline bench, a cable stack, and a dumbbell. This is a combination of a weighted cable crunch and a dumbbell knee tuck.
"We're using weight at your head and weight at your feet so we can work the entire core from top to bottom," Holt says.
Using the rope attachment, position the bench below the high pulley and hold the ends of the ropes as you would for a regular cable crunch, hands on either side of your head. Hold the dumbbell between your feet and tuck your knees up while simultaneously crunching forward with the rope so your elbows meet your knees. Pause at the full contraction, then return to the starting position.
Cable Torso Twist
Position the cable at shoulder height and grasp the handle with both hands, palms facing together and thumbs pointed at the ceiling. Keep your arms mostly straight, and your chest up and back straight as you twist through your torso, rotating your shoulders and pulling the cable with you.
"You want to have a slight bend in the elbow on this exercise," explains Holt. "This keeps tension off the joint."
Keep your hands at the center of your chest throughout the movement so the twist happens at your core and not at your shoulders. Perform all the reps to one side first before switching to the other side. Once you've completed both sides, rest for a minute before repeating the entire circuit again, starting with the toes-to-bar. Complete three total rounds before moving on to the second circuit.
"This second circuit is all timed, all in one space, and uses no extra weight—just body weight," explains Holt.
For the V-ups, lie on your back with your arms overhead. You can use a mat if you prefer, or just perform these directly on the floor.
From this position, crunch up, trying to touch your hands to your feet at the top of the motion as you lift your upper and lower body into a "V" position. Your shoulder blades should come off the ground as you lift your feet until you pretty much balance on your tailbone in the middle. Pause before lowering back down, and try to get as many reps as you can in 30 seconds.
For the hip-dips, turn over into a plank position. Rotate the middle of your body so one hip touches the ground, then rotate the other way until the other hip touches the ground. Rotate your feet, too, so your body is actually moving on every rep.
"Even though you're rotating, you still want to keep your elbows still," says Holt. "Don't let them lift up." Repeat this motion back and forth for the entire 30 seconds.
Once you finish the hip-dips, go right into a stationary plank.
"On this exercise, you want to focus on keeping the core tight, so try to suck in your bellybutton to your spine," says Holt. "Don't let your hips sag, and don't let your lower back take over."
Get everything you can out of this exercise by squeezing your core as tight as you can, working every muscle in your core from your rectus abdominis to your obliques. After 30 seconds are up, you get to rest for 1 minute before completing two more rounds of this killer bodyweight circuit.