Top fighters have some of the most shredded abs of any athletes on the planet, and with good reason since core training is one of the most emphasized areas of strength and conditioning in combat sports. The reason core training is so important to combat athletes is that it plays a crucial role in every aspect of the sport: a strong core stabilizes your body for more efficient movement, transfers force so that you can deliver powerful strikes, and helps you absorb hits. Even if you don’t ever plan on stepping in a ring or octagon, this ab circuit will have your abs looking like you’re in fighting shape. This circuit is attacks your muscles from a variety angles so that you work them in every direction imaginable.
Ab Wheel Rollouts: these work your anterior core and serve as a form of anti-extension core training.
–How to do it: Start out grabbing the handles from your knees and flex your glutes/abs. Make sure to keep your back straight as you lean forward until your arms are fully extended. From the extended position, roll the wheel back to the starting position. Remember to do the entire movement in a controlled fashion, technique is more important than speed of your reps.
Medicine Ball Decline Situps: this one is a great way to hit the lower abs
–How to do it: Secure your feet on a decline bench and lie back, holding the medicine ball behind your head. With your chin tucked into your chest, crunch your way up to the top position contracting your abs the entire way even at the top. Lower yourself back down to the starting position slowly.
Dumbbell Side Bend: this is a lateral flexion exercise, an excellent way to target your love handles
–How to do it: With your feet shoulder width apart, hold a relatively heavy dumbbell at one side. Place the hand that’s not holding the weight across your chest on your shoulder to support the arm holding the weight. Bend your waist to the side holding the weight as slowly as possible and contract when you reach as far as you can go. Return to the starting position by bending in the opposite direction, try not to just shrug the arms up as this is a core exercise not a shoulder one. Once you finish all your repetitions, do this with the opposite hand.
Standing Russian Twist: this is a rotational exercise which is a staple movement in all combat sports
–How to do it: Hold a medicine ball with both hands at chest level with your arms held out straight in front of you. Pivot your feet and rotate the ball across your torso and then reverse directions the opposite way. Keep your head, neck, and torso stable throughout the movement.
The circuit: Perform this circuit at the end of your workout or during the recovery portion of your interval workouts. Start out doing 20 reps of each exercise and gradually progress by either adding more weight or more reps.