3 Ab Challenges You Might Not be Able to Complete on First Attempt

How capable is your core?

While you’re likely not going to PR your deadlift or clean, or achieve your first muscle-up while doing bodyweight workouts from your living room, there are tons of areas where you can still improve. One of these areas is your core and abdominal strength and stamina.

Though sit-ups and hollow rocks might not be as exciting as heavy front squats, the more you strengthen your abs, the stronger your clean will eventually be once you return to your lifting program.

To make it a bit competitive, here are three challenging workouts you might not be able to complete just yet, as well as ways to improve your ab strength so you can complete these challenges the next time you test them

Challenge 1: 100 Unbroken Perfect Hollow Rocks

Can you complete 100 unbroken hollow rocks?

Hollow rock standard: When you attempt these, make sure your arms remain straight overhead with your elbows locked, your knees remain locked and your feet together. Further, your heels should never raise above approximately eight inches from the ground (i.e. you maintain a perfect hollow body position throughout). Finally, your bum should lift off the ground as your shoulder blades touch the ground at the top of the hollow rock.

Hollow Hold

If you can’t do 100 perfect hollow rocks in a row, how many are you able to get before your form broke down, or your brain caused you to stop because you were in too much pain?

Training Session One:

Let’s say you got to 50 hollow rocks before you stopped. This is effectively your max effort number.

For the next four weeks, once or twice a week, complete 50 percent of that number and multiply it with as many sets that are required to hit 150 hollow rocks. Rest 30 seconds between each set. As it gets easier, decrease the rest time between each set.

In this case, you would do 25 hollow rocks x 6 sets.

Training Session Two:

Once or twice a week, complete 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest times 5 minutes of hollow rocks.

If this is too challenging, then begin with 20 seconds of work and 40 seconds of rest. As it gets easier, increase the working time and decrease the rest time. After four weeks, can you work for 45 or 50 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds for five minutes in a row?

After 4 to 6 weeks of repeating the above two training sessions, re-test your max effort unbroken perfect hollow rocks. Can you get closer to, or even hit 100 unbroken reps?

Challenge 2: Three Unbroken Ab Complex Rounds

V Up

  • 30 superman rocks
  • 30-second superman hold (Flip over and go immediately into):
  • 10 V-sits
  • 10 Tuck-ups
  • 10 sit-ups Rest 60 seconds and repeat two more times.If you’re not able to do the above complex unbroken, how close can you get?

Training session 1:

Once or twice a week, do the following:

Take the above sequence, but rest for 10-20 seconds between each movement. As it gets easier, decrease the rest time. And that gets easier, rest only between every second movement.

Superman Hold

Training session 2:

Once or twice a week, do the following:

Max reps in one minute: Superman rocks
Rest 30 seconds
Max time in one minute: Superman hold
Rest 30 seconds
Max reps in one minute: V-ups
Rest 30 seconds
Max reps in one minute: Sit-ups
Rest 30 seconds
Max time in one minute: Hollow hold

Try to beat your score each week from the previous week.

Challenge 3: 2-Minute Unbroken Hollow Hold

How long can you hold a perfect hollow body position, with your arms straight overhead, your heels four to six inches off the ground, and your lower back glued to the ground?

If you don’t last two minutes, how long can you last?

Training Session One:

Once or twice a week do the following:

Every minute on the minute: 20-40 seconds hollow hold for five minutes. As time goes by, increase your work time and decrease your rest time

Training Session Two:

Once or twice a week, do the following:

  • Accumulate three minutes in a hollow hold (rest as needed)
  • Accumulate three minutes in a straight-arm plank (rest as needed)
  • Accumulate 90 seconds per side in a straight-arm side plank