You’ve been doing burpees for forever, and you’ve probably developed a relationship where you love to hate them. But the variation Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel C.S.C.S. wants you to try for his new All Out Studio program, Epic Abs, just convince you that there’s still something to actually love about the burpee.
The exercise, a burpee to a double hollow rock, cranks up the intensity and forces you to keep your core engaged and stabilized throughout, which will not only target your abs but also protect your lower back.
“In a classic worm burpee, everyone loses core tension when they drop to ground, and it gets worse as they fatigue,” Samuel says. “The hollow rock is a mid-rep reminder to maintain core tension. You will do fewer burpees, but they will be stricter, and you’ll definitely still get that heart rate up.”
On top of that, you’ll spend time rolling on the ground (yes, really), and that has more value than you think. “In between the lung-pounding portion of this move, and the core focus, you get to hone an underrated characteristic: childlike movement,” says Samuel. “Rolling on the ground is something we should all be good at, and it integrates upper and lower halves of our body. You work on that here.”
Want to know just how to do it? Check it out.
Drop into the bottom of a burpee. In this variation, you don’t have to pause in a plank and slowly lower through the negative of a pushup; rather, just flop yourself down on the ground. What comes next will remind you to do that with a little more focus on core stabilization.
Gator roll onto your back into a hollow-body position. That means the lower back is pressed firmly into the floor, legs extended out, and the arms extended overhead. Think legs about six inches off the floor and biceps by your ears. Remember, the farther you extend the arms and legs, the harder your abs have to work. “You can always scale the move and make it easier by not reaching out as far,” Samuel says.
Do two hollow rocks. While maintaining a strong hollow position, rock forward and backward, using the legs to generate enough momentum to rock your back off the ground. But don’t go too far; neither your heels nor your hands should touch the ground. After two reps, squeeze your core to stop your hollow rock.
Gator roll back onto your stomach and, keeping the core engaged, push yourself back toward a plank position, jump your feet forward and finish the move with the classic burpee jump with full hip extension.
To both elevate your heart rate and fry your abs, Samuel recommends performing the move for 3 to 4 sets of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off. As you perfect the form, you’ll feel your core engage throughout the whole movement, which will carry over to bigger, heavier and more explosive movements like back squats, overhead presses, and clean and jerks—and help you to build Epic Abs.
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