Your February Workout Program

Abs Don’t Mean 24/7 Crunches, Train Your Core with Every Exercise

You want abs. We get it. But that doesn’t mean you need to pump out crunches and sit-ups and live in plank position for three straight months.

Definitely not, because you can train your abs in every moment of every workout. Truth is, your core should be firing hyperactively whenever you’re lifting a weight, doing a pushup, or gutting out a sit-up. And if you do those moves correctly, you won’t actually need much direct ab work to get the six-pack of your dreams, either.

The key is the right mix of moves, and you’ll get those in this month’s workout. Leg exercises, unilateral exercises, and unique exercises that take your body off-balance challenge your core to work extra-hard at all times — which is exactly what you’ll do in this 40-minute workout.

Directions: Do it three times a week, resting at least one day between sessions. Warm-up for every workout with a 3-round circuit of basic moves: Do 30 seconds of jumping jacks; 10 bodyweight reverse lunges; 6, 2-second Superman holds; and 2, 30-second side planks. Then get to work.

Paused Goblet Squat

Stand holding a heavy dumbbell at your chest, feet shoulder-width apart, core tight. Bend at the knees and push your butt back, lowering into a squat. When your thighs are parallel to the ground, pause and hold the position for 3 seconds. Stand back up, squeezing your glutes at the top. That’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.

Staggered-Stance Romanian Deadlift

Start standing, holding dumbbells at your sides… core and glutes tight, shoulder blades squeezed, feet slightly wider than hip-width. Step your right foot back slightly so your right forefoot is on the ground, heel off the floor. Keep the majority of your weight on your left foot. This is the start. Now, keeping the dumbbells close to your thighs, bend at the waist and push your butt back, lowering the dumbbells. Lower them until you start to feel your back round, or you start feeling tension in your hamstrings, whichever comes first. Pause for one second, then stand back up, squeezing your glutes. Focus on keeping your hips and shoulder square the entire time. That’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per side.

Half-Bench Single-Arm Press

Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in your right hand, and shimmy toward the right of the bench until your right shoulder blade, your right glute, and your spine is off the bench. The dumbbell should be directly over your right shoulder, arm straight. Squeeze your right glute hard, keeping both feet flat on the floor, and focus on keeping your torso steady. Bend at the elbow and shoulder, lowering the dumbbell toward your chest; pause for a moment when the dumbbell is an inch from your chest, then press back up. That’s 1 rep. Do 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps per side.

Half-Iso Incline Row

Set an incline bench to a 45-degree angle, then lie with your chest and abs on the bench. Squeeze your abs and glutes. Hold dumbbells in your hands, arms hanging naturally. Keeping your abs and glutes tight, row the dumbbells upward toward your rib cage. Pause and squeeze your shoulder blades when your upper arms are in line with your shoulders. Keep squeezing the right arm as you lower your left arm so it’s straight, then row the left arm back upwards. Lower both arms. That’s 1 rep. Do 8 to 10 pairs of reps – 3 sets.