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10 Exercises to Strengthen The Back and Abs

10 Exercises to Strengthen The Back and Abs

Strong abs and a strong back are two of a man's most desired qualities, and for good reason.

Building up the large muscle groups in the center of your body isn't just for show: it's also important for avoiding injuries and aches and pains that come with working out other muscles and daily life.

However, you must look past your mirror muscles and improve the often-overlooked ones as well.

Alyssa Ages, athlete with PowerNYC Training and trainer at Global Stronman Gym, Epic Hybrid Training, and Uplift Studios, says that “to develop a powerful back, you have to concentrate not just on the upper back muscles but also the lower back muscles for overall strength.” Rows (upright, twisted, and renegade; barbell and dumbbell), good mornings, and back extensions—all movements integrated into the following 10 routines—are among the best exercises for overall back power.

And doing a million crunches won't cut it (or get you cut), says Ages, when it comes to creating a stronger heart. “Adding weight to your core work (weighted sit-ups, weighted planks) makes your abs and supporting muscles work that much harder to combat the additional resistance,” she explains.

There are no reasons not to focus on these critical muscle groups when you have ten different workouts to choose from: If you don't have any equipment and just want to do a fast bodyweight workout or have barbells, dumbbells, a TRX, and more, there's a routine here for you.

You'll also be able to find something to suit your schedule: Do you have ten minutes? Try Workout #4 (warning: it's a tough workout). If you want to speed up your metabolism and burn more fat and calories, there's a Tabata routine, a CrossFit-inspired EMOM workout, a few regular circuit exercises, and more. So there's no reason for you to be bored mentally—and your body won't be bored physically, either.

Bodyweight Workout 1

Two small hand towels are needed (or gliders if you have them). It's all about body weight in this one.

How to do it: Complete each exercise for 60 seconds. Once you've completed all of the workouts, repeat the whole workout.

1) Climbers of mountains (the towels are under your toes)

2) Planks of Superman (towels under your toes, drag left knee to left elbow, then right knee to right elbow, repeat)

3) Plank knee tucks (place towels under your toes and pull your knees in toward your chest without raising your buttocks or torso). Don't sit with your knees tucked in; instead, push them forward and keep moving in a fluid motion.)

4) Gliding Supermans (towels under your hands, lying face down with arms outstretched in front of you). Arms glide across the floor to a “T” position as you raise your torso up.)

5) The plank reaches its maximum height (towels under your hands in high plank, extend left arm forward into an extended plank, return to center, repeat with right hand)

Workout 2: Lifting Weights

Dumbbells and a weight plate are needed.

For each exercise, complete three sets of 10-12 reps (with 60 seconds rest between sets).

1) Row with dumbbells

2) Sit-ups with weights (soles of the feet together, knees fall out to the sides in butterfly position; weight plate or dumbbell held overhead with arms straight)

3) Reverse dumbbell fly

4) A touch of Russia (use one dumbbell or weight plate)

5) Line of outlaws

Building a barbell is the third workout.

You'll require: a barbell

How to: Start with only the barbell for the first set, then gradually increase the weight for the subsequent sets. Before moving on to the next exercise, complete 12 reps of each. Rep the circuit three times more.

1) Row of Bentover

2) A strong pull

3) Exercising with a barbell

4) Pleasant mornings

Workout number four is a 10-minute set.

You'll need a pull-up bar and a kettlebell.

How to: In 10 minutes, complete as many rounds of the following exercises as possible.

1) Perform 5 strict pull-ups

2) Toes to the bar (or knees to elbows)

3) 15 swings with an American kettlebell

EMOM is the fifth workout.

Barbells or dumbbells are needed.

How: For 20 minutes, perform an EMOM (every minute, on the minute). In one minute, complete all of the exercises as quickly as possible. The minute's rest time is whatever time you have left (so if you finish in 30 seconds, you have 30 seconds rest time). Every minute, on the minute, start over.

1) 5 rows with a barbell or dumbbell

2) Perform 5 burpees

Rows (Workout 6)

Kettlebells and a barbell are needed.

How to: Complete the prescribed number of reps for each exercise before moving on to the next. After one minute of rest, repeat the entire list of exercises twice more.

1) Traditional Turkish attire (10; 5 on each side)

2) Rows of T-bars (12)

3) Windmills made of kettlebells (12; 6 on each side)

4) Lines in reverse (10)

7th Workout: BAB

Pull-up bar, dumbbells, or kettlebells are needed.

Two bullets are used. In round 1, perform the A exercise for 30 seconds, then the B, then the A again, with no break in between. Before moving on to the next set of ABA, take a 60-second break. Rest two minutes after completing all six exercises as ABA, then repeat as BAB, with exercise B being done twice.

Burpees A: Plank hold B: Burpees A: Burpees A: Burpees A: Burpe

2) A: Wipers for the windshield B: Rows of renegades

3) Knees to elbows (A) Pull-ups (B)

4) A: Strong pull B: Sit-ups with weights

5) Supermans A: Plank-to-Pike B: Plank-to-Pike

6) A: A variation on the Russian B: Fly in the opposite direction

TRX Workout #8

TRX is needed.

How: Tabatas are performed back-to-back. Complete one full Tabata with #1, one full Tabata with #2, and so on, with one minute of rest between each.

1) TRX repetitions

TRX body saws are two types of body saws.

3) Pushups with a TRX

4) Mountain climbers who use TRX

Workout 9: Burpees, ball, and bar

You'll need an ab ball and a pull-up bar.

How: It's all about bodyweight in this one. With each exercise, go all out for 60 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next. After completing the entire set of exercises, take a two-minute break. One more time, go through the whole workout.

1) V-necks

2) Supermans

3) On an ab ball, do a plank to pike.

4) Chin-ups 

5) Burpees 

Dumbbells (Workout 10)

Dumbbells are needed.

How to do it: Time yourself for one round of all the exercises and reps mentioned below. For round 2, take a two-minute break and try to beat the time.

1) Dumbbell row with one arm (8 reps each side)

2) Crunches on a bicycle (30 reps)

3) Reverse dumbbell fly (12 reps)

4) Weighted incline situps (20)

5) Climbers of mountains (50)