Forge An Iron Core

Injury-proof your workout and redefine your abs with the ultimate upper-body circuit
By Trevor Thieme, Photographs by Glen Burrows

WASHBOARD ABS TURN HEADS, but for many guys the dividends stop there. “That’s because they train their abs in isolation instead of thinking about how they’re meant to be used—as stabilizers,” says Budd Coates, fitness director at Men’s Health’s parent company, Rodale. So Coates developed the CoreSlider ($22,, a pair of hand paddles that glide easily across any surface, forcing every muscle in your torso to work in synchrony to stabilize your body. The result: a killer six-pack that also provides real-world power. The CoreSlider creates “an excellent shoulder workout, too,” says Coates, a 2:13 marathoner who regularly does the following routine to build a stronger, more balanced body.


Unless otherwise specified, start each exercise by assuming a modified pushup position—arms straight below your shoulders with a CoreSlider in each hand, knees and toes on the floor. Perform the exercises as a circuit, moving from one to the next without rest. Once you’ve completed all four, rest for 1 minute. Repeat for a total of 2 or 3 circuits.
1. Fly pushup
MUSCLES WORKED: Abs, chest, shoulders, triceps
Without moving your right CoreSlider, lower your torso while pushing your left CoreSlider toward 9 o’clock. Return to the starting position and repeat three more times, sliding your left arm toward the 10, 11, and then 12 o’clock positions. Repeat with your right arm.
2. Reverse snow angel
MUSCLES WORKED: Anterior core, back, shoulders
Lie facedown, CoreSliders by your sides. Push down on them for 3 seconds. Move your hands to 7 and 5 o’clock and push down again. Repeat at each hour, up to 12 o’clock. Return to the start, push down, and sweep your hands up to 12 o’clock and down again. That’s 1 rep; do 5 to 10.
3. Wax on, wax off
MUSCLES WORKED: Abs, chest, shoulders, biceps, glutes
Simultaneously move each CoreSlider in one complete 18-inch circle (left moves counterclockwise, right moves clockwise). That’s 1 rep; do 5 to 15, and then repeat in the opposite directions.
4. Assisted straight-leg situp
MUSCLES WORKED: Abs, obliques, shoulders, back
Sit with your legs straight and CoreSliders on the floor under your shoulders. Push the CoreSliders out to 9 and 3 o’clock as you lower your torso to 20 degrees off the floor. Return to the sitting position by pushing down on the CoreSliders and drawing them to your body. That’s 1 rep; do 5 to 15.

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