Awesome abs

Training your abs is far more important than just aesthetics, it’s a fundamental building block for how your body moves and functions. To paraphrase Luke, one of our our mellifluous Performance Therapists here at Roar;  a distinction must be made between the abs and the core, the abs are external musculature where the core is the functional unit which stabilises and protects the spine.

Long  gone are the days where core training  is restricted to a few cursory crunches on a deflated swiss ball. Without question a better place to look when trying to achieve ultimate core strength would be in the gymnastic community, as they are the zen masters of achieving this firmament.

Below is a glimpse into how our London personal training team go about developing strong and functional mid sections.

Try out these 3 gymnastic basics for constructing a killer core.

Hollow Body Holds.


This gymnastic basic is not as easy as it appears, however is well worth the time and effort as it is crucial in developing a strong awareness of the spine and the pelvis and how the core interacts with both, the goal is to get to a 60’s hold for 3 sets in this full position.


-Point your toe’s
-Draw your belly button in and flatten your lower back to the floor

Regression for Beginners

If you find this too challenging simply switch to a sing leg or bent knee variation.

Tuck Front Leaver


The ultimate aim for the hollow body hold is to build the foundations for a gymnastic basic known as the front leaver. This regressed version is great for beginners and can be easily adapted into more complex moves such as skin the cats and full front leavers. Again the aim is to build up to 3 sets of 60’s holds.


-Keep your arms straight and visualise snapping the chin up bar with your hands, this will engage the scapular retractors and make the position stronger.
-keep your chin tucked and your neck and upper traps relaxed as possible.
-lift the pelvis and point the toes.

Hanging Garhammers


This is one of my favourite core exercises and is an adaptation of the gymnastic move known as the L Sit, think the classic Bruce Lee image. However, this regression allows you to get some much needed flexion through the abs.

A more advanced version of this exercise is called toes to bar, where you will lift the legs in a straight position from hanging, up until they meet the bar above your hands. In the Garhammer the knees are bent and can be lifted directly up or to each side, so just play around with it. Aim to do 3 sets of 25-30 reps with a 2010 tempo.


-Allow no swinging, use your abdominals to keep the body still.
-Put your mind in the muscle and focus on your core.
-Keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth, to limit recruiting the neck flexors.


Written by personal trainer David Lewis

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