10 Ways to Work Your Core As You Prepare for Your Next Acting Role

Okay so it’s that time of year!  For me that doesn’t mean a New Year’s Resolution to get abs it’s simply about a six-week period leading up to filming a role.  I don’t always get that much lead time and frankly I need to be working on staying lean year round (but like most people that’s easier said than done).  So as I am hitting workouts I am focused on ways to work my core and here are some of my favorites including a new technical way to do it.

  • Bicycle crunches – link – These I try to do 30 or so in each round.  After you get a few rounds in this should be a challenge but if it is not, just increase the number per round until you are zonked after 4 or 5 rounds.  If you can’t get to the point of failure then congrats I assume you have a six-pack already.
  • Sumo squats with side knee tap – link – The example video here shows the traditional sumo squat which I do and then I raise my knee at the side up and touch my elbow to my knee.  For some reason that side crunch I get from the elbow tap feels amazing and works the old love handles.  I typically do 15-20 each round of these.
  • Superman planks – link – This one sneaks up on you.  It generally feels easy and good until you get into later rounds (I also do 15-20 each round of these).  The challenge here and it gets better the more you do them is to raise up enough and then hold that superman position.
  • Reverse alternating leg kick planks – link – Okay so when I am doing a plank superset I almost always alternate with this exercise and/or alternating leg side kick planks.  You can do 30 of these if you have the time usually in between other types of ab exercises.  They aren’t as difficult but they are effective.
  • Side planks with a thrust – link – Okay so this one is a direct attack on the love handles and you feel it almost immediately.  This is one of my favorite ab exercises (not because I enjoy doing them), I just feel like they are extremely effective.  I do 15-20 of these per round holding for a second or two on each thrust.
  • Pelvic thrusts/tilt (mind out of the gutter please) – link – This is again one of the easier exercises but it is one that also feels really good while you are doing it.  You might be thinking hey that is not working my abs – okay but it’s a core exercise and another area you need to target.  You can do more of these but 15 each round is enough.
  • Commando planks – link – Okay you had to know that I couldn’t possibly leave this exercise out of a core workout routine.  For some reason it feels like a manly man’s exercise (probably just the name).  Anyway, it’s tough and I’ll again do 15-20 of these each round.
  • Squats with alternating side kicks – link – Here is another variation of a squat which I pretty much like all squats for working my core but this one is just fun.  I frequently change the angle of my kicks and I would say it’s more like a side/angeled push kick (if you can picture that).  Another 15-20 each round.
  • Heel tap crunch – link – This is really another almost active rest drill for me that is also targeting those handles on my side.  Speaking of which I hate the term “love handles” because nobody loves them.  That’s just squishy fat that nobody should want to hold onto.  You can do a bunch of these but just keep it to 15-20.
  • Stealth trainer gaming – link – This one is next level thinking in my humble opinion.  You play a game while you work a plank from all kinds of crazy angles.  I love/hate this part of my training.  You basically do this for as long as you can and score as many points as you can each round.

There are tons of additional ways to work your abs and most of this was just a lead up to be able to tell you what works for me as well as to tell you about the Stealth Trainer (which I have zero affiliation with but certainly wish I did).  Sometimes I am in awe of people that can invent something that you look at and say “now THAT is a great idea.”  This is one of those because it makes working your abs through planks and hitting weird positions a breeze.  I can’t say enough about it (although it’s not super fun like a lot of games because you are very aware that you are working out despite what they say in the ads).

So whether you are trying to lean out for a role or just want to try to pursue those six pack abs that have eluded you all your life (or both like me).  I hope these exercises help you somewhat.  Keep in mind though that abs are going to always be greatly impacted by your nutrition plan (sorry but it is largely about what you eat combined with exercises like these).  Be sensible, eat clean, and get the abs you want!