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You might have the most visible 6 pack abs in the world, but that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to how strong your core is. In this video, I’m going to show you a few important benchmark ab exercises that you can do to test the strength of your abs and see how prepared you are for either your sport, or just the sport of life.
Many people confuse the visibility of the ab muscles with the strength of the abs. This is a mistake. Ultimately, the degree to which people can see your abs comes down to how dedicated you are to your nutrition and to eating well. When your body fat levels are below ten percent, you will be able to see, at the very least, a well defined outline of a six pack and even greater definition as you continue to drop.
That’s all well and good, but the muscles of the core can still be incredibly weak. Confuse your ab strength when it comes to the more demanding compound lifts like the deadlift and squat and you could wind up easily attempting to lift more weight than your frame can handle. We can’t allow that to happen so I wanted to show you these ab exercises and give you a benchmark for which to measure yourself up against.
I have spent a great deal of time prioritizing the strength of my core over the years because I know how critically important it is to my overall performance and function. That said, even I struggle with some of these movements.
First up we work the anti-extension strength of the abs with the banded barbell rollout. The key here is to be able to not just roll out the body until your arms are fully overhead and are in an extended plank position but hold it for a split second and be able to return to the start. If you are just beginning and cannot perform even a single rollout from your toes then your benchmark should be to be able to perform these from your knees with the same proper form.
We next must make sure we address our stability in the transverse plane as well. The rotational control of your core is a critically overlooked area of strength that must be addressed. Here we use the overhead barbell or dumbbell grapevine walk. The rotation of the pelvis must be controlled when you step over and back as must the twisting of the barbell once the momentum gets going. The bar is more of a challenge, but both will be difficult if you aren’t training this enough. Advanced should use at least half of your bodyweight overhead while beginners should opt for a little less than a quarter.
Finally, the anti-lateral stability of your abs should be trained and tested as well. I like to use the banded leg raise. Grab a bar and anchor a band around your knees. The band should be pulling you back and to the side. If you can keep your legs headed directly north and south while doing this then you have the requisite stability in your core that I am looking for. Beginners should aim to simply prevent swinging while doing the exercises.
So you can see that core stability and strong abs is key to any high functioning individual, athlete or not. If you are looking to train like an athlete and more importantly feel and look like one, head to and get our complete ATHLEAN-X Training System.
For more videos on how to get a six pack fast and the best diet plan for a six pack so you can see your abs even when they are strong, be sure to subscribe to this channel on youtube at