You’ve just finished class and you’ve got a couple of minutes before you need to head out. Go the extra mile and throw in a quick finisher to improve an area that can never be too strong: your core.
Here are four finishers to throw in at the end of a training session for a stronger core:
The Three-Minute Test
Unless you’re on a nationally recognized gymnastics team, you’ll likely fail this test — and that’s the point. The goal of the finisher is to accumulate three full minutes in a hollow-body hold on the floor with virtuosity. When you need a break from the action, roll immediately to your right or left, instantly transitioning to an arch hold (or “Superman” position).
This is your “rest.” When you can accumulate more time in hollow (the goal), you’ll transition with a roll to the right or left, back into hollow body.
Knees and Throws
You’ll be playing catch with a partner with a light medicine ball (4, 6 or maybe 8 pounds). While seated on your butt, your partner tosses you the ball just above head height, taking your back flat to the floor, your arms straight overhead holding the ball and your legs stretched out in front of you. Immediately crunch the ball down to your knee — driving up into it — return to the open position (legs straight and ball stretched overhead) and immediately knee the ball with the opposite leg.
Finish the repetition with a violent throw back to your partner (no legs). You should throw the ball hard enough so that you naturally follow through in a sit-up position. Try three sets of eight reps for maximum velocity.
All you need is a partner, a bench and a PVC pipe. Lie flat on your back with your lower legs propped up, flat on the bench. Your partner will sit on your shinbones to hold you in place. With straight arms holding the PVC pipe, sit up against your partner’s resistance into the PVC pipe for eight reps. The partner providing resistance has the task of turning each rep into a successful rep with a 3- or 4-count worth of force.
Immediately follow the straight reps with eight leading with the right hand (results in an angled sit-up to the left). Switch to the other side for eight reps, and finish by dropping the PVC pipe and doing 20 sit-ups without resistance.
Medicine-Ball Throw Series
This complex requires a light medicine ball and a partner. Start in the Russian-twist position, balancing on your tailbones, with your heels together and knees bent. With tight abs, receive a medicine-ball toss from the side, tap the floor opposite your body and throw it back to your partner violently. Perform 10 reps.
Next, your partner will immediately move to face you. With your feet flat on the ground, receive the ball overhead and return fire with 10 medicine-ball throws to sit-up. After rep 10, the feeder continues moving to the opposite side you started on for 10 more Russian-twist tosses. This is meant to be done in rapid succession. Perform three or four rounds, alternating with your partner.