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Strength & Conditioning

5 Ab Exercises You Can Do With CrossFit Equipment

To improve your lifts, you have to do accessory work. Here are five core exercises you should be doing.

Soon, even the most die-hard functional movement practitioners will give in to the idea that accessory work isn’t blasphemy. Some of that accessory work can include core work.

Here are five core exercises you can use with all the familiar equipment you have in your CrossFit gym:

Bar Rollouts


Put a sturdy bumper plate on each side of a barbell. The weight doesn’t matter because you’re using the plates as wheels. Kneel with your knees under your hips and grip the bar just outside shoulder width. With the bar pulled into your thighs with straight arms, lock your hip joint by assuming the hollow body position. Keep your glutes and abs contracted, roll the bar forward until your chest touches the ground, and return to the start position without hinging at the hips. If you can’t pass through this range of motion with a straight body and straight arms, only extend as far as you can return to the start position with quality movement.

GHD Waddles

A PVC pipe is plenty heavy for this exercise. Secure your feet in the glute-ham developer with your body facing up and your hip free of the pad with straight legs. Holding the PVC on your back like you would a back squat, perform a waddling motion as if paddling a canoe. Try three sets of 60 seconds of constant motion.

Weighted Overhead Sit-Ups

Anchor your feet with dumbbells in the sit-up position. With dumbbells or a barbell, start on your back with your arms locked out as if in the top of a floor press. Keeping your arms locked out, sit up pushing your head through at the top. Use this exercise to load core work heavy in sets of eight, 10 or 12.

Heavy Dumbbell Windmills

Obliques are everything when it comes to core that accesses glute activation. Want your deadlift to go up? Get stronger oblique muscles. With a sumo stance and a dumbbell locked out overhead, reach your opposite hand down your same-side leg until you reach the end range of your flexibility. Both legs stay straight as your shoulder joint stabilizes and articulates to keep your support arm perpendicular to the floor. Contract your abs to return to standing. For strength athletes, go heavy for sets of eight, 10 or 12.

Standing Barbell Teeter-Totters

A common sight in Chinese lifting circles are accessory movements, including ab work, to build the lifts. One low-tech example is standing with a barbell racked on your back. Contract your obliques by squeezing your elbow to your hip and switch sides. In control, squeeze side to side, stabilizing the weight and length of the barbell. Add enough weight for a challenging set of 30.

There’s a million ab exercises out there, but I hope these inspire you to do some assistance work and to not feel like you need special equipment to do so.