5 Functional and Unique Abs Workouts to Build Core Strength

Getting bored of traditional abs workouts? Then it is time to add more variety to your training. When it comes to full body strength, your core is absolutely essential for balancing and controlling movement, protecting your spine, ensuring good posture, stabilising your entire body and generating force through different planes of motion.

As always, function comes first, and the core is an incredibly important part of all functional movement. That is why it must not be neglected.

Abs are often mistakenly seen as a sign of a strong core, but it is perfectly possible to have well defined rectus abdominis (the outer muscles that form a six-pack) and still possess a weak core.

When you concentrate on performance first, results and improved aesthetics will follow naturally. Focusing on performance before everything else provides you with clear and objective parameters to aim for, as well as an effective set of data to track your progress scientifically.

abs workouts coreSource: Stevie D Photography
Achieve your goals


If a six-pack is important for you, or you want to get a flatter stomach, then nutrition is everything. It is impossible to out train a bad diet. Consult a nutritionist, work out the caloric state that you need to operate within, determine your daily macronutrient goals then stick to the plan. Consistency is key here.


As the core stabilises and controls movement of the human body, it is important to understand the planes of motion that define human movement. These are divided into 3 categories.


Think about the exercises you do. Squats, thrusters, deadlifts, clean and jerks, pull-ups, handstand push-ups; in all these movements the weight is transferred up and down along a straight line. All these movements occur along the sagittal plane. The sagittal plane divides the body into two symmetrical halves – left and right.

abs workoutsSource: Surge Strong
Test your fitness in new ways


The plane that divides the body into front and back is called the coronal plane. Movements along this plane are sideways movements, such as lateral lunges.


The final plane is the transverse plane, which divides the body into top and bottom halves. We move along this plane when we twist and turn our bodies, like when we look around before crossing the street.

Transverse movements are predominant in sports such as tennis, golf, rugby and gymnastics, the movements of crossFit® almost exclusively happen along the sagittal plane. Whether your goal is general fitness, functional strength, or athletic achievement, you should train along all planes of motion.

Ignoring the transverse plane means muscles like the abdominis obliquus are neglected. These muscles are an important part of the core and provide stability, which in turn allows you to generate greater power and forceful movement. Strong oblique muscles also decrease the chance of injury, as they stop the trunk from over rotating.


The Surge® Storm is a specialized training device that utilizes water to create a “dynamic” form of resistance.

It is constructed from a high-quality outer shell that encases an internal water chamber. The result is an object that constantly shifts and alternates its own weight between different parts of the object.

Overhead-Strom-SurgeSource: Surge Storm
Challenge your overhead and core stability

“This forces the user to challenge both traditional exercises, as well as sport and activity specific movement patterns. As a result, the Surge® Storm provides a very unique challenge to the joints and stabilizing structures to resist and control the unpredictable nature of the shifting water within.”

Surge Storm exercise objectSource: Surge Storm
The Surge® Storm

It is a perfect object to use when it comes to core, abs and stabilization training.


Use the following workouts to strengthen and improve your core and abs, as well as training your body through the three different planes of motion.


Complete the following with as few breaks as possible. Do NOT use any additional momentum with the toes to bar. This workout hinges around the sagittal plane of motion.

Athlete with Surge StormSource: Surge Storm
Add variety into your training

The combination of overhead stabilization and mobility to perform the overhead squats, and the demanding nature of strict toes to bar will significantly challenge and strengthen your core and abs.

21-15-9 reps of:

  • Overhead squats with Surge® Storm
  • Strict toes to bar

The Surge® Storm is an excellent tool to help improve your overhead mobility and strength. The water inside the casing will slip and slosh from one side to another, causing your body and core to work even harder in order to balance the object overhead.

Scaling options:

Try hanging leg raises if you struggle with toes to bar. The overhead squats can be replaced with front rack squats with the Surge® Storm.


Concentrate on controlled movement with this workout. Focus on your breath and bracing as well.

  • 5 sets not for time of:
  • 20 V-ups
  • 15 full body core braces with Surge® Storm
  • 20 second l sit hold
  • 20 second arch hold
abs workouts L Sit
The L sit – deceptively punishing

ABS WORKOUTS 3 – Surge® Storm Workout

This is an excellent way to improve your abs, obliques, general core strength and challenge your body through a variety of movement patterns through the transverse plane of motion.

As many rounds as possible in 10 minutes. Complete the entire workout with The Surge® Storm.

  • 20 Sit and rotate
  • 20 Forward Lunge Halo
  • 20 Bicycle and Upper Body Twist

Video tutorials for each movement


Perform all exercises with a * using the Surge® Storm. This chipper employs all 3 planes of motion.

  • 50m overhead lunges*
  • 10 Back extensions
  • 20 Russian twists*
  • 25 lunges
  • 30 Battering rams*
  • 40 Forward lunge straight Arm twists*
  • 30 Battering rams*
  • 25 lunges
  • 20 Russian twists*
  • 10 Back extensions
  • 50m overhead lunges*
overhead lungeSource: Surge Storm
Improve full body mobility


Abs Workouts – On the minute for 10 minutes

  • 20 Second L-Sit Hold (rings or parallettes)
  • 20 Second Hollow Rock
  • 20 Seconds of bicycle and upper body twists with the Surge® Storm

These workouts will all help you to develop your midline, carve new abs and build a stronger core.


Image Sources

Related news