Boxers are famed for having rock-solid midsections, capable of taking a pounding and enabling them to exact one on their gloved adversary. They also usually embrace the old-school techniques that have served the sport of pugilism so well and Britain’s former middleweight maestro is no different.
This no-frills bodyweight sit-up circuit will target all the muscles in your core to flex, stabilise, extend and rotate your torso. Because of the high reps and short rest periods, it’ll also keep your pulse high enough to help burn off the belly fat that’s hiding your abs.
“By doing all four moves you’ll hit every part of your abs,” says Froch. “This will build power and muscular strength endurance.
“During the intense part of a training camp I do each variation to failure. When I’m just keeping my fitness ticking over , I go from 50 down to ten. Again, I only take half a minute’s rest between each variation but you should take a minute.”
Ready to rumble? You’d better be. This is a difficult core circuit, befitting a boxing champion. Ensure you’ve got the basic movements nailed first and pre-activate the abdominal muscles to ensure you’re ready for the challenge. This reduces the risk of injury and helps to maintain proper muscular contraction at all times.
You could begin by slightly regressing the standard sit-up and locking down your legs. Have a training partner stand on your feet while you perform crunches, or alternatively use a decline bench where the legs are supported by pads. Take extra care to prepare your core muscles gradually with some gentle sit-ups and cobra stretches to mobilise the muscles. Your abs might not be as prone to injury as the hamstrings but going hectic too soon could lead to painful cramps or tears.
And remember to focus on form. You can crane your neck and strain your hip flexors if you don’t focus the movement on your abs. Your torso should move in a straight plane of motion at all times. Any bend in the back takes the stimulation away from the abs and places it on your joints and discs.
If you find that your abs are weak to begin with, start by crunching with your hands crossed over your chest. Placing your hands behind your head when you’re struggling to engage the core can lead to excessive pulling on the neck muscles. Don’t jerk your head forwards with each rep and slow the movements down so you take a full second up and down each time. Exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down.
Additional reporting by Cherrelle Jefferson (@cherrelleJj)