Grab Your Best Gym Buddy for This Ab Smasher

Unless you’re a true loner, you probably hit the gym with a lifting buddy whenever you can make your schedules match up. Working out together is great for plenty of reasons—you always have a spotter on hand for heavy lifts, a hype man to help you push through the toughest reps, and, most importantly, someone to pair up with for partner exercises.

This ab-crushing game from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. (with an assist from his gym buddy Lianna Carlucci) demands that both partners are equally committed to holding perfect form and moving together.

“This game forces you to truly own your hollow body position, and it’s super-scaleable,” says Samuel. “A heavier band or more distance between both parties makes it harder, while a lighter band or keeping closer to each other makes it easier.”

To perform the partner hollow body band raise, all you need is some space to spread out on the ground, a resistance band, and (of course) a partner. If neither of you has a solid band to use, check out this set from WODFitters.

Men’s Health/Eric Rosati

Holding a hollow hold is tough enough, but the resistance band makes this an even more challenging maneuver. “Once you extend your arms away from your body, that band is going to try to pull you out of position, literally spinning you out,” says Samuel. “The only way to avoid that spin-out is to actively and aggressively press your lower back into the ground, securing the hollow body position.”

Don’t go to easy on your buddy, either—how you move with the band also determines how much of a challenge they’ll face during the game. “The unpredictability of your partner’s raises insures that you can’t cheat with your hollow body and over-compensate to any one position, because you never know exactly where the banded tension will come from,” Samuel says. “It’s harder than me and Lianna make it look too; the whole time, we were both very close to spinning out.”

To add the partner hollow body band raise to your partner session, work together for 2 1-minute sets per side—or work until one of you spins out and loses position. For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.

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