Train Hard

The ultimate 3-minute abs workout: invented by Sting

Damn straight.
Written by joelsnape

Everyone loves to overcomplicate training. It’s easy to believe that there’s a secret formula out there that will work if you can only find it – that someone, somewhere has invented the set, rep and percentage-of-max combination that’ll unlock your genetic potential. But there’s only one real secret:

You have to do the stuff you hate.

You know what you need to do: it’s the stuff you consistently avoid, because you aren’t good at it or because it’s boring. For you, it might be heavy squats or long slow runs or foam-rolling. For me, it’s direct ab work and correctives. How do you do this stuff? Easy: you trick yourself into doing it.

Enter Sting.

For a while I’d been thinking about doing Roxanne, Sting’s awesome love song and Grammy smash, as a squat workout: the idea would be that you’d do a rep every time the big man yells his lady-of-the-night friend’s name, and ‘rest’ with the bar on your back the rest of the time. The problem with this? There’s a lot of singing, and not much squatting. Boring.

Then I got bored one Saturday and amazed myself with a revelation: why not do it with press-ups?

Genius, I know.

So here’s the workout.

1. Find a version of Roxanne somewhere (this one is fine).

2. Hit play, and get into a press-up position plank – the top position of a press-up.

3. Whenever Sting sings ‘Roxanne’, do a full-ROM press-up – your chest should touch the floor at the bottom of the move. For style points, do a slow-tempo press-up on the long notes. And yes, of course you have to do the one in the fadeout.

4. That’s it.

I won’t spoil how many press-ups you’ll have to do (spoilers!), but they’re not really that challenging. The real toughness is in holding that plank – it starts out very easy, but you’ll certainly feel it by the end. Back health expert and trunk-stabilisation specialist Dr Stuart McGill says that if you can’t do a two-minute plank then your ab routine (whatever it may be) isn’t working, and so really you should be able to manage 3:14 as a point of mere pride. Would it be worth going beyond that? Well, maybe – but if Roxanne is too easy, then try the super-plank. Smartarse.

So there’s your training plan for today. Forget conjugate periodisation and the Smolov programme, and trick yourself into doing some ab work while you listen to one awesome song.

HOMEWORK: Seriously, get on this. Fully-fledged Live Harders should be able to do the full thing with a strict plank throughout, but if you aren’t, then try to rest in the downward or upward dog positions rather than just lying on the floor. Do not do knee press-ups – they do almost nothing to improve core stability, and translate incredibly badly to full press-ups. I’d much rather you did wall press-ups or just did half the song and tried to improve. But whatever you’re going to do, do it today. It’s only three minutes.

About the author


Editor and creator of Live Hard. Fighting enthusiast, steak lover and aficionado of all things self-improvement related.


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