I Tried Mal Pugh's 10-Minute Olympic Ab Routine — and Yup, My Abs Are Still Trembling
I never know what to tell people when they ask me what my hobbies are, but I've finally come up with a suitable answer: I love learning how professional athletes train to be the best in their sport. It's definitely not painting or dance classes, but it's still cool in its own right.
I recently had the opportunity to watch Mal Pugh, one of the standout players on the US women's national soccer team, in action during the SheBelieves Cup on a press trip with Secret deodorant. During that trip, I learned more about how she's training for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, her pregame routine, her favorite Secret deodorant (she's a gel type of gal), and the ab routine she does before every single match.
After she told me her routine, the first word that came out of my mouth was, "Damn." So of course, being an athlete myself, I had to give it a shot. After the first minute of planking, I could feel my core shaking. I wanted to drop to my knees for a quick second, but then I remembered Mal's rule: you can't drop. The three rounds of planks were hard, but I felt good. Then came the double leg lifts. Those were manageable, but the boat pose, my arch nemesis in every yoga class, was next to humble my ego and abs. Just in case you were wondering, the shaking went from every now and then to every single second.
This routine was a little harder for me since I've been focusing a lot more on core stability and spending less time holding exercises, whereas this workout was all about strength endurance. It was challenging, but I'll definitely be sprinkling this routine into my workouts.
Mal's 10-Minute Ab Workout
If you want to try this workout but it seems too advanced, simply cut down the time you hold each move. For beginners, try holding a 10- to 30-second front plank and a 15-second side plank or side bridge. Warning: your abs will shake profusely.
- Front plank: one minute
- Left side plank: 30 seconds
- Right side plank: 30 seconds
Repeat three times.
- Double leg raise: one minute
- Boat pose: one minute
- Crunch: one minute (note: I did hip raises instead of crunches, because crunches put too much force on my back)
- Seated knee tuck: one minute (Mal said this is a wild card move, so you can do whatever you want. Here's a list of my favorite ab exercises.)