V Ups Workouts for a Powerful Core and Iron Abs

V Ups workouts are a great way to build powerful and functional core strength for your body.

Benefits of V Ups

V Ups are a highly effective core and abs exercise. They are not easy, as they require poise, control and strength to perform correctly. As a result, you will reap promising rewards. A strong core is absolutely essential for every human, as it stabilises the body, coordinates movement, protects the spine, improves posture and helps to prevent back pain and other common ailments.

V Ups workouts will help you to get better at everything from kayaking and climbing right through to descending during trail runs, carrying objects and cutting firewood. To be perfectly honest, they’re aren’t really any downsides to a stronger core.

Swimming athletes in the sea
A stronger core will always serve you well ©Luis Lopes

Muscles Worked by V Ups

V Ups workouts will develop the following core muscles:

  • Rectus abdominis (abs) – Flexes the spine, compresses the internal organs of the abdomen and transmits forces laterally from the obliques
  • Erector Spinae – Helps to counterbalance all the forces involved in spinal flexion
  • Quadratus Lumborum – Stabilises the lumbar spine in all planes of motion
  • External Obliques – Abdominal muscles that attach at the lower ribs, pelvis and abdominal fascia
  • Internal Obliques – Abdominal muscles that attach at the lower ribs, rectus sheath, pelvis and thoracolumbar fascia
  • Transverse Abdominis – Abdominal muscles that attach at the lower ribs, pelvis and rectus sheath
V Ups Workouts for weightlifting
V Ups Workouts will help build a powerful core for lifting and life ©Luis Lopes

How to do V Ups

  1. Start by laying on the floor with your legs and arms fully extended
  2. Keep arms and legs extended
  3. Inhale and tense your glutes and core
  4. Squeeze legs together
  5. Flex your trunk and hips in order to pull your torso and legs together
  6. Reach arms forward during the ascent
  7. Complete the rep by touching your toes at the top of the rep
  8. Exhale during the descent
  9. Repeat

V Ups for Beginners

V Ups are a more advanced core exercise, so it can take time to work up the strength to perform them fully. A good way to scale the movement is to bend your knees. This will make the exercise easier, as you will have less distance to reach with your hands.

Practicing hollow holds is a good way to build up core strength that can be applied and developed into the full V Up movement.

Another way to scale V Ups is to grip your hamstrings with your hands. This progression will allow you to feel the movement yet use your arms to help pull your legs up through the full range of motion.

If you can string together a couple of reps but struggle when it comes to longer sets, or when you get fatigued, then try alternating between V Ups and Tuck Ups. See how this looks in the video below

V Ups Workouts

If you are still struggling with V Ups but still want to try the following V Ups workouts, substitute them for Tuck Ups or Sit Ups.

WORKOUT 1

5 Rounds for Time

  • 20 foot Crab Walk
  • 20 foot Bear Crawl (hips low and knees close to the ground)
  • 20 foot Crab Walk
  • 20 foot Bear Crawl (hips high)
  • 20 V Ups

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 5 rounds. Keep hips high and butt squeezed in crab walk. Keep knees as close to the ground as possible in low bear crawl, and hips high with straight legs in high bear crawl.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of V Ups is completed.

Tips and Strategy

While this is for time, make sure to keep your crawls looking good. Try to keep a flat back, don’t wiggle at the hips too much, and work on moving with intent.

Intended Stimulus

Should be a shoulder burner with a slight chance to rest the shoulders while working on the V Ups.

Scaling

Sub V Ups for Tuck-Ups or straddle (legs apart) if they are too difficult. If you have a sled handy drag that sled on the Bear Crawls.

WORKOUT 2

Three Tabatas in 14 minutes

  • Tabata Row for calories

1 minute Rest

  • Tabata V Ups

1 minute Rest

  • Tabata Calorie Row

On a 13-minute clock, perform three Tabatas with 1-minute rest in between. A Tabata consists of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds.

Score is the total number of repetitions completed before the 14-minute clock stops.

Scaling

Substitute Bike or Ski for the Row.

WORKOUT 3

EMOM For as Long as Possible

  • 1 Push-Up
  • 1 V-Up
  • 2 Push-Ups
  • 2 V Ups
  • Continue with this pattern, adding 1 Push-Up and 1 V-Up every minute

With a running clock, every minute on the minute (EMOM) perform the prescribed work in the order written. Athlete must perform 1 Push-Up and 1 V-Up in the first minute. Continue with this pattern, adding 1 Push-Up and 1 V-Up every minute for as long as possible.

Score is the total number of the repetitions completed until the athlete fails to complete the prescribed work in a minute.

Scaling

Swap V Ups for Sit Ups

WORKOUT 4

For Time

  • 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Push-Ups
  • 20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-2 V Ups
  • 30-27-24-21-18-15-12-9-6-3 Air Squats

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written. Athlete must perform 10 Push-Ups, 20 V Ups, and 30 Air Squats for the first round. Push-Ups go down by 1 repetition each round, V Ups go down by 2 repetitions each round, and Air Squats go down by 3 repetitions each round.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Air Squats is completed.

WORKOUT 5

10 Rounds for Time

  • 25 Air Squats
  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • 25 V Ups

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 10 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of V Ups is completed.

Scaling

10 Rounds for Time

  • 25 Air Squats
  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • 25 Sit-Ups

WORKOUT 5 – DURANTE CORE

5 Rounds for Time

  • 10 Hollow Rocks
  • 10 V Ups
  • 10 Tuck Ups
  • 10 second Hollow Hold
  • 1 minute Rest

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written. Rest one minute after each round.

Score is the total time it takes to complete all 5 rounds including each rest period.

Tips and Strategy

Due to the built-in rest in “Durante Core,” go as fast and as unbroken as possible during each of the 4 movements.

You only reap the rewards of “Durant Core” if you perform the movements with virtuosity and execute these common movements uncommonly well, so prioritize good form over a good time.

Intended Stimulus

“Durante Core” should feel very fatiguing for your muscles. Your core should be on fire within the first 2 rounds. This is a true interval WOD: attack the movements when you’re working, and enjoy the rest when it comes. This workout is perfect as a standalone WOD, or as a way to finish a cardio-based workout like “Griff” or “Boat Race.”

Scaling Options

The movements in “Durante Core” aren’t particularly high skill, but they do require significant core strength to complete. Scale the movements so you can perform them as unbroken as possible, as safely as possible.

Beginner

5 Rounds

  • 10 Supported Hollow Rocks (hands hold at hamstrings)
  • 10 Modified V Ups (bend knees as much as needed)
  • 10 Tuck Ups
  • 10 second Supported Hollow Hold (hands hold at hamstrings)
  • 1 minute Rest

WORKOUT 6

For Time

  • 1.5 mile Run
  • 60 Plank Shoulder Taps
  • 15 V Ups
  • 40 Plank Shoulder Taps
  • 15 V Ups
  • 40 Plank Shoulder Taps
  • 15 V Ups
  • 60 Plank Shoulder Taps
  • 1.5 mile Run

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the time on the clock when the last 1.5 mile Run is completed.

Movement Standard

Plank Shoulder Tap: This is performed with a standard Plank Hold. Athlete taps the right shoulder with the left hand and the left shoulder with the right hand while in the Plank position.

Scaling

Replace V Ups with Sit Ups.

WORKOUT 7

For Time

  • 15 minute Wall Squat Hold (cumulative)

Every time athlete rests, perform:

  • 5 Push-Ups
  • 10 Jumping Jacks
  • 15 V Ups

Start a running clock and a stopwatch simultaneously. Perform the Wall Squat Hold (aka: Wall Sit) until you have to break.

Every time you break, stop the stopwatch and perform 5 Push-Ups, 10 Jumping Jacks, and 5 V Ups. Get back into the Wall Squat Hold position and resume the stopwatch. Continue until you accumulate 15 minutes on the stopwatch.

Score is the time on the clock when the 15 minutes cumulative Wall Squat Hold is completed.

WORKOUT 8

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  • 20 Push-Ups
  • 20 Walking Lunges
  • 20 Chair Dips
  • 20 V Ups

On a 20-minute clock, as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 20-minute clock stops.

Scaling V Ups workouts

Swap V Ups for Sit Ups.

WORKOUT 9

3 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Dumbbell Sit-Ups (50/35 lb)
  • 20 Dumbbell Russian Twists (50/35 lb)
  • 10 Right Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 Left Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 V Ups

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 3 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of V Ups is completed.

Scaling Variations

Bodyweight

3 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Sit-Ups
  • 20 Russian Twists
  • 10 Right Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 Left Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 V Ups

Scaled

3 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Sit-Ups
  • 20 Russian Twists
  • 10 Right Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 Left Side Plank with Hip Raises
  • 10 V Crunches

WORKOUT 10

3 Rounds for Time

  • 10 Burpees
  • 10 Jump Squats
  • 20 V Ups
  • 20 Mountain Climbers
  • 20 Calf Raises
  • 30 Ball Slams (30/20 lb)
  • 30 Jumping Jacks
  • 1 minute Plank Hold

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 3 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the 1-minute Plank Hold is completed.

Movement Standard

Jump Squat: This is a variation of the standard Air Squat wherein the athlete jumps at full extension to complete one rep.

Build a stronger upper body with these Push Press Workouts

WORKOUT 11

For Time

3 Rounds of:

  • 12 Squat Jumps
  • 12 Hand Release Push-Ups
  • 12 Wide-Arm Push-Ups
  • 20 Straight Leg Raises

Directly into, 3 Rounds of:

  • 10 Tuck Jumps
  • 20 Shoulder Tap Push-Ups
  • 20 Alternating Airborne Lunges
  • 10 V Ups

Finally, 3 Rounds of:

  • 60 second Plank
  • 25 Half-Jacks
  • 20 4-Count Mountain Climbers
  • 15 Air Squats

The sequence of the workout is three rounds of each circuit before moving on to the next. You can move from one circuit to the next without pausing. Take breaks as needed.

Score is the total time to complete all 9 rounds.

Movement Standards

Airborne Lunge: Perform a reverse Lunge with the shin of the trailing leg parallel to the ground. As you dip for the Lunge, only allow the knee to touch the floor. The foot stays off the ground. Alternate the legs to each repetition.

Half Jack: Perform a standard Jumping Jack with the arms staying on your side at all times.

Intended Stimulus

This workout is an all-out effort. The first two circuits should feel relatively easy, with controlled, rhythmic breathing. The third circuit should feel like running up a steep hill. Your heart rate will be high and it should feel much more challenging to maintain your pace.

Scaling V Ups workouts

Advanced athletes should wear a weight vest of their choice. For all athletes, the key to achieving the intended stimulus is choosing a weight or modification that allows you to work continuously.

WORKOUT 12

With a Running Clock in 26 minutes

From 0:00-5:00, perform:

  • 50 Burpee Star Jumps

Then from 5:01-10:00, AMRAP of:

  • 3 Dumbbell Thrusters (50/35 lb)
  • 2 Overhead Lunges (50/35 lb)
  • 1 Prison Burpee

Then from 10:01-18:00, perform:

21-15-9

  • Alternating Dumbbell Snatches (50/35 lb)
  • Dumbbell Deadlifts (50/35 lb)

15-12-9

  • Dumbbell Hang Snatches (50/35 lb)
  • Sit-Ups

12-9-6

Finally from 18:01-26:00, perform:

  • 10 Dumbbell Ground-to-Overheads (50/35 lb)
  • 20 Jumping Squats
  • 30 Jumping Jacks
  • 40 Russian Twists
  • 30 Jumping Jacks
  • 20 Jumping Squats
  • 10 Dumbbell Ground-to-Overheads (50/35 lb)

From 0:00-5:00, perform the 50 Burpee Star Jumps. Then from 5:01-10:00, athlete must perform as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of 3 Dumbbell Thrusters, 2 Overhead Lunges, and 1 Prison Burpee.

Then from 10:01-18:00, athlete must complete 21 Alternating Dumbbell Snatches and 21 Dumbbell Deadlifts before moving on to 15 reps of each movement, down to 9 reps. Continue with the same pattern for Dumbbell Hang Snatches and Sit-Ups but with the rep scheme of 15-12-9. Same goes for Dumbbell Shoulder-to-Overheads and Hands to Toes V Ups for 12-9-6.

Finally from 18:01-26:00, perform the prescribed work in the order written as fast as possible.

Score is the total number of repetitions completed before the 26-minute clock stops.

Movement Standards

Burpee Star Jump: Perform a standard Burpee but instead of clapping hands above the head, jump with both arms and legs extended in opposite directions to complete the repetition.

Prison Burpee: This is a complex variation of a standard Burpee. Athlete goes down for a Push-Up, then from the extended position, move the right knee towards the left elbow. Complete another Push-Up and move the left knee towards the right elbow. Then, perform another Push-Up and move the right knee towards outside the right elbow. Complete another Push-Up and move the left knee towards the left elbow. Do another Push-Up and from the extended position, raise the right arm towards the sky perpendicular to the floor. Finally to finish one repetition, perform another Push-Up, and extend the left arm towards the sky perpendicular to the floor. Watch: Prison Burpee Movement Demo

Hands to Toes V-Up: This is a variation of the standard V-Up. Instead of starting from a Hollow Hold position, lift the legs perpendicular to the ground and reach for the toes to complete one repetition.

Jumping Squats: This is a variation of the standard Air Squat. Perform an Air Squat and complete the repetition by jumping from the squat to the full extension.

Scaling V Ups workouts

Use 35/20 lb Dumbbell.

Scale down the Burpee Star Jumps to standard Burpee.

V Ups FAQs

More questions? Check out these FAQs.

Are V Sit Ups Effective?

The V-sit an effective way to target the rectus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques, and hip flexors while improving core and trunk balance. You are not alone if you are unable to do more than 10 to 12 of the V-sit ab exercise before you reach failure.

Do V Ups Give you a Six Pack?

The V-up primarily targets the rectus abdominis. This is the front abdominal muscle that makes up a defined six-pack — as long as you’re lean enough to show the segments.

Why are V Ups so Hard?

If this is you, don’t worry—V ups are tough! Not only do they take quite a bit of abdominal strength to do correctly, they also require coordination and the ability to synchronize the movement of the arms and legs—something easier said than done.

Are V Ups Bad for your Back?

No, not when they are performed correctly. V Ups are an excellent core and abs exercise but should not be done with poor form. This would place stress on the back and could lead to injury.

V Ups Workouts

V Ups are an advanced core and abs exercise that will significantly develop your midline strength and stability. This improved strength will have huge carry overs into other sports and outdoor fitness activities.

If you want to augment your core strength or build a six pack, try these Russian Twist, HIIT or Ground to Overhead Workouts.