Get a Stronger, Harder Core: Hand Walkout

Of all the core training exercises out there, one of my favorites is the hand walkout. It builds strength in your anterior core and lats very quickly, it trains the abs isometrically like Dr. Stuart McGill advocates, and it’s an excellent alternative to the ab-wheel rollout. Plus, the hand walkout will boost your squat and deadlift by augmenting the transfer of force between your legs and upper body. And since it requires no equipment, you can do it anywhere.

But it’s also an advanced exercise that I only use with clients who are ready for it. Here’s a brief video of my client, MMA superstar Ralek Gracie, performing the hand walkout.

Importantly, Ralek is an advanced athlete and that’s why he needs advanced core training exercises and ab exercises for men. This exercise might be too difficult for you right now, and there’s no reason to jump straight into a high-level exercise unless you’re ready.

How do you know if you’re ready for the hand walkout? You must first be able to perform the modified hand walkout (knees down) for 10 perfect reps.

Here’s how to do the modified hand walkout:

1. Start on all fours with knees and hands shoulder width apart. Hands are directly below shoulders (left pic).

2. Tense the glutes, brace the abs like someone is going to punch you in the stomach, and then “walk” your hands forward. The hips should shift forward as soon as you reach your left arm out (center pic).

3. Continue walking your hands out until your abs are just a few inches off the ground (right pic). Reverse the movement by walking your hands back to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Once you can perform the modified hand walkout for 10 reps, it’s time to take a crack at the hand walkout. You’ll probably be surprised how much more difficult it is so don’t try to do too much too soon. Before you attempt your first set of the hand walkout, perform 5 reps of the modified version to prepare your joints and muscles. Next, do three sets of the hand walkout for as many reps as possible. Continue reading