You’re the star of the show—when you train like the ripped, gravity-defying performersOpens a New Window. of Cirque du Soleil! We’re not talking pantomiming, though. With artists/athletes performing hundreds of shows a week across the world, these trapeze artists, unicyclists, contortionists, high fliers, and more are athletes to their coreOpens a New Window.—that’s why we’re in awe of their daily abs routineOpens a New Window..

We tracked down Bryan D. Burnstein, head of Cirque du Soleil performance science, while he was onsite in Las Vegas to design a core routine that works every square inch of your abs and back. The result is a fully functional, tight core that won’t let you down. Give it a shot and watch your strength improve in short order, then get a front-row seat to one of the jaw-dropping Cirque du Soleil (cirquedusoleil.comOpens a New Window.) performances wherever your travels take you. Though you may not be the next high-wire act, you can crush your core just like the pros do. Check out the moves below, and click through for visuals of the lesser-known moves in the program.

Bent-Knee V-Sit With Heel Cup
  • Sit on floor with knees bent 90 degrees, torso leaned back 45 degrees, and hands cupped. Lift feet off floor until shins are parallel to floor. This is the start.
  • Touch right heel with right hand, twisting torso and bringing left arm behind you.
  • Return to start position. Repeat on opposite side for time.

Dead Bug
  • Lie on your back with your right arm and leg straight, just above the floor. Bend your left knee, lifting foot off floor and bending left elbow.
  • Place a block between your left knee and elbow, holding it in place using your abs. This is the start.
  • Keeping left side stable by using your abs, crunch your right leg and arm toward each other until they
    meet over your chest.
  • Return to start without letting right heel touch floor.

Tabletop Heel to Sky
  • From a seated position with knees bent 90 degrees and hands beneath shoulders, lift hips to form a tabletop position.
  • Keeping left leg straight, raise it to the ceiling, as if kicking a ball from the air, then lower to tap heel on floor.
  • Return to start position. Perform movement for right leg.
  • Repeat in steady, controlled manner for time.

Slam and Twist
  •  Lie on back with legs on bench, knees bent about 90 degrees. Hold hands to ears with elbows wide.
  • Sit up quickly, slamming chest to thighs.
  • Lower torso halfway back to floor and then slam up again.
  • Lower torso midway again.
  • Then twist torso, 3 times each to right and left, staying tall.
  • Return to start position with head back on floor. Repeat for time

Star Plank Rollover
  • Get in top of full plank position on right side, stacking left foot on top of right.
  • Lift left arm and left foot into a “star” position.
  • Hold for 1 to 2 seconds, then walk left hand and foot to floor so you’re in top of a pushup position. Roll into a left-side star plank. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds.

Stayin’ Alive
  • Get in top of plank position, feet slightly wider than hip width.
  • Extend right hand overhead and then diagonally to side (2 o’clock), while pointing left leg diagonally (8 o’clock) to opposite side. Pause 1 second.
  • Return to start. Repeat for other side (left hand and right leg).

Stretch Clock
  • From top of plank position, walk hands farther out above level of head, about a foot, and as wide as hips. This is the start.
  • “Walk” right hand and left foot clockwise simultan- eously, then walk left hand and right foot to meet them. Continue in same direction for time.
  • Repeat going in opposite direction.

  • Lie, belly down, on a stability ball, legs straight and close together and arms straight.
  • Keeping neck in line with torso, lift your right arm and left leg until at least parallel to floor. Hold for time, then return to start.