You might expect a certain type of former NFL player to have a six-pack—probably speedy cornerbacks or wide receivers, or maybe a freak of nature running back or a sideline-to-sideline linebacker.
How about one of the greatest sack artists of all time? Yeah, that’s a bit more surprising.
That preconception hasn’t stopped DeMarcus Ware, who starred for the Cowboys and Broncos as a linebacker/defensive end over a decorated 12-year NFL career, from challenging himself to building a six-pack now that he’s off the field. The retired star regularly posts workout videos online to keep his fans up to date on his fitness progress, and to challenge anyone watching to try to keep up.
This summer, Ware was shooting for more chiseled abs, issuing a self-challenge to hit six-pack status by the end of July for his 37th birthday. That milestone passed—but it’s never too late to celebrate hard work, so we wanted to highlight this super-effective workout he took on the last day before the challenge was up.
The exercise uses sliders, underrated fitness tools that are as easy to use as the name implies. Just put them on a flat floor, get your feet and hands in place, and use the friction to do the work.
Ware uses the sliders to perform a left, right, and middle knee-tuck pattern, which is a smart, safe way to work your abs without overdoing it on the spinal flexion, like you’d experience with set after set of situps. Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. agrees.
“Knee tuck-style moves on sliders are always good for your abs, and that’s what this series from DeMarcus Ware is all about,” he says. “The key to any knee tuck move is to aggressively drive the knees toward your elbows. Don’t stop halfway, because doing so means you don’t finish squeezing your abs. Tuck all the way in, as DeMarcus is doing.”
You can try stacking up sets of the maneuver if you want to try this on your own—or, if you’re really smart, you can listen to Samuel and grab a timer.
“You can count reps on something like this for sure, but the most manageable way to do this and still maintain quality of the move is to do it for time,” he says. “Think of working for 40 seconds, then resting for 20 seconds. 4 to 5 minutes like that is a strong, abdominally intensive way to end any workout.”
Did it work for Ware? He’s not flashing his abs, but this post celebrating his birthday shows off just how fit he is these days.
Not too bad for a defensive lineman.