Everyone sure wants them, but very few know how to actually build them. Here’s how to get a ripped core – 8 abdominal workouts that work your abs from all angles.
Let me start by reminding you that visible results will remain elusive if you are not committed to eating clean. If your body fat levels resemble that of a hibernating bear in winter, you will have to prioritize doing adequate cardio and strength training to help get you lean. Always keep in mind that a great workout can be undone by poor eating habits.
For attaining chiseled abs, perform the following exercises in giant sets. This means it’s best if you do the exercises one after another continuously without any breaks in between. You need to commit to training your abs for a minimum of 6 weeks. (That’s just the start of a lifelong fitness challenge.) You have to include core workouts, oblique workouts, upper ab exercises, and lower ab exercises to tone your abs from all sides.
As the weeks pass, your abs will be progressively conditioned to handle harder and higher volumes of training.
- Your focus should not be on the number of sets performed, but rather on being able to perform one set after another.
- Ensure you are executing the correct techniques without hurrying through the sets.
- Do them slowly and deliberately, squeezing your abdominal muscles hard during every flexing motion.
- For the first week – 10 reps each, week 2 – 12 reps each, week 3 and 4- 15 reps each, week 5 and 6 – 20 reps each or until failure.
EXERCISE 1: CRUNCH
In recent years, traditional ab crunches have been cast aside as being ineffective. But new research has come up proving that these simple crunches are one of the most effective ways to tone those six-pack muscles – the rectus abdominous.
It’s important to perform the exercise correctly, with the right breathing techniques – so make sure to watch the video in the link above.
EXERCISE 2: REVERSE CRUNCH
As the name suggests, the reverse crunch is the exact opposite of the traditional ab crunch. Instead of crunching the upper part of the body, we need to crunch the lower half.
This engages a lot of muscles, including your hip flexors. As you raise your hips and pull your knees towards your chest, you should not move your upper body.
EXERCISE 3: OBLIQUE CRUNCH
If you are looking for an ab exercise that fully engages the abdominal wall and the obliques, then oblique crunches are the best choice. These are great for sculpting the waist.
As you lie back to begin the exercise, use your hands to support your neck. Your chin shouldn’t touch the chest. It may help to imagine that you have an apple under your chin. When you perform the crunch, make sure to squeeze your waistline with each lift
EXERCISE 4: ROPE CRUNCH
For this exercise, you need a rope attachment on a cable machine. Cable crunches or rope crunches activate not just the rectus abdominis muscles, they are effective for all the muscles throughout your upper abs and lower abs.
Facing the machine, get on your knees. Now grab the rope and pull it down till it’s level with your head. Lower your elbows to your mid-thighs (like an inverted crunch). Make sure to contract your abs during this. Now, slowly return back to the starting position.
EXERCISE 5: OBLIQUE CROSSOVER CRUNCH
Crossover crunches are great for beginners as it works more than just your abdominal muscles. Both the external obliques and internal obliques get a good workout – hence the name oblique crossover crunches.
With your head off the mat, touch your fingers to your temples. Rest one foot on the opposite knee. While performing this exercise, contract your abs as you lift your shoulders off the mat and bring your knees forward. Use your fingers to support your head correctly. Now twist your torso so your right elbow moves to meet your left knee. Reverse back slowly to the starting position. Repeat the same exercise with the left elbow and the right knee.
EXERCISE 6: DOUBLE CRUNCH
This is a single exercise that enables you to contract the full length of your abdominal muscles and hip flexors. First, lie down on your back.
Bent your knees and bring them toward your chest as you crunch your upper body forwards. This move engages more core muscles than traditional crunches do.
EXERCISE 7: CAPTAIN’S CHAIR LEG RAISES
The Captain’s chair works several muscles at the same time. It is an excellent addition to strength-training routines.
The Captain’s chair may be regarded as the second most effective exercise for strengthening the abs, but according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE) it is one of the best exercises for strengthening the obliques.
EXERCISE 8: AIR BICYCLES
This advanced variation of crunches, known commonly as bicycle crunches, is probably the most dreaded among ab exercises for those attempting to follow an online ab workout program. But it is also one of the more effective ab exercises that work out all the abdominal muscles and hip flexors. You must maintain constant tension on your mid-section as you cycle through the required movements.
Best Tips to Maximize the Burn
For maximizing results while preventing overtraining, aim to do just 2 to 3 abdominal workouts per week in addition to compound lifting. The goal of ab training is to get progressively stronger and fitter as the days pass.
- For your weighted exercises, the weight added should be on an upward trend.
- For your unweighted exercises, ensure that you are increasing the number of reps you can do.
- As stated earlier, remember to use a deliberate motion and focus on an intense contraction as you perform each exercise.
- You’re using too much weight if you can’t perform at least 10 reps. If you can do over 15 reps, it’s time to add an extra 5 pounds.
- You can try exercise circuits if you are not up to executing giant sets yet. Consider exercise “circuits” consisting of 3 exercises done back-to-back. You can take a minute’s break before starting on the next set of ab exercises.
- You can also perform these ab circuits in between sets of major muscle groups. For example a set of deadlifts followed by an ab circuit and then a minute of rest before another set of deadlifts and ab circuits…and so forth.
- A good goal to work toward is 3 ab circuits per ab workout, 2 to 3 workouts per week.
- Following up on your abdominal workouts with a 30-minute cardio session is a great idea for maximizing the burn. Start with a 2-minute warm-up and go for a high-intensity workout for 15 minutes then slow down to about 50% of your full capacity, and finally slow down to cool off in the last two minutes.