The six-pack is the holy grail of fitness. Something magical happens when you look at a person with chiseled abs. How do you get abs of steel? As with toning the rest of the body, the recipe is simple: eat a healthy diet, drink less alcohol, do ab workouts, and engage in light cardio exercises.
In your quest to have a shredded abdominal area, you inevitably strengthen your core. A strong core can help you improve balance, overall strength, and reduce your risk of injury when performing other exercises. The core includes all the muscles that exist between your chest and hips. When you do an ab workout, you engage your rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscles), your transverse abdominis (muscles that wrap around your stomach), and your obliques (the side abs that assist with rotation).
The abdominal workout sequence in this article will engage all of these muscle groups to help you tone and strengthen your core. You’ll definitely feel the burn in your core so make sure to stretch after your workout.
This is the go-to core workout that demands engagement from your entire abdominal area. Start in a kneeling position with your toes tucked. Walk your hands out until your legs are extended. You should be balancing on the balls of your feet and your hands, which should be directly under your shoulders. Engage your abs, glutes, thighs, shoulders, and chest to keep the body in a straight line. Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds and then rest for 15 to 30 seconds.
This exercise forces you to work on stability, which means that you have to engage your core to avoid twisting and rocking. Start in a tabletop position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Engage your core as you extend your right arm in front of you and left leg in back of you. Pause in this position for half of a second and then draw your right elbow and left knee into your torso. Repeat until you complete 8-10 reps and then repeat on the other side.
This exercise focuses on working the obliques, but you still need to engage your abdominals. Sit down on your mat and lean back until you feel that your abs are engaged. Extend your legs up into a shallow “V” for a more intense workout, or bend your knees and hover your feet about six inches above the ground. Bend your elbows out to the sides and clasp your hands together over your chest. This is the starting position. Rotate your torso to the right side and reach your elbow back as you twist. Try your best to keep your core and legs stable. Rotate back to center and then to your left side in one fluid motion. Continue rotating back and forth for 10 reps per side.
Get ready to feel the burn! Start by lying on your back with your legs extended. You can keep your arms by your sides or extend them overhead. In one movement, engage your core and lift your legs and upper body into a “V” shape. To make it more difficult, reach your fingers all the way to your toes instead of bringing your hands by your calves. Complete 8-10 reps.
This is one of the most effective moves for your obliques and rectus abdominis. Lie flat on your back and place your palms behind your head with your elbows out the sides. Keep your legs extended out in front of you. Contract your abs and lift up slightly as you twist toward your right, while you simultaneously draw your left knee in. Your right elbow and left knee should almost meet. Return to center and repeat on the other side. Complete 10 reps per side. Make sure that you reach you elbows toward your knees and don’t simply bend your knee all the way in because that is an ineffective way to do this exercise.
Lie down flat on your back with your legs extended and your arms by your sides. Engage your lower abdominals and raise your legs until they are in a vertical position. The most important thing during this exercise is to keep your lower back flat on the ground. The way you do that is by holding in your lower abdomen the entire time. Lower your legs down slowly and then continue the leg lifts. Complete 10 reps.
You can start with one time through this circuit and then advance to two or three times through the circuit for an intense ab workout.