Try this challenging but rewarding six-move workout to sculpt a solid six-pack, from the experts at Coach’s sister brand Men’s Fitness.
In the pursuit of rock-hard abs a lot of people still think you need to bang out hundreds of sit-ups morning, noon and night. But the fact that so many people can knock out triple digits for the move, yet still don’t have impressive abs, shows that they’re doing little more than wasting time and energy. So what is the best approach? We’re glad you asked.
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The short answer is the following six-move abs workout. The exercises are divided into two tri-sets, which is when you do three moves in succession with only minimal rest in between. The first tri-set hits your upper, lower and side abs from multiple angles to work them harder than ever. The second tri-set is made up of three plank variations, which will further tax your abs as well as the deep-lying muscles of the core.
Hitting the entire muscle region in this fast, intense way will expose many muscle fibres to a huge amount of tension and workload. And because your abs are like every other muscle group, the more you make them work, the more reason they have to grow.
How To Get The Most Out Of This Workout
- Tense before each tri-set: Before you start each tri-set take a second or two to inhale and fully engage your core. Starting with tension on your abs will make it easier to maintain this tension for the duration of the first move and the two moves that follow it.
- Use a full range of motion: The moves in the first tri-set require a lot of side-to-side rotations. This will work your side abs harder, but only if you rotate back and forth through a full range of motion. Focus on form and keep the reps slow and controlled for maximum impact.
- Keep your hips up: In the second tri-set all three moves are plank variations. It’s crucial that you keep your hips up and glutes engaged for the whole set. Letting your hips sag is bad form and disengages your core muscles, which need to be activated at all times.
- Keep breathing: When the going gets tough during abs moves it’s tempting to hold your breath to grit it out. Don’t. It’ll send your blood pressure sky-high. Keep breathing deep and controlled.
- Forget about pain: By the final move of each tri-set your abs will be on fire. That’s bad for you at the time, but means your abs are well out of their comfort zone. Ignore the pain – it’s only for a few seconds.
- Only do good reps: With any exercise, only quality reps count towards building muscle definition. As soon as your form suffers, stop, take a breath, then go again, if you can do so safely.
The 20-Minute Abs Workout
1A Gym ball twist
Sets 3 Reps 12 each side Tempo 2011 Rest 10sec
Lie with your upper back supported on a gym ball and feet flat on the floor. Use your abs to raise your torso. Rotate it to one side, then back down. Repeat to the other side and continue alternating sides.
1B Gym ball Russian twist
Sets 3 Reps 12 each side Tempo 1111 Rest 10sec
Still on the gym ball, hold a weight plate above your chest with straight arms. Lower it to one side, back to the top, then down to the other side. Continue alternating sides.
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1C Gym ball jackknife
Sets 3 Reps 12 each side Tempo 2111 Rest 2min
Get into a press-up position but with your feet on the gym ball. Bring your knees to your chest, then to one side. Return to the start, then repeat to the other side. Continue alternating sides.
2A Gym ball decline plank
Sets 3 Time 30-60sec Rest 10sec
Start in the plank position but with your feet on the gym ball. Raise your hips to keep your body straight from head to heels. Hold for as long as you can, up to 60 seconds.
2B Gym ball incline plank
Sets 3 Time 30-60sec Rest 10sec
Start in the plank position but with your hands on the gym ball. Raise your hips to keep your body straight from head to heels. Hold for as long as you can, up to 60 seconds.
2C Gym ball side plank
Sets 3 Time 30-60sec each side Rest 10sec
Start in the side plank position but with one elbow on the ball. Raise your hips to form a straight line from head to heels. Hold for up to 60 seconds then switch elbows.
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