Unleash your abs with an explosive ab workout plan, because getting into shape is almost every bloke’s goal, whether that’s publically broadcast or slowly simmering each time they wake up the day after dreading the fact that they’ll need to forego the beers to get the brawn. However, we often overlook the fact that getting washboard abs goes beyond just training and a consistently healthy diet.
You might be hitting the gym every day, but you’ll most likely fail to see your desired results if you’ve got the wrong workout plan. And yes, diet is another crucial factor determining how long you will be training in the gym before ripping your body.
It sounds easy. Decrease body fat while working on chiselling that washboard stomach you’ve always spotted on the beach with a tingling bit of envy. And yeah, it’s as simple as that when you think about it but knowing the right cardiovascular exercise program for you so you can drop that body fat percentage without losing muscle mass is fine art you’d have to work on to get exactly right.
RELATED: 10 Best Shoulder Workouts & Exercises For Men
As mentioned above, a healthy diet is obviously a must, and decreasing your fat intake with a well-balanced diet is mostly just a matter of willpower. But there’s a lot more than that; you’ll need to be very familiar with the best ab workouts for men if you want results you’re happy with. You know it’s tough, but once your body forms that ideal image you’ve got sitting in your head and that body fat melts away, very few things in life are as rewarding.
Sound good? Let’s get you across some of the best and most effective abdominal exercises then so you can get familiar and leap your way into a very strong core.
First, before you dive headfirst into these abdominal exercises, it’s important that you realise changing your body fat percentage depends on various other factors like consistency and a healthy diet. As with all exercises geared towards fat loss, carefully managing your calories and fat intake is crucial. If you’ve got a well-balanced diet, then you’re ready to tackle these ab workouts so you can work your way to getting that washboard stomach. From hanging knee-ups to the reverse crunch, read on for the most effective ab workouts for men.
This article on abdominal exercises should not be used as a replacement for individualised health advice and the best approach before you start is to always consider your own goals, your own baseline and wherever possible consult a physio, exercise scientist or personal trainer if you want to make sure you’re doing all these abdominal exercises correctly.
Ab Workout Table Of Contents
- Why Is Abs Training Important?
- What Are Washboard Abs?
- Anatomy Of Your Abs
- Get Washboard Abs With These Exercises
- How To Train Your Abs Faster
- 3 Tips To Make Your Abs Workouts More Effective
- Ab Workout – Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Abs Training Important?
Besides getting a superb physique, training your abs more often will score multiple benefits for your muscles. Over time, this translates into improved physical performance. Ab workouts don’t just involve sit-ups and push-ups. This article will fill you in on other vital exercises that will get you those hard-won washboard abs in no time.
Just remember to maintain proper form at all times to minimise the risk of injury, so most of these workouts will require you to keep your feet flat or your knees bent, or your arms extended and sometimes your legs extended. These instructions are important and not just included as suggestions.
Before looking at these ab exercises, here are some benefits you stand to gain by training your abs.
1. Improved Balance And Stability
An ab workout will strengthen your entire core, which will help enhance your body’s stability. This means that stronger abs are a clear sign of better balance and stability in everything you do. Therefore, getting the right balance is especially important for athletes.
Correct posture is also an outward sign of confidence and strength, not only do women find this as one of the most attractive qualities in a man, but it will also go far in earning you respect around the office and with peers. Optics matter and good posture is the best optic of them all.
2. Reduced Back Pain
Weak abs also force your back muscles to work harder. Stronger abs can relieve the burden on your back muscles while at the same time protecting you from tension-related injuries.
Well-defined core muscles prevent your tummy from hanging, leading to a bad posture. Failure to exercise your abs could make your body hunch. Again, this puts more pressure on your back muscles to work harder. People who are overweight can attest that they often feel back pain because of their hunched posture.
3. Lower Risk Of Injury
Ab workouts will make you stronger, and you will notice that you rarely struggle when performing other exercises. Your great posture will make it easy for you to get the perfect movements, which helps prevent injuries.
So, you might assume that home ab workouts are unnecessary because you perform other compound exercises like deadlifts and squats. However, the benefits of training your abs indicate that they are equally important and worth focusing on them.
Again, just take note of all parts of a workout and note the smaller details like using a weight plate, keeping your shoulder blades upright, your legs in a straight line or your arms extended overhead. As above, none of these words should be taken with a grain of salt. If the exercise says to do something specific, it’s for a reason.
4. Better Performance
For sports players, in particular, stronger abs are an absolute must. If you’re playing a sport such as football, basketball, tennis or soccer, you’ll be required to constantly produce force with your limbs, which means turning your body frequently while trying to maintain posture. With stronger abs, your spine will be neutral and your core will be stable, reducing the risk of injury (as above) but also enhancing your performance.
5. Easier Breathing
With stronger abs, your body will be stacked much better overall and hence it will be easier to breathe properly in all situations. Developing those stronger breathing muscles like your diaphragm and intercostals comes easier with better core strength according to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
6. A Slimmer Waistline
There’s more to a slimmer waistline than just looking good and helping your clothes fit well. Your waist circumference has long been known as a market for long-term health risks and the development of conditions such as diabetes. Six-pack abs are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also help you actually live a life without the added stress of lifestyle diseases.
What Are Washboard Abs?
The common term washboard abs refer to being able to see the individual bumps of someone’s recus abdominis muscle. You need a solid core training program and a healthy diet to get to this point. For men, a flat stomach like this would typically be around 10% to 14% body fat. The term washboard abs obviously refer to the rigidity of a washboard, which is what a flat belly resembles.
Washboard abs and six-pack abs are usually thought of as synonymous but there is a key difference. Six pack abs have a clear definition with 6 bulging muscles that are obvious, which is usually what people talk about when they refer to a bloke with strong definition in this muscle group. That means a washboard stomach is more in reference to a flat belly and is hence more used for women than men.
Regardless, throughout the article, we will refer to both interchangeably as they have come to mean the same thing. The goal is the same, after all – lose weight, look good and feel better.
Anatomy Of Your Abs
Every time you hit the gym, it’s crucial to know which part of the body you are training and how best to train it.
There are five main muscles in this group: pyramidalis (found on each side of the linea alba), rectus abdominus, external obliques, internal obliques, and transversus abdominis.
If you’ve tried an ab workout at home, you must have noticed that different exercises work on other parts of your abdominal muscles. After completing your reps, you may feel a burning sensation on the upper or the lower abdominal muscles. Generally, upper abs exercises involve exercises that focus more on pulling your upper body.
To get a six-pack, core exercises involve working on your middle abs. This part of your ab muscles is vital for flexing your spine.
Working on your lower abs is more challenging for most people than the upper or middle abs. People who are overweight take time to see their lower abs form. Exercises to train your lower abs will also be discussed in this critique.
Get Washboard Abs With These Exercises
1. Ab Crunch (Sit-Ups)
Let’s start with ab exercises for men. Ab crunch, also called sit-ups, is a common type of ab workout that helps build and strengthen your core muscles. It remains one of the best exercises that will get your abs ripped in no time. While it might seem like a simple workout, you can challenge yourself by using a plate weight or a dumbbell.
Here’s how to do sit-ups the right way
- Find a comfortable spot and lie on your back. You can use your training mat here.
- Bend your knees, position your arms on your temple and raise your torso while keeping your core engaged.
- Consider using a plate weight or a dumbbell to challenge your ab muscles while performing the ab crunches.
- Ensure you keep your neck straight while raising your torso.
Perform three sets, counting to 10 for every set.
The plank exercise is one of the best home ab workouts. When done correctly, this ab routine can separate men from the boys. This workout comes highly recommended because it works on your core muscles in one hit. You will engage the upper, middle, and lower ab muscles during this exercise.
- Lie flat on the floor and assume a plank position by placing your forearms and elbows on the floor.
- Raise your body off the floor using your toes and aim to keep your back straight.
- Keep your neck straight by looking at the floor. Looking straight ahead might strain your neck.
- Hold the plank position for 1 minute. Relax. That’s 1 set.
- If you’re not new to this exercise, try holding the plank position for 2 minutes or more.
- Perform three sets.
3. Barbell Russian Twist
Core abs workout also requires working on the sides of your abs. This helps to tone your ab muscles and burn your belly fat. The barbell Russian twist is a great workout to strengthen your core and trim your abs to get the right shape. Apart from working on the abs, this exercise will work the thighs, hamstrings, shoulders, and obliques.
Put some weight on one end of a barbell and lock it. Use lightweight when starting to get the proper movement before putting on more weight. Light weights can be quite challenging if you do more reps (repetitions).
- Lift the weight above your eye level and hold it with both hands.
- Keep your arms straight and gradually lower the barbell to your right hip.
- Lift the weight back to the starting position before lowering it to your left hip.
- Keep your core engaged as you move the weight from one side to another.
- Perform three sets of 8-10 on either side.
4. Leg Raise
Leg raises are a simple ab workout, but they can make a massive difference to your abs when performed well. Here’s how to do it.
- Lie on the floor or on a mat. Hold onto something heavy at the back of your head. For instance, a bench or a chair can offer you the support you need here.
- With your legs straight, raise them until vertical. Remember to keep both your left leg and right leg aligned at all times.
- Gently lower them back in position while keeping your core engaged. Don’t drop them to the floor – tighten your core as you return to the starting position before performing the next rep.
- Perform three sets of 8-10 reps.
5. Medicine Ball Russian Twist
Medicine ball Russian twist is another explosive version of the Russian twist that will give you the burning sensation while doing your ab exercises at home.
- Sit on the floor and assume a sit-up position.
- Hold a medicine ball right above your knee with both hands.
- Explosively twist your body while moving the medicine ball to the left. Twist and move the ball to the right. That’s one rep.
- Perform three sets of 8-10 reps.
6. Slow Hanging Leg Raises
Slow hanging leg raises will target your lower abs, external obliques, and hip flexors.
- Stand beneath a bar that is above your head. Reach out for the bar with both hands, giving you a hanging position.
- Keep your back straight, engage your core, and lift your legs by bending your knees to your waist height.
- Hold in place for about 2 seconds and lower the legs to the starting position.
- Perform three sets of 8-10 reps.
7. Side Plank With Elevated Foot
After working on your abs using any of the above exercises, you should also focus on those obliques. Side planks with an elevated foot can ensure you target those thin muscles.
- Assume a side plank position and keep both feet together.
- Engage your core and raise the left foot and the left arm.
- Hold this position for 1 minute. Ensure you don’t hatch your back while in place.
- Switch sides and hold in the same position for 1 minute.
- Repeat twice on either side.
8. Dumbbell Side Bend
You will require a dumbbell for this ab workout. This exercise works on those external obliques. Incorporating this exercise into your ab workout routine will help to provide a good definition of your outer ab sections.
- Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold a dumbbell in your left hand with your palm facing inwards.
- Keep your back straight and core engaged. Gradually bend toward your left foot as far as possible.
- Move to the starting position and perform 10 reps.
- Switch sides and hold the dumbbell using the right hand. Perform 10 reps.
- Repeat the exercise three times on either side.
- Increase the weight of the dumbbell for a tougher challenge.
9. Battle Rope Slams
Battle rope slams are a full-body exercise that provides numerous benefits besides working on your ab muscles.
- Stand straight in front of the battle ropes.
- Hold the ropes tightly on your hands with your knees slightly bent.
- Keep your back straight, raise the ropes to your head level, and slam them hard on the floor. While doing this, keep your core tight and engaged.
- Aim to perform many reps for one minute.
10. Two-Point Bridge
The two-point bridge will target your abs, arms, legs, back, shoulders, and neck. It’s a great workout routine for the entire body.
- Assume a push-up position.
- Hold in position and lift your left arm and right leg off the floor simultaneously.
- Stay in this position for 10 seconds, then relax to your starting position. Count this as one rep.
- Switch sides and hold for another 10 seconds. That’s the second rep.
- Perform 10 reps on either side.
11. Side Jackknife
You will have to work on those obliques more often to give your abs the perfect frame from the sides. The side jackknife exercise is a must-do at home ab workout routine. Here’s how to effectively perform this exercise.
- Assume a side plank position with your right elbow on the floor for balance.
- Hold the left hand on your temple or behind your ear. Keep the elbow pointed toward your feet.
- Raise your feet slightly above the floor while ensuring that your torso is in position.
- Hold this position for 15 seconds to feel the contraction on the left side of your waist.
- Relax and switch sides. Do the same for the right side.
- Perform two reps on either side.
Sure, you might question why this exercise is on this list. Most people ignore this exercise because they assume it only works on the lower body. However, it’s a compound exercise that can help strengthen your core. Both front and back squats can also give you an ideal posture.
Consider incorporating squats in between your weekly workout program to keep things interesting. If you are following a strict 7-day six-pack program, work on your legs first. The last thing you need is to squat when you’re feeling weak.
- Strand straight with feet hip-width apart
- Tighten those stomach muscles
- Lower your back down, keep it straight, as if you were going to sit on a chair. Keep those knees bent.
- Straight your legs to lift back up. Don’t let your knees buckle.
- Repeat movement
13. Ab Wheel Rollout
Ab wheel rollout is a common ab exercise that most people practice at home and at the gym. Some studies indicate that this workout is even more effective than sit-ups, hanging leg raises, and reverse crunches. Here’s how to safely perform this exercise.
- Kneel on the floor with a mat placed on your knees. Hold an ab wheel in position right below your shoulders.
- Tighten your abs and roll the wheel until your head is almost between your arms.
- Slowly roll yourself back to your starting position. That’s one rep.
- Do three sets of 8-10 reps.
14. Arms-High Partial Sit-Up
The arms-high partial sit-up ab workout routine is good for newbies, especially if you don’t want to strain yourself. It’s a simple exercise that will work on your back, shoulders, arms, and abs.
- Assume a sit-up position.
- Start by raising your arms above your head as far as you can.
- Return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
- Perform three sets of 8-10 reps.
15. V Sit-Up
V sit-up is an explosive exercise that will work on your lower and upper abs. If you’re struggling with belly fat, consider incorporating this exercise into your home ab workouts.
- Lie on the floor facing up and extend your arms behind your head.
- Tighten your core and raise your feet slightly while at the same time raising your upper body.
- Extend your arms to touch your feet, creating a V-shape.
- It might be difficult to touch your feet at first, but this should be easy once you’re flexible enough.
- Perform three sets of 8-10 reps.
How To Train Your Abs Faster
Now you have all the best ab workouts that will get you ripped within weeks. Try the following short programs if you’re looking to train your abs within the shortest time possible. These exercises are an ideal option when you don’t have all the time to do hundreds of crunches.
3-Minute Ab Routine To Train Your Abs Faster
- Leg raises – 30 seconds
- Planks – 30 seconds
- V sit-ups – 30 seconds
- Medicine ball Russian twists – 30 seconds
- Sit-ups – 30 seconds
- Relax and stretch
3 Minute Plank Shifts To Train Your Abs Faster
- Normal plank – 30 seconds
- Plank with an elevated right foot – 30 seconds
- Normal plank – 30 seconds
- Side plank – 30 seconds
- Plank with an elevated left foot – 30 seconds
3 Tips To Make Your Abs Workouts More Effective
Exercising the same muscles every day might not be the best way to get the most from your ab training routine. The following tips should ensure you get the most from the few minutes you exercise your ab muscles.
1. Variation Is Key
Always try to perform different ab exercises to ensure your ab muscles don’t adapt to your routine. If you performed lower ab exercises during a specific day, try switching things up the next time you train. This will give you the best workout.
2. Increase Your Intensity
You’ve often heard that you should either “go hard or go home.” Well, there’s no easy way out when working on your abs. You must focus on increasing your intensity. The goal is to challenge your ab muscles beyond what it has been used to. Combining variation with intensity will give you desirable results within a short period.
3. Train Your Mind
Ab exercises are engaging, and you must be mentally strong to push yourself to do an extra rep or more. So, you must train mindfully for the best results.
It doesn’t matter what training goals you’ve set for yourself. It’s never too late to start training your abs. Getting the physique you want is a challenge. The exercises pointed out here should help you get the ripped body you strongly desire within a couple of weeks. If you want to see the results of your hard work, you need to train your abs consistently.
Ab Workout Exercises For Men – Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best ab exercises & workouts to get a six pack quickly?
While, sadly, there’s not really any such thing as a quick fix, some of the best ab exercises to help you achieve that six pack and lose that belly fat include the V sit up, ab wheel rollout, leg raise, plank and ab crunch.
What foods should I avoid if I want a six pack?
Obviously, you’ll want to avoid the typical foods that increase belly fat fast, so cut down on carbs and unhealthy fats. Any fast food and processed food should be avoided whenever possible. As long as you’ve got the discipline then there’s no way you can’t achieve those fitness goals.
How can I tone my abs fast?
You need to strengthen your core muscles whenever possible so make sure you’re planking for a good 30 to 60 seconds regularly, as well as doing side planks to work out your lateral abs. Squats and lunges work particularly well when it comes to toning your abs.