If you’re looking for that strong and lean look in your abs, then you are going to have to work hard at it. Luckily, if you do the right exercises in the right proportions, you can ensure optimal results and maximize your workout efficiency. The following exercises will provide you with the right guidance to strengthen the abdominal muscles and get you on the road to a leaner, well-defined six-pack!
Do 3 sets of each of the following exercises at least two times a week and always aim for failure on each set:
1. Weighted Sit-Ups
An advanced exercise used to maximize strength and muscular endurance in the stomach region (rectus abdominis).
- Start by lying flat on the floor with your knees bent. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands and hold it over your head.
- Crunch all the way up until both shoulder blades come off the ground and then reach over your knees with the weight in hand and touch your feet with the dumbbell (exhale).
- Slowly return your upper body to the starting position (inhale), touch the floor over your head with the weight and then repeat.
2. Knees-Up Crunches
To develop the muscles of the lower abdominal area (rectus abdominis).
- Lie down on your back and lift your legs off the ground and cross your feet.
- Keeping your legs up at a 90-degree angle, place your hands behind your head and crunch up until your shoulder blades come off the ground (exhale), keeping your head looking up at the ceiling.
- Slowly return back to the starting position (inhale) and then repeat.
3. Bicycle Crunches
This exercise is used to develop the muscles of the stomach (rectus abdominis) and side muscles of the stomach (obliquus externus abdominis).
- Start by lying flat on the floor with both knees bent.
- Bring both knees up off the floor until your upper leg is parallel with the floor.
- Crunch up until both shoulder blades come off the ground and then twist your upper body so that one elbow touches your opposite knee (exhale).
- Slowly return your upper body to the starting position and then repeat on the other side.
- Continue alternating each side until the desired number of repetitions are achieved.
4. Leg Raises
Targets the muscles of the core (rectus abdominis, obliquus externus abdominis, erector spinae) with special emphasis on the pelvic (iliopsoas) muscles as well.
- Lie on your back with your hands placed on the floor on either side of you.
- With your toes pointing forward, lift both legs up at the same time until a 90-degree angle is reached at the waist (exhale).
- Slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position (inhale) and repeat the motion just before your feet touch the floor!
- If you want to look in the mirror and see a washboard stomach staring back at you, then you must be consistent with your efforts. Performing these exercises sporadically isn’t going to get you the results you want. If you can do this routine at least two times per week, and follow a clean diet, you will be on the road to washboard abs.