Abdominal Exercise Workout

The Almighty six pack
The Almighty six pack

Get a Chiseled Six Pack

 

There is nothing more coveted than the mighty six pack.  Men seek to build one and women love a man with a defined mid section.  Everywhere you look you see advertisements for building a six pack and advice is everywhere on what to do.  In this article I am going to break down some of the greatest abdominal exercises to get a six pack.

Step one is going to be the hardest step for everyone to do.  This involves changing your diet.  A six pack diet has very few carbohydrates and very little fatty foods.  However, the six pack diet is a topic for a different hub.

Step two is not so hard but requires dedication.  In order to let your six-pack shine through the layers of fat that covers them is by doing cardio vascular exercises.  Once more that is a topic for a different hub.

Step Three is the exercises you need to do to build and strengthen you abdominal muscles.  Because of the fact that there are hundreds of abdominal exercises a person can do I will only cover the ones that will benefit you the most.  In previous hubs of this series I go over some very basic abdominal exercises like the sit-up and the crunch. 

When exercising your abdominal muscles you need to break down every exercise into one of three categories: upper abdominal, lower abdominal, and oblique abdominal.  These are the three major sections of the abdominal group and the only ones that need to be focused on.

Upper Abdominal Exercises

 

The upper abdominal exercises focus on the top three group of the six pack.  While focusing on these muscles is vital, it is not the only group to focus on.  The six pack stems from this grouping of muscle ridges, but it must be coupled with lower and oblique abdominal exercises for a total effect.  The best upper abdominal exercises are the sit-up and the crunches for endurance of the muscle group so don’t neglect these exercises while working on your six-pack.  Other upper abdominal exercises focus on building the muscle such as: a weighted crunch, a cable crunch, and the roman chair weighted sit-up.

Weighted Crunch

The weighted crunch is just as it sounds.  Just like the normal crunch this exercise focuses on the upper abdominal muscles.  You are simply adding resistance to the crunch.  Start by lying on the floor with your knees flexed at a 90 degree angle, and holding a weight above your chest.  You want your arms to be straight out and don’t bend them.  The action of this exercise is to raise your shoulder blades off the floor.  In the up position flex your abs and hold for approximately two seconds, and then lower yourself back down to the ground.  Each movement in this exercise needs to be controlled and steady; never let yourself fall by releasing your abs. Remember we are going for a burn here.  Conduct this exercise by slowing doing ten repetitions, rest for 30 seconds, and then do another set.

The weighted crunch start position
The weighted crunch start position
The weighted crunch up position
The weighted crunch up position

Cable Crunch

 

The cable crunch is required to be performed in a gym with a cable machine.  The cable machine has a series of pulleys that you can manipulate to perform this exercise.  Set the pulley at the top of the slide bar and attach a rope attachment.  The rope attachment has two rubber balls on the ends; this is where your hands go.  You can do this exercise in one of two ways.  The first way, which in my opinion is less effective, is standing up.  Stand up with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart, and the rope attachment over your shoulders.  Grab the rope at your neck and simply bend forward while keeping your lower body stationary.  You will want to select a weight that you can easily move and adjust from there for maximum effectiveness. 

The second method is the same except you are kneeling and you bend down like you’re praying to the six-pack gods.  Grab a towel or an exercise mat to kneel on so you protect your knees.  You will hold the rope attachment in the same way and bend all the way forward while only moving your upper body.  You should feel the burn in your upper abs, if you don’t then reassess your exercise form and make adjustments as needed.  These exercises, whichever one you choose to do, should be done to failure.  I.E you can’t do anymore, rest for one minute, and then do another set to failure.

Cable Crunch

The Cable Crunch up position
The Cable Crunch up position
The Cable Crunch down position
The Cable Crunch down position

The Roman Chair Weighted Sit-Up

A roman chair is a seat and a foot holder.  There is no back to this chair so if you cannot hold yourself up don’t perform this exercise.  When you sit on the roman chair, test it to see if you need a weight or not.  If you can do ten of regular sit-ups on it without having ridiculous back spasms, you should be fine to grab a weight and continue.  Either way this exercise will help build your abdominal supporting muscles, I.E your back.  Grab a weight and lay back so your body is parallel to the ground, the weight will be held at a forty five degree angle to your body.  The action is to then sit up keeping the weight over your lap.  Do not go all the way up; raise your upper body until it is roughly in a forty five degree position.  This exercise should be done to failure, rest for thirty seconds, and perform another set to failure.

The Roman Chair Weighted Sit-up start position
The Roman Chair Weighted Sit-up start position
The Roman Chair Weighted Sit-up up position
The Roman Chair Weighted Sit-up up position

Lower Abdominal Exercises

 

Just about everyone who is interested in obtaining a six pack neglects the lower abs.  The lower abs exercises help to flatten your stomach from belly button all the way down to where the abs ends.  You can have a great six pack but if your lower belly is not flat, it doesn’t look good and let’s face it that’s what this is all about.  The greatest exercises to focus on the lower abdominals are the reverse crunch, the hip thrust, the hanging leg or knee raises, and the reverse crunch on a decline bench.

The Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch is simple a crunch done backwards.  Instead of raising your upper body, you raise your legs.  Doing this exercise sounds very simple, but it isn’t.  The position for the reverse crunch starts with your back flat against the floor and your knees flexed at a 90 degree angle.  For the action of this exercise bring your knees up to your chest while rotating your hips upward and in, and contracting your abs.  Once you get back to the start position that is one repetition.  Do two sets to failure. 

The Reverse Crunch start position
The Reverse Crunch start position
The Reverse Crunch up position
The Reverse Crunch up position

The Hip Thrust

 

The hip thrust is performed by lying down on the floor with your legs perpendicular to the ground.  You will want to try to keep your legs straight.  Place your hands in line with your hips and out to the side for balance.  Simply raise your toes toward the ceiling while flexing your abdominal muscles and return to the start position to complete one repetition.  Perform this exercise to failure, rest for one minute, and then perform another set to failure.  One thing to make sure of while performing this exercise is to ensure your hips rotate inward and you flex your abs, you will also want to hold this position for two seconds and then return to the start position.

The Hip Thrust start position
The Hip Thrust start position
The Hip Thrust up position
The Hip Thrust up position

The Hanging Leg or Knee Raise

 

To perform this exercise you need to either be in a gym or have a stable bar at your home.  You could even do this wonderful exercise on a playground; just make sure it is high enough that your feet don’t hit the ground.  The first part of this exercise is to hang from a bar high enough so your feet don’t touch the ground.  The next portion is more difficult.  Depending on your difficulty level, I recommend starting out with the knee raise but if you are already in decent shape or the knee raise becomes to easy for you move to the leg raise.  The knee raise just requires that you raise your knees parallel to the ground while rotating your hips up and inward.  You can go beyond this by bringing your knees higher up, but the main focus is to rotate your hips.  This will automatically activate your abdominal muscles.  The leg raise is the same way only you are raising your legs straight out, which of course provides more pressure to your abs creating more resistance.  If you have ever been around a gym you know that more resistance means more strength.  Perform this exercise with ten repetitions then rest for thirty seconds, and perform another set.

The Hanging Leg Raise start position
The Hanging Leg Raise start position
The Hanging Leg Raise up position.  The higher your legs go the better.
The Hanging Leg Raise up position. The higher your legs go the better.
The Hanging Knee Raise start position
The Hanging Knee Raise start position
The Hanging Knee Raise up position.
The Hanging Knee Raise up position.

The Reverse Crunch on Decline Bench

The decline bench is one where the footholds are much higher than the base of the bench.  Normally this bench is used for declined sit-ups and is designed to add resistance for that exercise.  With the decline bench reverse crunch all you do is grab the footholds with your hands and bring your knees to your chest.  You must make sure that your hips are off the bench when you bring your knees up.  This movement allows your abs to contract.  A deeper contraction presents a better opportunity for a great work-out.  When you lower your legs you are not touching the ground, as a matter of fact your feet are roughly eighteen inches off the ground.  Perform this exercise to failure, rest for one minute, and then do another set to failure.

The Decline Bench Reverse Crunch start position
The Decline Bench Reverse Crunch start position
The Decline Bench Reverse Crunch up position
The Decline Bench Reverse Crunch up position

Oblique Abdominal Exercises

The oblique abdominal muscles control a lot of your twisting motions.  They are the ones that are along the side of your upper torso.  Some of the greatest exercises for the oblique are the crossover crunch, the bicycle, and the roman chair Russian twist.

The Crossover Crunch

The crossover crunch is performed in much the same way as a regular crunch, the only difference is instead of raising your body straight up you are twisting to one side and then the other.  The start position is just like the crunch, as you bring your upper body off the ground you are twisting to the left, hold for two seconds, and then lower back down.  Next, raise your body off the ground and twist to the right this time, hold for two seconds, and then lower back down.  That is one repetition.  Do this exercise to failure, rest for one minute, and then do another set to failure.

The Twisting Crunch start positon
The Twisting Crunch start positon
The Twisting Crunch to the left side
The Twisting Crunch to the left side
The Twisting Crunch to the right side
The Twisting Crunch to the right side

The Bicycle

The bicycle is fairly hard to do if you are not in good shape already, however it will get you into good shape very quickly.  Start by lying flat on the ground with your hands behind your head.  The movements for the bicycle are: lift your right leg so your knee comes towards you at the same time twist your upper body so your left elbow meets your knee; as your right leg is going back down and your left elbow is going back to center bring up your left leg so your knee comes toward you and twist your right elbow to meet your left leg.  That is one repetition.  Do two sets to failure with a one minute rest in between sets.

The Bicycle twist to the left
The Bicycle twist to the left
The Bicycle twist to the right
The Bicycle twist to the right

The Roman Chair with Russian Twist

Remember the roman chair from above?  This one is slightly different.  For this exercise you are seated on the roman chair with your feet under the foot holders, and your upper body is at about a thirty degree angle.  Grab a weight sufficient enough to reach failure in about ten repetitions.  With the weight held over your waist again simply start twisting your upper body to the left and then to the right counting one repetition on the right.  The thing to remember about this exercise is that the weight is held at arms length as you are twisting.  Always remember to contract your abs as you perform these exercises.

The Roman Chair with Russian Twist start position
The Roman Chair with Russian Twist start position
The Roman Chair with Russian Twist up position
The Roman Chair with Russian Twist up position

Hubchallenge number 18

The Hubchallenge number 18
The Hubchallenge number 18

Author’s Note

I have attempted to be as specific as possible in regards to the exercises and how to perform them.  If you have any questions about these exercises feel free to contact me to ask any questions you may have.  Furthermore, the list of exercises discussed is not all there is.  There are several other exercises that I didn’t discuss for length of the hub purposes.  If you attend a gym to do these exercises and have a question about them, the gym often staffs personal trainers that know a great deal about the exercises and how to properly perform them to avoid injury.  I highly recommend you utilize their knowledge and experience before starting any exercise, however with what I have provided in this article you should have enough information to get started.  It is also recommended that you have a physical done by a medical professional before starting any exercise program if you are over thirty years of age.

 

Copyright 2009 by Wesley Cox

More Fitness Hubs by Wesley Cox

 Before you start doing cardio, read how to choose the correct pair of shoesHome Exercise Fitness can be done without going to a gym, but I suggest starting each session by doing rotations and stretches.  Now for the best body weight exercises click here.  Now let's go to the gym and workout our Arms, our Chest, our shoulders, our back, and finally our legs.  But before you go learn which supplements are best for you and which ones are detrimental to your overall performance.

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Comments 18 comments

shamelabboush profile image

shamelabboush 7 years ago

All that is nice and understood but man the hanging leg is so tough!!! It needs time to master it! Thanks.


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

You are definitely right, that is why I put the / between hanging leg raises and the hanging knee raises. If you can't do the legs definitely do the knees. This exercise is the number one or two for strong abs. The next test of strength will be the human flag.


shamelabboush profile image

shamelabboush 7 years ago

Yesterday, I tried the weighted crunch and it was fun though there was some pain, but it's useful as I can already see the difference now. Thanks wesley, you've been such an inspiration..


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thanks shamelabboush, these exercises are not for the feint of heart. Keep with the program and your results will explode exponentially.


Workouts For Abs 6 years ago

Thanks, good discussion here!


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thanks for reading and commenting.


TVTopTen profile image

TVTopTen 6 years ago

This is a nice hub. Not only do you provide some great exercises but the pictures are really helpful. It is frustrating when people write fitness articles and leave out the pics. Great hup and thanks for sharing.

ps: hanging leg raises are tough! You start out on a leg raises machine if they have one at your gym, that way you don't have to work so hard to hold yourself up. :)


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thank you for the comment, I appreciate it very much. You are most certainly right about the leg raises.


gary richards profile image

gary richards 6 years ago from Cairns Queensland Australia

Hey, great hub


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thanks Gary, I appreciate the comment. Thanks for reading.


Kiruba 6 years ago

I am just wondering how long will it take for someone with ectomorphic body type to sculpt six packs abs?


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

I'm not sure, wish I could help you but cannot. Thanks for reading and commenting.


quickabs profile image

quickabs 6 years ago

Great hub, man... very descriptive!


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thanks quickabs, glad you enjoyed it.


Positivep profile image

Positivep 4 years ago from New York

I'm glad I found this....


KBEvolve profile image

KBEvolve 4 years ago from United States

I picked a few new ideas from this article, and I liked that you included photos for each exercise.


jackass 4 years ago

Great hub man.. I will try all these abs exercises...


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 4 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thanks for reading and enjoying.

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