Who doesn’t want a finely sculpted set of abs to show off to the world? We know we do! And yet, developing a killer 6-pack is one of the most difficult things for people to achieve. In fact, ask most people and they’ll tell you that sculpting abs is the most complicated thing they’ll ever do. Well, guess what. That couldn’t be any further from the truth. Gaining beautiful and chiseled abs is one of the hardest things anyone can do, yes. But it’s not complicated. There’s a big difference there that really needs to be acknowledged.
Gaining abs requires patience and the commitment to stick to a plan of attack. This means finding a balance between an ab friendly diet and hitting the right exercises to get your abs in shape. Contrary to popular belief, performing 300 crunches a day won’t get you picture perfect abs. In fact, most of the exercises that actually help get your abdominals thick have nothing to do with sitting up or crunching. So without further ado, check out some of the top exercises for getting that 6-pack.
Exercise 1: Hanging Leg Raises
Let’s start this list off with a real challenge: hanging leg raises. Not only does this exercise require a lot of arm strength, it also requires great control and tons of core power. To perform this exercise, you will need to hang from a chin-up bar and then raise both of your legs until they form a 90-degree angle with your torso. Remember to keep your entire body engaged. When you get to a point where the exercise starts feeling easy, you can add a challenge by rotating your legs from side to side.
Exercise 2: Russian Twists
Boy do our abdominal s love them Russians. Russian twists are fantastic when it comes to engaging your entire core, but they definitely hit much harder at your oblique muscles. To do a proper Russian twist, sit down on the floor and hold a weight with both hands. While you can choose whatever type of weight you want, most people find it more convenient to grip a medicine ball. Lift your feet slightly off the ground and lean back, balancing on your glutes, before twisting your torso right and left. Twist until your arms or the weight you are holding become parallel with the floor.
Exercise 3: Kettlebell Windmills
Have we told you how awesome kettlebells are? Not only do kettlebells give you a good cardiac workout, they’re also great for a wide range of weight lifting exercises that will target your core. Our favorite for ab sculpting? Kettlebell Windmills. Kettlebell windmills are fantastic compound movements that works your core rotation. Start by clean-and-pressing the kettlebell over your head while rotating your wrist. After, move and bend your hip to the right or the left and lean into that side until you’re able to touch the floor with your free hand. Remember that to perform this exercise properly, the kettlebell must remain over your head throughout the whole movement. Come back up again at your hip, lower the kettlebell, switch hands and repeat.
Exercise 4: Planks
Ah, the humble plank. So simple and yet so effective not just at developing overall core strength but also at developing stability. To get into a proper plank position, simply hold yourself up with both elbows in the prone position. Keep your back straight and your core engaged, making sure that the weight isn’t in your shoulders but being held by your abdomen. Hold the position for as long as you possibly can to get the most out of it. You can also try the side plank to make it more difficult.
Exercise 5: Seated Leg Tucks
The seated leg tuck really helps to develop the lower and upper regions of your rectus abdominis. The best part? You don’t need any fancy equipment to get it done. In fact, all you need is a bench. To perform a seated leg tuck, sit on the bench crosswise while holding on to the side of the bench for support. Your starting position will be with your upper body leaning back at a 45-degree angle and your legs slightly raised off the floor. Using a scissor like movement, bend your knees and lift them towards your head while curling your upper body forward. As your pelvis and rib cage squeeze together, you should feel the burn in your upper and lower abdominal s. Try slowing the movements down to really get your abs working hard.
Exercise 6: Exercise Ball Pull-Ins
For those trying to develop and shape their lower abdominals, there’s nothing quite like the exercise ball pull in. Start out by lying on a stability ball with your stomach facing down and your hands firmly planted on the floor. Slowly walk your body over the stability ball until only your calves are left on the ball and the rest of your body is in a push-up position. Keeping your core engaged, bring your knees forward to your chest. This should make the exercise ball roll forward in the same direction until only the top of your feet are left on the ball. Hold the position for a second or two before straightening your legs and rolling the ball back out into your starting position.
Exercise 7: Cable Crunches
No, ladies and gentlemen, these are not your run-of-the-mill crunches. Cable crunches aren’t just challenging; they’ll really force your entire abdominal wall to work as hard as possible to build a set of rock solid abs. To perform this exercise, you will need an overhead pulley with a rope attached. Take each end of the rope and kneel down so that you have one end in each hand grasped in front of your forehead. Slowly bend and curl your torso down, rounding your back at the same time and reaching your head towards your knees. Once you get down to a full crunch, squeeze your abs for up to 3 seconds then slowly release and return to your starting position.