Build Your Own 6-Pack

Everything you need to know about abs.


In putting together an ultimate routine for abs, you will hit each of the four visible muscle groups, as well as the core muscles. By the same token, you don’t want to create such a long, arduous routine that you’ll never want to do it. The best way to achieve this is by hitting as many areas of the abdominal region as possible using the fewest exercises. Although on paper, our workouts may seem like a lot (at least more than the set or two of crunches most bodybuilders tack onto the end of their training sessions), performing one of the three suggested routines should take less than 10 minutes to complete. Yes, it’s intense, but it’s effective, and if followed to a T, you will get your 6-pack.


Primary target: Upper rectus abdominis, obliques

Secondary target: Core

>> The crunch is the old faithful of ab exercises — easy to perform and highly effective. But despite being the gold standard, it’s often performed improperly. The idea isn’t to see how high you can lift your torso off of the ground, rather it is to determine how far you can “crunch” your shoulders down toward your hips as you roll your spine forward. In actuality, this is a short movement, but if done at a controlled pace, it will yield dramatic results.


Primary target: Serratus, upper rectus abdominis

Secondary target: Core

>> Lie on your back on the floor with a kettlebell or dumbbell in one hand. Ten to 20 pounds should do the trick to start. Extend the arm with the weight so that it’s perpendicular to the floor as you keep your other arm to your side. Place both feet flat on the floor. Push the weight as high as you can using only the muscles of your upper torso.


Primary target: Lower rectus abdominis

Secondary target: Core

>> Lie on your back on the floor with your arms down at your sides and the backs of your hands tucked under your hips. Alternately raise one leg, and then the other, from an inch above the floor to about eight inches above the floor. You’re essentially doing with your legs what you do when you’re swimming. It’s a quick, but controlled, movement. This targets the lower rectus abdominis.


Primary target: Lower rectus abdominis, obliques

Secondary target: Core

>> You’ve probably done these before, which is a good thing, because they work. To do these, you can either use a pair of leg-raise cuffs or simply hang from a chinning bar. Raise your knees up to your stomach and lower them without allowing body momentum to assist your reps. As your strength improves, straighten your knees for added resistance.


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