Spring Break is just around the corner and summertime is not that far away either. So, naturally, everyone wants a set of killer abs for the “shirt off” season. If you are one of those people, we got you covered. Next time you hit the gym on “ab day” do these exercises and, of course, don’t forget to cut down on those carbs if you want all this hard work to actually have an effect. So put that cookie down and come with us if you want to lift.
1. Ab Wheel Rollouts
This will test your overall core strength and will have you in tears next time you try to sneeze. However, it will also give you a rockhard core and let’s face it, no use in having a six pack if it doesn’t feel like granite when touched by chicks.
You can do this exercise in a number of ways, the usual method is by an ab wheel. If you don’t have one at home or at your gym, you can also use a barbell, dumbbells or a TRX-like suspension trainer. For simplicity sake, let’s assume you are using an ab wheel. Kneeling on a fitness mat, grab an ab wheel by its handles and simply roll forwards then when you get to the point where you can’t go any further, roll back.
Do 2 sets with 10 reps of this. If you see that this is too easy for you, try doing a roll out from a standing position and then returning back to a standing position.
2. Cable Ab Rotation
This one is also more commonly known as the “Wood Chopper” due to the motion of the exercise seemingly mimicking a Lumberjack cutting down a tree. This is an exercise for the oblique which is a fancy way of saying side abs.
Go to a cable pulley and adjust the machine so it’s level with your waist. Grab the handle with both hands, with your back (or you can face it sideways) facing the machine. Then start rotating your torso while keeping your arms locked in position, stopping right as your torso comes in line with your lower body. Return the cable in its initial position and repeat again 12 more times with 2 more sets.
3. Rope Crunch
Now that you’ve finished chopping wood, don’t leave the pulley just yet, because you’re gonna need it again. Put a rope on that pulley and raise it to head height. Grab the rope and drop into a kneeling position with the rope fixed against the back of your neck. Now, drive your elbows into your thighs, almost as if you are in a praying motion.
If you want to add some extra range of motion, flare your elbows out a bit and go all the way down until your head touches the mat. Try to get a high number of reps, anything between 15 and 20 is a-okay. Do 3 sets of these.
More exercises on the next page…
4. Russian Twist
After using all those machines and equipment, it’s time for some bodyweight ab work. This one looks easy and simple but it’s a devil in disguise. You start from a sitting position on the floor or fitness mat with your legs slightly lifted in the air. After that, you will put your hands so that your palms are one over another in a way that your thumbs are interlocking.
Once you’ve completed steps one and two, start twisting your torso with your hands touching the ground on each side.
It’s a another high rep exercise, so aim for 30 to 40 reps minimum or exhaustion, whichever comes first. Since this is a finisher type exercise do it as the last exercise of your workout.If you find this easy, try adding resistance with a dumbbell, kettlebell or a heavy plate.
5. Toe-Touch Crunches
This will work your entire abdominal area and give you a fairly strong core. Lay down with your entire body stretched out with hands over your head. In one motion, raise your legs and upper body touching your toes. In the same controlled manner lower your legs and lower your arms and legs back into the starting position.
If you already have a strong core, make sure your legs hover just above the ground before performing another rep. You can also add a medicine ball, kettlebell or a heavy plate and do the same motion with one of those in your hands.
6. Flutter Kicks
This one is a killer, but as one modern day muscle poet once said, “whatever it takes, goddamnit!” Let’s get right into this! Lay on your back and slightly raise your legs and back above the ground.
Now starts fluttering your legs up and down, never lowering them and never raising them too high above the ground. Your entire core will be in one giant cramp of pain and you will be begging for mercy after the first 10 seconds but in the end you’ll have fitness model abs. Since this is another finisher exercise, aim for a very high number of reps or complete exhaustion, one set will be all you need.