Most people who try to get shredded abs do endless crunching exercises. Sure, they can help develop your abs to a certain level but for the most part, they’ll just give you lower back pain and your body will get use to them so you won’t be able to get ripped abs. Every once in a while, you have to challenge yourself so your abs not only look good but become tough as hell!
Legendary figures like Bruce Lee understood this, that’s why he always had a set of ripped abs and could probably kick your ass any day of the week if he was still here. Unlike most guys who don’t even lift, he was not only ripped, but had incredible core strength. One of the many reasons was because of his hardcore ab training that he used. Here are six hardcore ab exercises that only top of the line workout freaks do, they will take your abs visually and performance wise to the next level!
1. Weighted Planks
Planks are one of the most underrated ab exercises in the gym. Everybody prefers to spend their time doing useless machine crunches but can’t bare to hold their own bodyweight for even a minute. Of course, it’s easy to surpass the difficulty of this exercise. Once you can do a plank for about one minute you’re better off changing exercises or making them tougher. By making them tougher, we mean by adding weight to your body.
If you are ever looking to make planks “exciting” again, then just get someone to add either a 25lb. or 45lb. plate to your mid-back. If you can work your way to doing at least a 70lb. weighted plank for at least one min, then you will have no excuse to not have a set strong set of chiseled abs. This will also carry over to extra core rigidness for squats and deadlifts for you, so you have no reason to avoid weighted planks.
Program it: Find out exactly how long you can do a plank for, if it’s anything above a minute then you have to add weight to your back to make it challenging. Start off with something light and work your way up.
2. Dragon Flag
Even the name is attention grabbing, the dragon flag is not an exercise that any random shmuck can perform in the gym. You need to have a high-amount of strength-to-weight ratio in order to do this exercise. They are performed by bracing hard on a bench or hard surface while locking your arms in a fixed position. You will then drive your legs upward as if you were performing a reverse crunch.
The important thing to remember is to keep your torso straight, abs braced and not let anything touch the bench except for your lower back.
You might be wondering why such an exercise is incredibly good for your abs. Well, Dragon Flags hit the entire torso and take it’s capabilities to the next level. This means that you will have more torso stiffness which will improve your favorite exercises like squat, bench, deadlifts, etc. Not only will you have abs of steel, but they’ll be more ripped than Bruce Lee’s.
Program it: If you can do about 15 lying leg raises with decent form then you should be able to do Dragon Flags. Watch the tutorial and start them off at the beginning of your ab workout when you have the most energy.
3. Ab-Wheel Roll-Out
Another underrated exercise that not enough people can perform properly. The ab wheel roll-out will force you to learn stability in one way or another. If you don’t have stability in your core then you will get crushed anytime you try to squat or deadlift. If you can do at least 15 perfect reps will the ab wheel roll-out then there is no way your core will be weak.
The main thing to keep in mind with this exercise is to keep the tension on your abs by rounding your back and preventing any arches from happening. You might have to work your way up depending on how strong your abs already are, but once you are capable of doing them properly, then you’ll find yourself getting stronger in all your main lifts and people will be asking you how you did it.
Program it: Start off with at least five “clean” reps and work your way up. Eventually, you’ll have ripped abs and core strength to do them in all sorts of variations.
4. Front Lever
If you want strong lats and phenomenal core strength, then the front lever is an exercise for you. There is nobody who can do this that has a weak upper body and weak abs. The front lever is a bodyweight exercise that taxes not only your core but also your lats and grip strength. It’s really not just about holding your body out parallel to the floor but also locking yourself into place using your back muscles.
Program it: You might have to start off with easier exercises like hanging leg raises or easier versions of it like tuck front lever and bent leg front lever, but like always your main priority should be to progress and to move on to the more difficult version.
5. Human Flag
Human flag sightings are rare and it’s for a damn good reason, only the fittest of the fit can attempt to do them. This is probably one of the toughest core exercises you will ever encounter, essentially you have to be strong enough to hold your own weight at an awkward position. It will tax not only your core but also your shoulders, back, and persistence.
In order to perform this exercise, you’ll need a high strength-to-mass ratio and an insane amount of upper-body strength, core and muscle control. Like any great exercise, it takes lots of practice and hard work but is definitely worth it, considering the carry over benefits and how cool it looks.
Program it: Most people reading this won’t be able to perform one. If you want to do one, then find a vertical pole and somebody to help you out. Follow the guide and keep attempting to do one over and over again; you’ll get it if you are persistent enough. It’s best to get your partner to help you in the starting position and for you to just hold it as long as you can while contracting your core.
Another awesome exercise that not only requires insane core strength but also vise-grip, great hip flexibility, and total body strength. Most guys, especially the ones that don’t lift, won’t even be able to one measly rep. Essentially it’s a harder version of hanging knee- or leg-raises that require your to create tension in your arms and core by pulling down on the bar as hard possible. You’re then going to raise your toes to the bar while maintaining straight legs and lower back slowly.
Program it: If you can’t do this exercise starting out then start off with hanging knee raises, then leg raises and till you can eventually to toes to bar. Progress on knee raises for about four to eight weeks and as long as you’re not too heavy then you should be able to do one or more reps of toes to bar.
Remember, these exercises are intense and not many people can do them. You have to build up to them little by little. Also keep in mind, no matter how good you are at these exercises, you’ll never see ripped abs in the mirror if you don’t watch what you eat.