Every guy wants a chiseled core. After all, a lean midsection is the pinnacle of a great physique, awesome body fat percentage, and an active lifestyle. The problem, however, is that a lot of ab training is mediocre at best. Either it uses outdated exercises like sit-ups and crunches, which don't match how your core is designed to work, or it goes overboard (which I'll explain below). In this article, I'll share five incredible ab workouts for men to get a six-pack, so read on to learn more.
Each of the below routines has a different theme to fit any style you want. In addition, each workout only has a few exercises. Why? First, if it's too long, you probably won't do them. Second, too many guys think they need to work their abs to the max to get them to grow. But all that does is fatigue them so they can't recover. Instead, follow the adage: "Less is more." Doing a few exercises extremely well is always better than struggling through 10 exercises.
For the best results, do these workouts at the end of your regular training routine, one or two times a week. Again, the goal isn't to obliterate your core; it's to stimulate the muscles so they grow. If you combine these with a healthy diet, your midsection will transform rapidly. Read on to learn all about my five best ab workouts for men to get a six-pack. And when you're finished, be sure to check out The #1 'Wall Pilates' Workout to Strip Away Belly Fat.
Workout #1: Bodyweight Abs
This list of ab workouts for men kicks off with a routine that's all about using your body weight. Bodyweight exercises are perfect for training at home, in a hotel room, at the park, or just when the gym is busy and you don't want to use any equipment. These are fantastic core exercises that only need the floor.
1. Salute Planks, Sets: 4, Reps: 5 per side
Start in a plank position. Keep your core tight and your glutes squeezed. Bring one hand to your forehead in a salute position, and hold for five seconds. Prevent your hips from twisting, and stay tight. Alternate sides.
2. Dead Bugs, Sets: 4, Reps: 6 per side
Lie on your back with your arms and knees in the air (like a dead bug), press your lower back into the ground, and lift your glutes. Reach out with your right leg and left leg at the same time while keeping your lower back flat on the ground, keeping your hips off the ground, and exhaling all of your air. Switch sides, and repeat.
3. Side Planks, Sets: 4, Reps: 45 seconds per side
Lie on your side, and place your forearm on the ground, perpendicular to your body. Keep your body straight, your glutes squeezed, and your shoulders pulled back. Don't let your hips sag.
Workout #2: Cable Core
While most people focus on sit-ups and crunches to train their abs, a great piece of equipment you should try is the cable machine. Cables, unlike dumbbells or barbells, use pulleys to give you resistance, which means the force is always the same throughout the entire exercise. It can also target your core from different angles to give you more complete benefits.
1. Tall-kneeling Pallof Press, Sets: 3, Reps: 8 in each direction
Get on both knees, and set a cable handle to chest height. While facing perpendicular to the cable, bring the handle to your chest. Brace your core, squeeze your glutes, and keep your shoulders and hips directly over your knees. Push the handle straight forward, and hold for three seconds. Bring it back to your chest, and repeat. Then, switch sides and repeat.
2. Wide-Stance Anti-Rotational Cable Rope Chops, Sets: 3, Reps: 8 in each direction
Set a cable bar or rope attachment at chest height. While facing perpendicular to the cable, stand extremely wide (almost as wide as possible), and grab the bar or rope at both ends. Drag the bar or rope across your body while keeping both your arms locked out. Do not twist your body; your torso should remain motionless throughout the chop. Finish your reps on one side, and switch sides.
3. Push-Pull, Sets: 3, Reps: 8 in each direction
On a cable-crossover machine, set the cable handles to chest height, and grab both of them while standing in the middle. Stand facing one handle with the arm holding the handle behind you by your side and the arm holding the handle in front of you fully extended forward. Keep your shoulders and torso still, and push and pull the handles at the same time.
Workout #3: Abs Finisher
Next up on this roundup of the best ab workouts for men is an ab finisher. A "finisher" is a high-intensity circuit at the end of a workout where you jump between exercises to crank up your heart rate and calorie burn. Rather than focusing on just cardio work, why not target your abs at the same time? In this finisher, I combined some of the best core exercises in a cool interval workout for the best of both worlds.
1. Ab Rollouts, Sets: 4, Reps: 10, 30-second rest
While on both knees, grab an ab wheel, and push forward. Descend as low as you can, then pull yourself back up. Keep your arms straight and your hips extended the entire time.
2. Medicine Ball Overhead Slams, Sets: 4, Reps: 30 seconds, 30-second rest
Grab a large medicine ball and, while standing in an athletic position, bring the ball above your head, and slam it as hard as you can into the ground. Keep your abs braced throughout. Repeat.
3. Sliding Mountain Climbers, Sets: 4, Reps: 30 seconds, 30-second rest
Place both feet on a slide board or separate sliding discs. Get into a pushup position. Keep your core tight, and run as fast as you can on the slide board or discs. Keep your head up and your hips low.
Workout #4: Core Strength
To get lean and strong, we all know the value of traditional strength exercises. But did you know there are also variations of those strength staples that pack a punch in your midsection? The benefit of those exercises is you'll get much, much stronger in your core, which translates to thicker abs and more strength in other movements, too.
1. Zercher Squats, Sets: 4, Reps: 6
Start with a barbell in the crook of your elbows and hands held together by your chest. Stand shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly out. Squat down by sitting back, spreading your knees, and keeping your weight on your heels. Once your hips are below parallel, drive through your heels and rise. Keep your lower back flat and your shoulder blades squeezed together throughout.
2. Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows, Sets: 4, Reps: 8
Grab a dumbbell in each hand, bend your knees slightly, and bend at your hips until your torso is almost parallel to the ground. Keep your lower back flat, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and row.
3. Single-Arm Farmers Carry, Sets: 3, Reps: 30 yards
Grab a heavy dumbbell with one hand, keep your chest up and shoulder blades squeezed, and walk. Don't lean. Switch arms, and repeat.
Workout #5: Advanced Abs
These ab workouts for men are taken to the next level with this routine. If you've been training for a long time, basic ab exercises just won't cut it anymore. Rather than just doing hundreds of reps, you need to dial up the intensity to continue to stimulate more growth and development in your midsection. Try these advanced exercises to take your training to new levels. I recommend easing into these because they can make you sore if you're trying them for the first time.
1. Dragon Flags, Sets: 3, Reps: 6
Lie on a bench, reach behind your head, and grab onto the bench as tight as you can. Push your legs, hips, and torso straight above and create a straight line. Lower yourself while keeping a straight line from your feet to your shoulders. Go as low as you can without touching the bench, and lift your body back up, again keeping your body as straight as possible.
2. Tall-Kneeling Palloff Press + Overhead Reach, Sets: 3, Reps: 8 in each direction
Get on both knees, and set a cable handle to chest height. While facing perpendicular to the cable, bring the handle to your chest. Brace your core, squeeze your glutes, and keep your shoulders and hips directly over your knees. Push the handle straight forward. Once your arms are fully extended, pause for three seconds, then reach directly overhead while keeping your arms straight, and pause for three more seconds. Don't let your body lean or bend. Bring it back to your chest, and repeat. Then, switch sides and repeat.
3. TRX Body Saw, Sets: 3, Reps: 15
Lie in a plank with your feet in a TRX suspension trainer. Using your arms, push your body backward as far as you can go then return to the starting position, and repeat. Keep your glutes squeezed and your lower back flat.