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10 Best Six-Pack Exercises To Do With Weights

Build an amazing midsection with these unbeatable strength moves!
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Everyone wants chiseled abs, which is why these six-pack exercises to do with weights should be on your radar. However, when you look at most people doing their core exercises in the gym, what do you see? Sit-ups, sit-ups, and more sit-ups. Sometimes, you'll even see them hold a weight plate behind their head as they do them. (Don't do that, please.)

If you want to get chiseled abs, you need to enhance your ab training—especially if you've been training for a long time. You also need to understand your core isn't really a "sit-up" muscle—it's actually designed to keep your torso sturdy throughout a variety of movements and angles to keep your body safe. In other words, the best way to train it is to resist turning, twisting, crunching, etc. That way, you not only develop your six-pack muscles but also boost your obliques and deeper core muscles for better definition and strength.

In this article, I'll share 10 of the best six-pack exercises to do with weights. These moves will blast your core the right (and safe) way. Plus, they add more intensity to your training by using weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, weight plates, etc. The result? Toned abs, greater core strength, and better total-body stability and power. Not bad, right?

For the best results, do not—and I repeat, do not—train your abs every day. As with any muscle, you need time to recover so it can rebuild and get stronger. Do a few of these after your main workout one to two times a week, and you'll see (and feel) the difference!

Keep reading for the best six-pack exercises to do with weights. And when you're finished, be sure to check out The 13 Best Exercises To Lose Belly Fat & Slow Aging.

Tall-Kneeling Kettlebell Halo, Sets: 3, Reps: 6 each way

Get on both knees, and hold one kettlebell in both hands with the large part over your hands. Keep your lower back neutral, and make big circles around your head with the kettlebell. Do all your reps one way, and then switch directions.

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Landmine Rainbows, Sets: 3, Reps: 6 reps per side

woman doing landmine rotation

Place one end of a barbell in a landmine. At the other end, stand facing the landmine, grab the other end with your arms extended, and start with the barbell end about eye level. Twist the barbell to one side without turning your hips or shoulders, and keep your arms as straight as possible. Alternate sides. To make this exercise more challenging, add weight by sliding small plates on the end.

If you don't have a landmine, just place a folded-up towel in the corner of a wall, and wedge one end of a barbell there.

Dumbbell Bear Crawls, Sets: 2 to 3, Reps: 15 yards

Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders (holding dumbbells that are flat, not completely round) and your knees under your hips; keep your knees an inch above the ground. Crawl forward by taking a small step with your right arm and left leg at the same time, and alternate. Keep your hips low and your head up.

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Turkish Get-up, Sets: 3, Reps: 3 per side

Lie on the ground with your right knee bent, right foot flat on the floor, right arm holding a dumbbell above you, and left arm and left leg at your side. Drive through your right foot, and roll onto your left elbow. Then, straighten your left arm. Squeeze your right glute, and drive your hips straight up. Pull your left leg underneath and behind your body, resting on the knee and ball of the foot. Move your torso straight up, then lunge to a stand. Reverse the sequence to descend. Do all your reps on one side and repeat on the other side. Keep your chest up, and watch the dumbbell the entire time.

Single-Arm Farmers Carry, Sets: 3, Reps: 20 yards per side

Grab a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand, keep your chest up and shoulder blades squeezed, and walk forward.

Single-Arm Waiters Walk, Sets: 3, Reps: 20 yards per side

Grab a heavy dumbbell or weight plate in one hand, and hold it overhead. Keep your shoulders down and back, and walk while keeping your hips and shoulders level. Keep your wrists as straight as you can.

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Goblet Carry, Sets: 3, Reps: 15 yards

Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell at your chest. If you're working with a kettlebell, keep it on the outside of your arms with your hand underneath your chin. Keep your chest up, pull your shoulders back, and crush your armpits. Walk forward while keeping your core engaged.

Half-Kneeling Single-Arm Overhead Press, Sets: 3, Reps: 8 reps per arm

Get on one knee with your front foot in line with your back foot. Hold a kettlebell in the rack position on the side with your knee on the ground. Keep the kettlebell on the outside of your arm, and make sure your hand is below your chin. Keep your chest up, pull your shoulders back, and crush your armpits. Maintain straight wrists, tense your body, squeeze your back glute, and drive the kettlebell directly overhead.

Kettlebell Windmill, Sets: 3, Reps: 5 reps per side

kettlebell windmills exercise

Hold one kettlebell overhead, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed away from the side with the kettlebell. Bend at your hip, and lower your torso to the side away from the kettlebell while keeping the weight above your shoulder and your lower back flat. Use the back of your bottom hand to trace your forward leg. Keep your back leg straight, and keep your eyes on the kettlebell throughout.

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Reverse Crunches, Sets: 3 to 4, Reps: 10 reps

This list of six-pack exercises wraps up with reverse crunches. Lie on your back with your arms behind your head grasping a dumbbell or kettlebell. Your knees should be above your hips and your knees should be fully flexed. Start by lifting your butt off the ground, and then curl your knees toward your head. Return your legs to the starting position, and repeat. Keep your knees fully flexed throughout, and do not let your thighs go past your hips on the way down.

Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS
Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men who want to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join the free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony