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Best Rated Six Pack Abs Exercises For Everyone

Athletes of all sports—from baseball to football to hockey—base their physical training on improving the strength of their core using compound movements. That’s great for pro athletes, but what about guys who just want to get a ripped six-pack?

First off, let’s acknowledge a hard truth: Not all abs are created equal. Some guys need to work their belly to exhaustion before they can carve out abs, while other dudes seem to get theirs to pop without a single situp.

Regardless of where you fit on the fitness spectrum, effectively training the core comes down to the three planes of motion: frontal, sagittal, and transverse. Doing abs exercises in a circuit style keeps the intensity high and will likely lead to more fat loss.

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Decline Bench Sit Ups

The decline bench sit up is one of my personal all time favorite abdominal exercises. It works the entire abdominal region; the upper abs, lower abs, and also brings the obliques into play as well. It really is an all in one six pack abs exercise.
The steeper you have the decline of the bench, the harder the exercise will be. So you may want to start with a lower decline at first and gradually build up to a steeper decline as you get more advanced.

When you do this exercise do not rest flat on the bench in the bottom position, keep tension on your abs at all times. Basically you shouldn’t let your shoulders touch the bench in between reps.

When To Use This Six Pack Abs Exercise:

You have a lot of flexibility when you do your abdominal workouts. Some people like to start their weight training workout with ab exercises. Some people like to save abs for at the end of a weight training workout. And other people like to do them separately and pair up doing an abdominal and cardio workout. There is really no right or wrong way to go about it, the main thing is that you simply do them consistently (i.e. 2-3 times per week).

Pull Down Cable Ab Crunch

Pull down ab crunches are a good all around abdominal exercise. They work the entire frontal abdominals right along the rectus abdominis, intercostals, and serratus muscles.
The thing I really like about this movement is it is one of the few abdominal exercises that work the abs from a standing position. You’ll really hit your abs with some unique muscle stimulation by including this exercise in your routine. In addition to that, it also allows for gradual progressive overload because you can add weight via the cable pulley stack.

When To Use This Six Pack Abs Exercise:

This is a good six pack abs exercise to do first in your abdominal workout because it’s a heavy strength building move. You can train the pull down cable ab crunch just like any other exercise, with progressive overload.
Do sets of 10-15 reps and try to increase weights whenever you can, but just make sure that you maintain good form and control. The abs always respond better when you focus on feeling the muscles working, rather than simply trying to keep going heavier and heavier.

Hanging Overhead Leg Raises

Regular leg raises where you just lift your legs half way up are hard enough. But once you lift your legs all the way up until they touch the bar you are hanging from, this engages your entire abdominal muscles like nothing else. You’ll work the lower abs, upper abs, and the obliques, lower back, etc. all your core muscles come into play with this one. Plus you’ll build up good grip strength from grabbing the bar and holding your entire bodyweight as well.

Work your way up to performing 5 sets of 10 reps of this exercise. Resting 1 minute in between each set. Now unless you are in awesome shape right now, chances are you won’t be able to do 5 sets of 10 (i.e. 50 total reps) of this exercise right off the bat. So just do the best you can.

When To Use This Six Pack Abs Exercise:

It’s important to work the lower abs with every abdominal workout. The hanging overhead leg raise is one of the hardest lower ab exercises you can do. So you may have to work up to being able to perform it. But regardless you should do some leg raise variation.
Since this is such a demanding ab exercise you may want to do it first while your abs are fresh. This may allow you to get some extra reps before moving on to some of the easier Six Pack Abs exercises.