When it comes to sculpting those abs of your dreams, it’s not as simple as doing endless crunches. Developing a six-pack requires more than just working the ‘pretty’ muscles that you can see. The deeper, transverse core muscles must be strengthened first to create a strong, solid base—without that, only doing crunches can actually make your belly stick out more.
Better news: By doing the types of at-home workouts here that strengthen from all angles and focus on function rather than flexion, you’ll look good and have a stronger core and less risk of lower back injury. Not only will you see better gains faster, it’s also the quickest way to take inches off your waistline.
Below are 6 abs exercises, along with a instructions to ensure that you’re executing each one perfectly. Incorporate them into your existing routine or, turn all six into an abs workout circuit. Try two sets of each movement, resting for 30 seconds between each set.
Hard style plank:
- Lying face down on the ground, prop yourself up into a forearm plank position.
- Make sure your elbows are aligned underneath your shoulders, and that your hands are balled up in fists.
- Your forearms should be parallel to one another.
- Hold for 10 to 20 seconds per set.
- Lay face up on the floor with arms straight above your shoulders.
- To start, bring your knees directly over your hips and bend at the knee so that your calf forms a 90-degree angle with your thigh.
- Next, simultaneously lower your left arm above your head while straightening your right leg and sending it towards the floor.
- Pause, return to the starting position, and then repeat on the opposite side.
- Do 14 alternating reps to complete one set.
- Get into a cannonball-type shape on your back, hugging your knees into your chest.
- Simultaneously extend your legs and arms outwards into a “hollow” position, pressing your lower back to the floor.
- Hold for five seconds before curling up again, and complete five reps for one set.
Dumbbell side bend:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing inwards towards the torso.
- Keep your back straight, activate your core, and then bend to the side as far as possible—but only at the waist.
- Hold for one second at the bottom of your range of motion, and return to start for one rep.
- Do between 12 and 20 reps for one set.
Related article: Avoid These 6 Missteps When Trying To Chisel Washboard abs
Barbell back squat:
- With your feet shoulder-width apart, lift a barbell off the rig, centre it evenly across your shoulders.
- Send your glutes back like you’re lowering into a chair, bending at the knees as deeply as possible.
- Press through your heels to return to the starting position for one rep.
- Do 12 reps for one set.
- Think of this as an upside-down dead bug.
- Start in a tabletop position, with your shoulders over wrists and hips over knees.
- Engage your core while simultaneously lifting your right arm and left leg.
- Your foot should be flexed as you kick back, and your palm should face in towards your body.
- Pause for one second when your arm and leg are at the same height as your torso, and then bring your elbow and knee to touch underneath the body.
- Repeat on the other side for one rep, and do five reps for one set.