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The Ultimate Guide for the Perfect Abs Workout

Abs Workout Guide

Go out there and ask any man, “which part of your body would you like to perfect?” Chances are, most of the answers you get will involve abs in some form. Of course, the toned biceps and the shredded chest are essentials for any workout enthusiast. But the look of a well-defined “six-pack” is something that many dream of and only some attain. The sad part is that you’ll find many out there who try to capitalize on this desire by pushing false and inaccurate tips that people follow in the gym as part of their abs workout to no avail.

The big issue which holds the central spot of most misguided abs workouts is that a lot of folks don’t realize that the midsection is made up of several muscles. The most famous among them is obviously the rectus abdominis. It goes from the sternum all the way to the pubic bone. Whenever you mention the term “abs” or “six-pack”, this is the muscle that comes to people’s minds. But aside from it, there are also the obliques. They are two muscle sets that go from the lower ribs to the hip bones in a diagonal line under the rectus abdominis. If we go even deeper, we’ll find the transverse abdominis. It wraps around the sides of the body to stabilize it. Besides that, the lower back muscles also have an integral role in defining the body. From a functionality point of view, strong lower back muscles allow for good rotation and a proper erect posture. From an aesthetic viewpoint, they also reduce some of the side-fat.

If you’re not so sure about how good of a job you’re doing in taking care of your core muscles, then fret not, we got your back. Check out the following points that we’re going to cover to build a lean, strong midsection for men and women of all ages. All the work that you’ll have to do will always include watching out for the diet you adopt and cardio workout. If you’ve got some fat hanging around your belly, you’ll never get a defined stomach, that’s just nature.

The Ultimate Abs Workout for Men

After you start this abs workout regime and hit a point where you can go through it comfortably, you can add more reps to the sets, or you can add more sets as a whole. You have to push your limits.

Abs Workout for Men: Flutter Kick

What you have to do is simply lie on your back with your legs extended. Make sure that your heels are 6 inches above the ground. Position your hands under the small of your back or by your sides for support. Start scissoring your legs up and down, just like backstroking in water. Keep doing it for 20 seconds, take a 10-second rest, and then repeat.

Leg Drop

Lie back on the ground, lift your legs, close together, up straight 90 degrees. Position your hands under the small of your back or by your sides for support. Keep your knees extended and lower your legs to reach a level that’s just slightly above the ground. Bring them up to their initial position. Do 10 reps, take a 10-second rest, then an additional 10 reps after that.

Russian Twist

Find yourself an 8 or 10 lbs. Dumbbell or medicine ball. Sit down on the floor with your feet flat in front of you and your knees bent. With your arms right in front of your chest, hold the weight with both hands and lean back to reach a 45-degree angle between the floor and your back. Twist right and left, letting your arms swing over on each side as you do. Do 10 reps of this, take a 10-second rest. Do two additional sets for a total of 3.

Plank

Position yourself in an extended push-up position and lower your body to your elbows. Hold your body in a straight line from head to toe for 1 minute. You can also try a side plank. Basically, you hold your weight in a side position on one elbow, and you raise your hips to make a straight line that goes from your shoulder to your feet.

Jackknife

Get into an extended push up position, engage your abs, and reach an inverted V shape by hiking your hips up into the air. Hold that position for 3 seconds then revert back into the initial push-up form. Keep your back flat as you do so. Repeat the activity for a whole minute.

V-Sits

Sit down on the floor with your feet flat in front of you and your knees bent. Take a medicine ball and place it between your feet. Take your feet off the ground and lean back to balance your body in a V shape. Now you can either remain in this position for 30 seconds or if you want to go with a more challenging version of the exercise, bend then straighten your legs repeatedly as you hold that V position. Relax for a bit and repeat afterward.

Side Cable Pull

Choose a weight on the cable machine that you can work out with for 8 to 10 reps. Position the machine to be on your left. Take the pulley to chest height, and while you keep your hips and feet stationary, grab the pulley handle with both hands with your arms straight and twist your body to the left. Pull until the arms are right in front of the body, and the torso is right above the legs. Hold it for a second, then go back to the initial starting position. Repeat this for 8 to 10 reps then do the same for the right side. Two sets are required.

Reverse Crunches

Sit down on the floor, bend your knees, and put your feet flat in front of you. Lean back to create a 45-degree angle between your back and the floor. For counterbalance, extend the arms forward. Engage your abs and lean back further towards the floor, but never let the shoulders reach the ground. Immediately return to the initial position. Repeat for 30 seconds, rest for 10, then repeat for another 30.

Pull up Knee Raise

Do a standard pull-up with an overhand grip. When your head passes the bar, hold that form with your knees bent towards your chest, then release them after a moment. (A simpler version would be to do this, arms extended, without pulling up.) Repeat for 8 to 10 reps. 2 sets with 3 seconds rest in between.

Diagonal Chop

Choose a weight you can lift for 8 to 10 reps on the cable machine. Perpendicularly to the machine, with your left side closest to it, do a half kneel (right knee bent in front, right knee on the floor). Position the pulley at head height. Keep your lower body still, grab the handle with both hands and twist to the left with your arms straight. Pull following a diagonal line down to the right hip, with the torso twisted to the right side. Hold it for a second and twist back to the left to go back to the initial position. Do 8 to 10 reps, repeat the same sequence for the right side. Two sets are required.

The Ultimate Abs Workout for Women

In the case of many women, getting well-defined abs is not exactly a walk in the park. Their muscles aren’t significantly different from men’s, but they tend to have a longer waist and a wider shape at the pelvis. This is where getting those abs becomes more challenging.

Still, it’s not an impossible task to pull off. All that may be required of you is going beyond the standard sit-ups and just put a little bit more effort into it.

Targeting the four following muscle groups is what makes a good abs workout:

  • Rectus abdominis. As we’ve mentioned before, they go from the sternum to the pelvis. They’re the six-pack you see, they are the most superficial of all abdomen muscles, and they help in flexing the spine.
  • Transversus abdominis The deepest muscles, running around the midsection horizontally.
  • Internal abdominal obliques. They lie beneath the external obliques, and they help in stabilizing the core.
  • External abdominal obliques. The muscles that you can feel right under your arms, by your rib cage.

What will allow you to target and sculpt these four muscle groups is performing a range of stabilization exercises. Strengthening these muscles will also stabilize your pelvis and spine, improving the posture and reducing or even avoiding back pain.

Stabilization exercises that focus on the core will burn more calories and work more muscles. This makes them better than regular sit-ups and crunches.

Go through the following workout routine 2 to 3 times a week to get the desired results.

Abs Workout for Women: Plank Crawl Out

  • Stand up straight, core engaged, feet close together.
  • Bend down at the hips and try to reach the ground with your fingers. Once you do, crawl until you get into a push-up position.
  • Inch your hands backward and pike your hips up to crawl back to the initial position. Once your feet are flat again on the ground, bend at the hips, and lift your body to the starting position.

Advanced option
You can make it more challenging by lifting one leg before crawling.

Benefit
Using the legs and arms adds resistance and intensity.

Side plank

  • Start on the left side, forearms perpendicular to the body, elbow right under your shoulder.
  • Stack your feet one on top of the other or put one in front of the other.
  • Lift your hips off the ground to make a line that runs from your feet to your shoulder and contract your abs.
  • Remain in this position for 30 to 45 seconds.
  • Switch to the right side and repeat.

Advanced option
Add hip dips for more of a challenging task. You’ll do the same exercise for the same amount of time. But you’ll also repeatedly dip the hips until you reach the ground, and then you’ll go back up to the initial position.

Benefit
These planks differ from the regular planks in the sense that you’ll be supporting your body weight on 2 points of contact only. This will push your core to become even more stable with time. The abs and the back function together to guarantee and elongated spine.

Reverse crunch

  • Start at a seated position, feet flat, knees bent at 90 degrees
  • Reach with your arms forward, face your palms to each other.
  • Exhale, pull your belly towards the spine.
  • Rollback onto the tailbone, creating a C shape curve with your spine.
  • Inhale and revert back to the initial position. Repeat this 15 times.

Advanced option
Rollback until you become flat on your back instead of going for a C shape.

Benefit
The rectus abdominis put to work.

Boat pose

  • Sit upright, feet flat on the ground, knees bent.
  • Lean back, lift your legs off the ground and balance your body on your sit bones.
  • Extend the arm forward with your palms up. You will form a V shape.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds.

Advanced option
Drop your feet to around 6 inches above the ground

Benefit
This exercise trains the lower abs.

Alligator drag

To perform this exercise, you’ll require some space to move around in and something that can slide on the ground easily. Go for a towel on tile or hardwood floor if you can. Or if you have a carpet, a plastic bag or a Frisbee.

  • Start in a plank position with your feet on the sliding object.
  • Walk forward with your hands only and drag along your lower body for 10 to 20 yards.
  • Maintain your glutes and core in a tight state as you move around.
  • Take a minute to rest and then drag back to where you started.
  • Rest for a bit, and then repeat.

Advanced option
Nothing here, it’s already pretty challenging.

Benefit
The entire core is working to maintain stability. It also adds more intensity by combining resistance and movement.

Debunking Some Abs Workout Myths

MYTH #1: Carbs need to be cut out.

Carbohydrates come in different shapes and forms; not all of them are bad for you, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

Here’s an example: “resistance starch”. The journal Nutrition and Metabolism published a study which states that this type of carb, contained in peas and potatoes, helps you burn 23% more fat during the day. What makes this possible is that the starch is digested in the large intestines. This supports the friendly bacteria in your digestive system, and helps in boosting metabolism.

MYTH #2: Ab-specific workout is required.

Are you committing to large sets of sit-ups with each workout, but you’re not seeing the fruit of your hard work? You’re doing something wrong. An entire body exercise delivers better results. How does that happen? Training the core is more about lowering body fat and less about building ab muscles. You already have them; they’re just hiding under a layer of fat. How to get rid of that annoying persistent layer? Go for the compound exercises and activate different muscle groups all around your body.

The question now is, “which compound exercises are the best?”. Well here’s your answer:

Barbell Back Squats

  • Stand up and position your feet wider apart than shoulder-width. With an overhand grip, hold a barbell over your upper back. Don’t rest it on the neck.
  • Engage the upper back muscles by holding the bar close to the traps. With your backside out, head up and back straight, sit back slowly to a squatting position. Get low until your knees and hips are aligned, and your legs are at a 90-degree angle. The deeper you squat, the better, but you’ll have to improve your flexibility and strength first.
  • Push yourself up quickly to return to the starting position. Maintain the form until your standing up straight. That’s one rep.

Burpees

  • Start at a standing position and squat down until your thighs and the floor are parallel to each other. Place your palms on the floor.
  • While keeping your arms extended, kick back your feet as far as you can.
  • When you land, jump your feet back towards your hands. After that, jump upwards in the air.
  • When you land, immediately squat to start the next rep.

Incline Sprints

  • Stand on a treadmill, increase its incline, and run at max speed for 30 seconds.
  • Take a little bit of rest then repeat.

MYTH #3: Steady-state Cardio is essential in any abs workout.

We’ve got some good news for you: those early morning exercise bike workouts are not as critical as you might’ve imagined. If you carefully construct a proper diet, the workout can become sharp and short. Here’s the exercise plan we recommend.
What you essentially have to do is do 3 to 5 sets made up of 8 to 15 reps of the following exercises. Try to rest a little as possible.

Body weight Squats

  • Stand with a shoulder-width gap separating your feet.
  • Bend your knees and sit back with your hips
  • Get as low as you can and then stand back up rapidly to the initial position.
  • Keep your back straight and your head up throughout the entirety of the exercise.

Press-ups

  • Set your body to be supported by your toes and your hands, positioning them right under your shoulders. Keep your body straight.
  • Make sure that the core is kept locked at all times to create a straight line going from the head to the heels and passing by the glutes.
  • Get down and close to the ground until your chest is only an inch above the floor. Once you’re at that level, thrust yourself back up quickly by extending the arms.

Walking Lunges

  • Lunge forward with your left leg as far as you can while bending the trailing knee in such a way that it almost brushes the floor.
  • With the left foot’s heel, push your body to land on the right leg, and start the next lunge.

Burpees

  • Start at a standing position and squat down until your thighs and the floor are parallel to each other. Place your palms on the floor.
  • While keeping your arms extended, kick back your feet as far as you can.
  • When you land, jump your feet back towards your hands. After that, jump upwards in the air.
  • When you land, immediately squat to start the next rep.

Before you think you’re all done, you still have to get on the treadmill and perform an inclined sprint for 30 seconds.

MYTH #4:  Body weight exercises are the only needed abs workout to get a six-pack.

Now we can’t take away anything from body weight workout. It is simply fantastic. But we must bring up the fact that introducing weights to your routine will elevate your muscle definition to new heights, unattainable without them.

If you want to get a six-pack, if you particularly want a leaner body, then training with weights is essential. Because simply put, lifting a weight that’s twice that of your own body will push your muscles to reach limits beyond those achievable by pushing and pulling your body around. Build muscle and get rid of fat all at once.

MYTH #5: Resting destroys your progress.

If you’re going to take a 3-minute rest in between during the workout, then yes, that’s not going to be helpful for the fat-burning process. But having good rest afterward is very important.

Here, there’s a very hyper important thing to know: If you’re not getting enough sleep, then you might as well stop what you’re doing because all of your efforts are being wasted. The Annals of Internal Medicine has a published article which states that less than 7 hours of night sleep will reduce the effectiveness of fat burning by 55%. This is due to the influence of cortisol, the stress hormone. It actually stimulates fat storage, ruining your gym progress. So if possible, maybe try not to wake up at dawn for your morning gym workout.

All you have to do is get enough sleep. It may be easier said than done for some people, but you’ll have to find the way to do it, it’s essential for the dream abs.

Final Thoughts Regarding Abs Workout Plans

The exercises mentioned above make up the kind of abs workout that improves the posture and strengthens the midsection of the body. Keep in mind that there are no exercises for reducing fat in one specific area of the body.

Keeping this in mind, you’ll have to do certain things and stay away from certain others, or else you’ll find yourself doing hundreds of reps to no avail. So, be smart and aim at reducing fat by monitoring your diet and committing to a good workout routine. That way, you’ll be able to achieve your goals and, who knows, maybe you’ll become the world’s top fitness model someday!

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Written by Siddhesh Jain

My name is Siddhesh Jain, and I'm the fastest man alive (when it comes to learning, that is). I've been acquiring knowledge and learning new strategies for years, and I'm here to share my vast experience with you. What's my goal? Simple, I want to help every young entrepreneur succeed. Follow me on my journey!

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