If it’s abs of steel that you’re after then patience and consistency are key here. To achieve a chiselled torso, it takes more than endless crunches, so read on for the secret to achieving the infamous ‘six-pack’.
Of course, there is more to life than a toned-torso but as well as giving you better body confidence by conditioning your midsection, your core is also one of the most important muscles in your body, responsible for maintaining good posture, better balance and helping to eliminate back pain. Therefore it is safe to say that ab exercises deserve just as much time and attention as other muscle groups.
Here are a few exercises to specifically target your abs to incorporate into your workouts.
1. Hanging Leg Raises
Use a pull-up bar and lower yourself into a dead hang. Let your legs straighten and pull your pelvis back slightly. Tense your core and raise your legs until your thighs are perpendicular to your torso. Hold, then lower slowly back to the starting position.
This is one of the hardest exercises to work your abs but one of the most effective. Try to prevent any swinging by keeping your core tight. This exercise is working your transverse abdominis and your core while also engaging your obliques.2. Cable Crunches
Crunch your abs whilst pulling the rope down until your elbows meet the floor. The time spent under tension is what is important here, which keeps your abs contracted and forces them to work harder. This exercise is great for targeting both your upper and lower abdominals.3. The Plank
Love it or loathe it, the plank is an effective ab exercise which doesn’t require any special equipment so can easily be done anywhere (within reason!) To try it, get in to a press-up position, your feet should be together, arms slightly wider than shoulder width and your weight resting on your forearms. Most importantly, your body should form a straight line and be stiff from head to toe as you brace your abs to hold the position.
If your back starts to sag then stop as the exercise is no longer effective. Hold the position for a long as you are able to.
4. Cable Woodchopper
For this exercise set the cable to the highest pulley position. Then, with your side to the cable, grab the handle with one hand and step away from the tower. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and reach up with your free hand to grab the same handle. With your arms fully extended, pull the handle down and across your body to your front knee while rotating your torso. Pivot your back foot and bend your knees. Return to the start position slowly under control.
5. Side Jack-knife
Lay on your side with your left arm extended out on the floor and your right arm bent to your head. Make sure your right leg is on top of your left leg before your start. Slowly bring your right elbow to your left leg as you raise your body up while contracting your obliques, then lower down before swapping sides after rep of the exercise.
A variation of an ab crunch, lay flat on your back with your arms extended behind your head and your feet slightly off the ground. Pull your knees towards your chest, lift your backside off the floor and lift your arms over your head as you perform a crunch and repeat.
- For the best results, try to dedicate two training sessions per week to training your core, ideally approx. 45-minute workouts. The rest days ensure your body has plenty of time to recover which can add to the better results.
- Nutrition is also just as important, so cut back on the amount of sugar, processed foods and alcohol you are consuming and instead opt for plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, wholegrains and foods rich in healthy fats to fuel your body.
- Six-packs don’t happen overnight so be patient and consistent in your training and your hard work will pay off!