Most of us can agree that if we want to create lean, healthy muscle tissue in our stomachs, it is not the most pleasant experience on the road. The abs are a problem area for many people, and you may have to shed fat before your stomach muscles become visible.
That being said, not all abs are created equal. Some people need to work their abs to exhaustion (or death for some) before they can even flatten out their bellies, while other people seem to get their abs to shine atop the Everest Mountain without sweating a couple grains of salty body liquid.
But regardless of where you stand on the fitness spectrum, the following exercises below will definitely help to get your abs to show in a short period of time. These workouts target all three planes of your core – frontal, lateral and transverse; and with the circuit style routine, these workouts intensity will remain high and you’ll burn tons of fat – everywhere!
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- Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, one after the other with 10 seconds of rest between moves.
- Start with 2 circuits and work yourself up to 5 circuits.
- For maximum results, perform this workout 3 times a week on non-consecutive days.
Note: These exercises make use of a barbell (with weights) and a medicine ball with the exception of the last two at the bottom.
1. Barbell Roll-Up
- Load the bar with 10-pound plates and kneel on the floor behind it. Your shoulders should be over the bar.
- Brace your abs and roll the bar forward, reaching in front of you until you feel your hips are about to sag.
- Roll yourself back.
2. Swiss Ball Crunch
- Lie back on the ball with feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. Your lower back should be supported by the ball.
- Place your hands behind your ears and tuck your chin.
- Curl your body up off the ball until you’re sitting up.
Read: 12 Steps to Manage Your Weight
3. Flutter Kick
- Lie on your back with legs straight and extend your arms by your sides.
- Lift your heels about 6 inches and rapidly kick your feet up and down in a quick, scissor-like motion.
4. Front Squat
- Set a barbell on a power rack at about shoulder height (if you don’t have a rack, clean it to your shoulders).
- Grasp the bar with hands at shoulder width and raise your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
- Take the bar out of the rack and let it rest on your fingertips—as long as your elbows stay up, you’ll be able to balance the bar.
- Step back and set your feet at shoulder width with toes turned out slightly. This is important – squat as low as you can without losing the arch in your lower back.
5. Leg Raise
- Lie on the floor and hold onto a bench or the legs of a heavy chair for support.
- Keep your legs straight and raise them up until they’re vertical.
- Lower back down, but stop just short of the floor to keep tension on your abs before the next rep.
Read: How Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight
6. Medicine Ball Russian Twist
- Sit on the floor in the top position of a situp and, holding a medicine ball with both hands, extend your arms in front of you.
- Explosively twist your body to one side and then twist back. Alternate sides.
7. Medicine Ball Mountain Climber
- Hold the ball with both hands and get into pushup position on the floor.
- Drive one knee up to your chest and then quickly drive it back while you raise the opposite knee.
Read: 18 Really Effective Ways To Lose Weight
8. Elbow Plank
- Get into pushup position and bend your elbows to lower your forearms to the floor.
- Hold the position with abs braced.
9. Side Plank
- Lie on your left side resting your left forearm on the floor for support.
- Raise your hips up so that your body forms a straight line and brace your abs—your weight should be on your left forearm and the edge of your left foot.
- Hold the position with abs braced.
The next 2 exercises do not need a barbell nor a medicine ball
10. Donkey kickbacks
- Kneel on all fours, toes tucked under, keeping your back neutral.
- Draw your belly in toward your spine as you contract your abs and lift both knees about 2 inches off the ground.
- Keeping abs engaged, bring right knee to nose (shown).
- Then kick right leg straight out behind you, squeezing your butt (shown)
- Keep lower abs contracted and hips facing the ground to protect your back.
- Repeat 8 times; switch legs and repeat
Read: 6 habits to set yourself up for weight-loss success — for life
11. Swan dive
- Lie on your stomach, stretch your arms overhead, point your toes, and lift your arms and legs about 6 inches off the ground.
- Hold for 1 count, imagining your legs being pulled out and back, away from your hips.
- Circle your arms out to the sides and behind you. Exhale and reach your arms toward your toes, palms facing in (shown).
- Hold for 1 count, then bring arms back to starting position and relax entire body to ground.
- Repeat 6–8 times.