While most people in life might want six pack abs, the truth is that most of us usually are lucky to have a two pack at best. Why is this? Well in part it is because we just do the same old same old at the gym which involves using the crunch machine for a few sets followed by some chair leg raises.
But who are we trying to kid; that just isn’t going to get the job done!
No, we need to treat our abs like any other muscle group that we want to blast into shape. For biceps we will do countless variations on curls, swap between cables, dumbbells, and barbells, plus add intensity techniques. Compared to that, how do you honestly expect to get six pack abs doing just machine crunches?
While it is true that you need to reduce excess body fat, you can also beef up your midsection by doing a variety of exercises to hit the muscles from all angles. Not only do you want to tighten up, but you also want to form the shape of the muscles, and work for that separation and definition that defines the six pack look. To do that you need a program with variety to help keep you enthused and engaged.
That is why we have this list of the Top 6 exercises for those six pack abs. Do them as a circuit or mix and match a program together. No matter what the choice, just make sure you do them and push it hard like you do your other favorite body parts.
The Top 6 Ab Exercises
Swiss Ball Roll-Outs – This is a fantastic exercise that works the upper abs as well as intercostals. You get on your knees with a Swiss ball in front of you. Lean forward so your hands are resting on the ball in the middle front. Keep leaning forward and let the ball roll forward with you forearms bearing the weight while on the ball. When you reach as far as you can use your abs to contract to reverse the motion. Go slow and keep your arms close together to make your stabilizers work harder to keep you balanced.
Bicycle Crunches – This works the top, the bottom, and the sides of the stomach and is a great exercise to get six pack abs. Lie on your back with your hands touching the side of your head and elbows out. Raise your legs off the ground at a 45 degree angle. Slowly draw your right knee towards your chest while you lift your shoulders off the ground in a crunch. As the shoulders come up, twist the body slight to the right to bring the left elbow towards the right knee. Pause, then alternate to the other side by drawing in the left knee while the right extends and twisting to the left. Again, going slow is a key to keep tension on those abs.
Swiss Ball Crunches – This is the best way to do crunches because it neutralizes leg involvement on the abs while more of the core is used for overall stabilization. Lie back on a Swiss or exercise ball with your feet flat on the ground to start. The middle of the ball should be under your lower back. Cross your arms over your chest and crunch forward by contracting the abs and curling your torso forward while keeping balanced on the ball.
Vertical Leg Crunch – This is great for the lower abs. Lie flat on your back with your hands touching the side of your head and feet pointed straight up. You can cross your ankles or go side-by-side. Lift your shoulders slightly off the ground and the push straight up through your lower abs to raise your hips off the ground. Your heels should go straight up. Slowly lower to complete the rep.
Swiss Ball Roll-Ins – These are similar to roll-outs but use your legs and lower abs. Position yourself in a push-up but with the Swiss ball under your knees. Contract your abdominal muscles to draw your knees toward your chest. Your hips will go up and the ball will roll along your shins towards your feet. Then reverse the motion back to the starting position.
The Plank – Time and time again this is included in a list of the best ab exercises because it is hard and always effective. Assume a push-up position with your feet close together and weight on your toes. Instead of supporting weight on your hands, bend the elbows and place your forearms flat on the ground. Keep the abdominals tight and back flat as you hold that plank position as long as you can to finish off one of the best six pack ab exercises.