From Michelangelo’s David to Fight Club’s Tyler Durden to the endless #FitTok challenges, finding the right abs workout that results in a well-defined set of abs remains the fitness holy grail.
To get there, you’ll need to put in a lot of work, but, with a bit of determination and expert guidance, everything is possible. Let’s get started.
Apart from looking good, having a strong core provides both balance and stability, allowing you to feel strong be it in daily life, or in the gym.
“A strong core is vital for performing certain movements, including bilateral movements such as running, and the big, compound lifts (squats, deadlifts and bench press),” says Jake Dearden, HYROX trainer and Represent 247 head coach. “A strong core is also vital for protecting the back and spine and preventing injury.”
In short, bending, lifting, reaching, carrying, and twisting all rely on a robust core. “There are four main muscle groups in your abdomen known as the transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, external oblique muscles, and internal oblique muscle,” explains Farren Morgan, founder of the Tactical Athlete training method, adding that these muscles work with the erector spine to surround your organs and protect them from external injury.
But abs don’t come for free. “Having defined abs requires effort, a caloric deficit, and consistency,” warns Morgan.
Don’t panic. Instead of torturously reducing calories, Morgan suggests you initially focus on building up core strength via a solid set of exercises. The sort of exercises that cover all bases with no fuss, and minimal equipment. The sort of exercises you can bust out any time, anywhere. Exercises like these…
The best ab exercises of all time
These six exercises come highly recommended from Dearden, and form the ultimate ab finisher to any workout.
Run through at least one round of the below at the end of your session, upping the ante over time to build up that rock solid core.
Start in a high plank with your hands directly under your shoulders, arms extended and feet shoulder-width apart. Drive your knees toward your chest, alternating your legs in a running motion. Keep your core engaged which will help to keep your hips level. Repeat this for one minute.
Trainer tip: “Focus on maintaining a fast and controlled pace to increase effectiveness,” says Dearden. “Make sure to keep your shoulders stable and your hips don’t drop, or get too high.”
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, legs raised in a straight line. Bring one knee toward your chest while simultaneously turning your torso and bringing the opposite elbow toward the knee. Alternate sides as if you are pedaling a bike for 30 reps.
Trainer tip: “Make sure you are bringing your shoulder up and off the ground with each twist. Keep your movements controlled and avoid straining your neck.”
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