Some people have great abs with little or no work. I know I don’t have the genetics to get a ripped 6-pack by watching TV. For me, it takes lots of work and dedication. I am happy with where my abs are going, but I am eager to tighten up the pack up even more!
Preface: There are three keys to improving your abs: diet, cardio, and some ab work (you can overtrain abs like any other muscle). Diet and cardio are important because it gets your body fat down to a level where the ab muscles are visible. No matter how many crunches you do, you won’t see any definition if there is a layer of fat covering the muscles. If abs are your goal, make sure to get at least 2-3 cardio sessions a week and forgo those fatty foods like cake or ice cream.
Here is a list of the ab exercises I do (pick 3-5 of these when you do your ab workout):
1. Decline Leg lifts: really effective, do these on a decline sit-up bench. I try and keep my legs straight and you can really feel your abs getting pumped up. You can bend your legs to make it easier and turn it into a decline reverse crunch. I do about 20 reps, but to start you can do 10 reps and bending your legs is ok.
2. Roman chair lifts: I do these in sets of 30. Mix it up by lifting your legs straight in front of you, bent in front of you, and also bent to the sides.
3. Medicine Ball twists: These are really good at working the core, abs and obliques, helping to create definition all around. With your legs lifted above the ground, move the medicine ball from side to side. I usually do sets of 50 reps. You can work up to heavier medicine balls.
4. V-ups: Oh yea, the traiditional! The true V-up involves actually making a V with your hands and feet, but I usually keep my hands in the same place in front of me and bend my knees (aka tuck-ups).
5. Side crunches: Another good way to work the obliques along with the side part of the abs. Do these in sets of 30-40 reps for each side.
6. Ab press: We have these at Arrillaga and it is great. You can add weight and you really feeel your abs get a solid workout. I usually do sets of 20-25 reps.
7. Runners: Move your feet like you are riding a bicycle (aka air bikes) with hands behind you head. Do this for about 30 seconds at a time.
8. Medicine Ball Crunches: With medicine ball in hand, do a normal sit up lifting the medicine ball above your head.
9. Side Bends with Dumbell or Plate: With dumbell in hand, lean over to one side and feel your obliques burn! Repeat for the other side. 20-30 reps usually does it.
10. Cable Crunch: A great way to add some resistance to your ab routine. With knees on the floor, pull each end of the rope attached to the cable downward.
Have a great workout!