Best Six-Pack Abs Home Workout

Ten Workouts To Develop Abdominal Strength and Definition

A very common goal that many individuals have is to develop six-pack abs. Unfortunately, many individuals fail to understand what it takes to attain this goal and often fall short. 

The main reason people fail to succeed with this goal is that they misunderstand the abdominals, how to best train them, and the importance of nutrition.

Therefore, this article will provide information on the abdominal muscles and their functions. It will then move onto discuss the steps that need to be taken to facilitate six-pack development.

Finally, it will outline ten highly effective home-based ab workouts that you can use to help improve the strength and tone of the abdominals.

absUnderstanding The Abdominals

Many people understand the abdominals to be just one muscle – the one that is responsible for the “six-pack”. 

In actuality, the abdominals are a muscle group that contains four individual muscles – rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, external oblique, and internal oblique (1).

These muscles are responsible for generating a variety of different movements and help to flex, extend, bend, and rotate the trunk.

Furthermore, the abdominals can be considered as part of the “core”. The core is a complex series of muscles found in the trunk that work together to stabilize and support the body.

Performing regular abdominal exercises can help to increase the strength and function of these muscles thus enhancing movement and muscular tone.

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How To Get A Six-Pack

When it comes to developing a set of six-pack abs, exercise may help but ultimately it is your nutrition that will make the difference.

It is the rectus abdominis muscle that gives the six-pack its striking appearance. However, having a high percentage of body fat means that this muscle will not be seen.

Therefore, body fat needs to be reduced to the point where the muscle becomes visible.

In order to reduce body fat, a calorie deficit must be established and maintained over a prolonged period of time (2).

A calorie deficit is simply where more calories are burned than consumed. This forces the body to break down body fat to fulfill energy requirements.

By regulating your calorie intake, you can most effectively create this calorie deficit. However, increasing exercise levels and the number of calories you burn can also help form a deficit.

At this point, it should be emphasized that ab exercises alone will not develop a six-pack. 

This is highlighted most powerfully in a recent study that had participants engage in a six-week abdominal exercise program.

Participant’s body composition was measured before and after the training program. The results clearly indicated that the abdominal exercise made no difference to body composition (3).

However, this is not to say that abdominal exercises are not valuable. Performing regular ab work can increase the size and tone of the muscles.

As a result, once fat has been reduced far enough, the abdominals will look much more defined.

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The Ab Workouts

Many ab workouts follow a similar format and include many of the same exercises. This may not be conducive to progress as boredom can quickly become problematic.

Another issue is that many ab workouts tend to focus on superficial muscles only such as the rectus abdominis.

However, there is great value to be found in performing exercises that work the deeper ab muscles such as the transverse abdominis.

The following ten ab workouts not only comprehensively work the abdominal muscles but also contain plenty of variations to keep you motivated and on track.

With ten to choose from, you can select the workout that is most suitable for your goals, levels of fitness, and preferences.

1) Unilateral Ab Workout

Performing unilateral (or single-sided) exercises forces the many deep core muscles to engage to promote stability and maintain good posture throughout the movement.

Perform the following workout for three rounds:

Exercise Volume
Dumbbell Renegade Rows 20 reps
Single-Arm Overhead Press with Twist 20 reps
Split Squats 8 reps (per side)
Dumbbell Suitcase Walking Lunges 30 reps (per side)
Single-Leg Squats with Dumbbell Lateral Raise 8 reps (per side)
Side Plank with Dumbbell Fly 15 reps (per side)

 

2) The “No Crunch” Workout

The conventional crunch is often seen as the ultimate ab exercise – however, there is a wide array of exercises that effectively strengthen the abs.

Complete three rounds of the below workout to get the core burning!

Exercise Volume
Lying Bicycle Crunches with Dumbbell Overhead 20 reps
Push-ups 10 reps
Side Plank 1 minute
Supermans 20 reps
Side Plank with Dumbbell Fly 15 reps (per side)
Plank Complex:
– Forearm Plank– Right Leg Lifted– Left Leg Lifted

– Right Arm Lifted

– Left Arm Lifted
– Right Arm and Left Leg Lifted

– Left Arm and Right Leg Lifted

– Forearm Plank

15 seconds per position

 

3) Cardio Core Workout

As mentioned earlier, in order to have visible abs, it’s important to trim away excess body fat. Cardio can be an excellent tool to facilitate this.

Complete three rounds of this workout ensuring that you take a minute rest between each round.

Exercise Volume
Skater Lunges 20 reps
Mountain Climbers 20 reps
Burpees 20 reps
Knee-Ins (Same Knee and Shoulder) 20 reps
Side Plank 1 minute
Knee-Ins (Opposite Knee and Shoulder) 20 reps

 

4) The Plank Workout

When performed correctly, the conventional forearm plank is a highly effective core strengthening exercise. However, not only is it fairly mundane, often form can slip thus increasing injury risk.

The following workout utilizes a range of enjoyable plank variations that keep you moving and focused throughout. Complete the following routine for two rounds.

Exercise Volume
Forearm Plank with “Thread the Needle” 15 reps (per side)
Push-ups to Straight Arm Side Plank 10 reps
Side Plank 1 minute
Forearm Plank with Toe Taps 20 reps (per side)
Forearm Plank with Side-to-Side Hip Dips 20 reps
Knee-Ins (Same Knee and Shoulder) 20 reps
Knee-Ins (Opposite Knee and Shoulder) 20 reps
Forearm Side Plank with “Thread the Needle” 15 reps (per side)

 

5) Standing Core Workout

Not all core workouts need to involve floor-based activities. The following workout utilizes standing core exercises only to target the abdominals.

Complete three rounds of the below routine ensuring to take an adequate rest between each circuit. 

Exercise Volume
Dumbbell Chops 20 reps (per side)
Plank with Knee-Ins 20 reps (per side)
Forward Lunges 8 reps
Single-Leg Squats with Dumbbell Lateral Raise 8 reps (per side)
Dumbbell Overhead Press 12 reps
Dumbbell Swings 20 reps

 

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6) Bodyweight Only Workout

This workout is perfect for adding to home workouts or for those who do not have any fitness equipment.

Once again, look to complete three rounds.

Exercise Volume
Butterfly Kicks 20 reps
Crunches 20 reps
Russian Twists 20 reps
Elbow-to-Knee Crunches 20 reps
Butterfly Sit-Ups 20 reps
Side-to-Side Knee Drops 20 reps
Crunches 20 reps
Butterfly Kicks 20 reps

 

7) Anti-Flexion Core Workout

As highlighted, the core must engage to ensure that the body remains in a stable and safe position. This workout will place the body in positions where the core must work to resist flexion.

Perform three rounds of the following circuit.

Exercise Volume
Supermans 20 reps
Dumbbell Pullovers 20 reps
Forearm Plank with Toe Taps 20 reps (per side)
Side Plank with Leg Pendulums 20 reps
Prone Reverse Crunches 20 reps
Side Plank with Dumbbell Fly 15 reps (per side)
Forearm Plank 1 minute
Supermans 20 reps

 

8) V-Cut Abs Workout

The purpose of this workout is to work and define the transverse abdominis and obliques which are the muscles responsible for creating the v-shape.

Perform the below routine for three rounds.

Exercise Volume
Lying Alternating Leg Lifts 12 reps
Supine Reverse Crunches with Dumbbell Overhead 20 reps
Bicycle Crunches 20 reps
Inchworms 10 reps
Knee-Ins (Same Knee and Shoulder) 20 reps
Knee-Ins (Opposite Knee and Shoulder) 20 reps

 

Abs workout

9) Five-Minute Ab Blast

For those who are short on time yet still aspire to improve their core strength, the following five-minute circuit is the perfect solution.

Three rounds of this workout will last approximately five minutes. However, rounds can be added to increase the length of the workout if preferred.

Exercise Volume
Dumbbell Pullovers 20 reps
Bicycles with Full Leg Extension 20 reps
Forearm Plank with Side-to-Side Hip Dips 20 reps

 

10) Rotational Ab Workout

The abdominals, specifically the obliques, are responsible for generating rotational power. This final workout utilizes rotational movements to work the core and develop this ability.

Having completed a thorough warm-up, complete two rounds of the following routine.

Exercise Volume
Forward Lunges with Dumbbell Twist 8 reps (per side)
Dumbbell Overhead Press with Twist 12 reps
Dumbbell Renegade Rows 20 reps
Push-ups to Straight Arm Side Plank 10 reps
Forearm Plank with “Thread the Needle” 15 reps (per side)
Dumbbell Chops 20 reps (per side)
Side-to-Side Dumbbell Chops 10 reps (per side)

 

Final Word

If you aspire to get a six-pack, it is imperative that body fat is significantly reduced and ab exercises are performed regularly.

The ten workouts outlined in this article will effectively improve muscle tone and the appearance of the abdominals.

References:

1 – Flynn, William; Vickerton, Paula (2020), “Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Abdominal Wall”, StatPearls, Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing, PMID 31869113

2 – Strasser, B.; Spreitzer, A.; Haber, P. (2007). “Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss”. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. 51 (5): 428–432. doi:10.1159/000111162. ISSN 1421-9697. PMID 18025815.

3 – Vispute, Sachin S.; Smith, John D.; LeCheminant, James D.; Hurley, Kimberly S. (2011-09). “The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 25 (9): 2559–2564. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181fb4a46. ISSN 1533-4287. PMID 21804427.

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