You’ll need to do more than a few standard sit-ups in order to sculpt the six pack of your dreams. Muscle & Fitness notes that while your diet is the main factor in carving chiseled abs, you also need to regularly train them if you’re hoping for a rock-solid stomach. That means it’s time to start eating healthy and doing these five easy ab exercises on a regular basis.
Stick with these moves, and you’ll get the abs you’ve always wanted.
5 Easy Ab Exercises for a Sculpted Six Pack
In addition to strengthening your arms and back, pull-ups are also great for sculpting your abs. Livestrong explains that your abs are engaged and contracted throughout the duration of a pull-up as they work to stabilize your body. Your abs should be sore after completing a set of pull-ups; if they aren’t, you might not be doing them correctly.
Men’s Fitness explains the correct way to do a pull-up: To start, grasp a pull-up bar with both hands in an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, pull your shoulder blades down and back, bend your legs, cross your feet, squeeze your glutes, and brace your abs. Then, pull yourself up until your collarbone reaches the bar, and drive your elbows down toward your hips. Return to the start position, and repeat. Do three sets of pull-ups, repeating the exercise until you can’t do any more, with 120-second breaks in between each set.
2. Barbell Floor Wiper
You’ll need a barbell to complete this move, featured on Men’s Health. To begin, lie with your back on the floor, holding a barbell over your chest with straight arms. Keep your legs straight, raise your feet directly above you, and start lowering them toward the right side of your body. Don’t allow your legs to touch the ground. Reverse back to the start position, lower to the left, then reverse again.
If you’d like to make this move more challenging, Men’s Health shares this recommendation: As your feet get close to the floor, hold them there for an extra second or two, forcing them to hover just above the ground.
3. Jack Knife Sit-Up
If your go-to ab workout involves doing hundreds of crunches, it’s time to put that routine to bed. The Huffington Post notes that crunches place excessive strain on your back and don’t burn enough calories to eliminate the fat that is covering your stomach muscles, making it an inefficient way to try to get a six-pack.
Looking for a sure-fire way to get a washboard stomach? Try this BodyBuilding.com ab exercise, which requires you to use an exercise ball. To do a jack knife sit-up, sit on the floor, holding a medicine ball between your hands, with your feet out in front of you. Bend your knees slightly, and lift your feet so they’re suspended slightly off the ground. Make sure you keep your ankles together, and lean back until your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor.
Hold the exercise ball out straight from your chest with your arms slightly bent. Twist your torso to one side as far as you can, and bring the ball toward the floor on the same side of your body. Pause for a moment, then twist your torso in the opposite direction, repeating the movement on your other side. Continue to repeat this movement until you reach failure.
4. Physioball Pikes
Kick @55 Fitness delivers a killer ab move that will sculpt your stomach in no time. Start in a push-up position with your arms straight and your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Rest your shins on a physioball, otherwise referred to as an exercise ball, so your body forms a straight line from your head to your ankles.
Without bending your knees, begin to roll the ball toward your body by raising your hips as high as you can. Pause for a moment, and then lower your hips and roll the ball backward to get it back to the starting position. Repeat three to four sets of eight to 12 reps.
5. Exercise Ball Crunches
Crunches on the floor may be inefficient, but doing them on an exercise ball is an entirely different story.About.com notes that it’s much more effective to do sit-ups on an exercise ball because it forces your abs to do all of the work. When you’re on the floor, your legs are typically more involved, meaning your stomach muscles aren’t getting as good a workout.
To do this move, AbsExperiment.com explains you should start by sitting on the exercise ball. Walk your feet out so that your lower back is on the ball. Arch your back, and stretch your ab muscles out, keeping your legs at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the ground. Put your hands by your head, contract your abs, and curl your upper body and hips up. Raise your torso no more than 45 degrees, fully exhaling on your way up and inhaling on the way down. Slowly return to the starting position, allowing your abs to fully stretch out. Repeat.