When it comes to celebrations involving food, the part that always stands out is the main course at the centerpiece of the table.
This is what people pay attention to the most before digging in.
When it comes to your physique - big arms, a thick chest, and wide back are great, but the area that makes your body look appealing is your abs.
This is what many people consider the measuring stick of one’s overall fitness.
Now I’m aware of what many of you plan to type in the comments, so let’s address it here.
Yes, abs are made in the kitchen. If your nutrition isn’t on point you’ll never see results.
That said, the abs are a group of muscles and must be trained if you want to develop that “brick” like look.
6 Ab Workouts for Brick-Like Abs
Below are six different training programs for your core. Each workout will challenge you in a different way and train your abs from different angles.
Related: Concrete Core - 4 Core Workouts for Stronger Abs
You can work these into your workout program as you see fit but here are some suggestions on ways to incorporate them into your week.
- Perform each workout for a few weeks before changing to a different one.
- Alternate each workout so you can challenge your core in different ways each time.
- You can add them at the start or end of your workout or do an “abs & core day” where you perform core work only.
If you need help learning how to do each of these exercises, you can check out the videos in the exercises database here on M&S.
One more bonus, if you substitute resistance bands for cables like with rope cable crunches, then you can do any of these workouts at home too.
1. “Ab Isolator” Ab Workout
If you’re new to the fitness game or want to go back to Abs 101, this is a great choice for you. This is a simple, no frills workout that allows you to focus on each area of the abs.
If you want to make this one more challenging, you can focus on the negative portion of each rep by slowing it down.
Start by taking 60 seconds rest between each set. As you improve, cut your rest time by 10 seconds. Make it a goal to cut your rest time to 30 seconds between sets.
|Lying Leg Raise||3||15|
|Cross Body Crunch||3||15 Each|
2. “Have a Ball” Ab Workout
The exercise ball is looked down upon by some “hardcore” lifters but it can benefit any athlete in three ways:
- It can be safer for the lower back because it’s softer than the floor and can adjust to how you’re positioned on it.
- It can help you maximize the contraction of the abs.
- Your stabilizer muscles in the core will have to do serious work to keep your spine stable while lying on an exercise ball.
This workout can help beginners who are looking for a workout that isn’t too complicated. Make sure your ball is fully inflated and will support your weight. Having a ball that pops on you can be both embarrassing and may result in an injury.
|Exercise Ball Crunch||3-4||12-15|
|Stir the Pot on Exercise Ball||3||10|
|Exercise Ball Hip Roll||3||15|
|Exercise Ball Hip Tuck||3||12|
|Exercise Ball Plank||3||Failure|
3. “Giant Sets for a Mini-Midsection” Ab Workout
This one can be for beginners or intermediate athletes. Each exercise will help you feel the muscles working but doing them all without rest in between will challenge your muscular endurance. It will also help you burn more calories. You can warm up for this one by perform one set of each exercise with more time in between before starting the giant sets.
Start by doing each exercise for 30 seconds. As you improve, try to add time until you’re able to do each exercise for 60 seconds. Next, add more total giant sets. You can start with two and add one until you’re doing four. Four giant sets with one minute rest between giant sets would be 15 total minutes.
|Abdominal Air Bike||2-4||30-60 Secs|
|Lying Alternate Leg Raise||2-4||30-60 Secs|
|Straight Leg Toe Touch||3-4||30-60 Secs|
4. “Muscular Middle” Ab Workout
Your abs shouldn’t just be considered for vanity. They are muscles and should be strong just like the other muscles in your body. This workout places emphasis on that. All four exercises in this workout will call for you to use extra resistance.
That being said, remember that the goal is to still work the abs without recruiting other muscles to take over. While you should challenge yourself, focus on contracting your abs instead of lifting the weight. Rest for 45-60 seconds between each set.
|Decline Sit Up with Plate||4||8-10|
|Weighted Chair Knee Raise||3||10-12|
|Side Bends||3||10 Each|
5. “High Rep Special” Ab Workout
If you like pushing yourself with high reps, then this is the plan for you. Bodybuilders from the Golden Era used to think that high reps were the ticket to tight abs. So as opposed to the previous workout, this one calls for no extra resistance at all.
You’re going to be tempted to speed through the sets so you get done faster. If you’re patient and are able to push through, your efforts will be well-rewarded when you pull up your shirt. Rest for 60-75 seconds between sets. By the time you finish this one, you’ll have done 300 total reps.
|Seated Knee Tuck||5||20|
6. “Tabata Time” Ab Workout
Some of you might be familiar with Tabata but I’ll explain quickly for those of you that might not be. Tabata is a form of High Intensity Interval Training that lasts for four minutes.
You would do 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and this is performed eight consecutive times. It’s short but far from sweet because you go all-out during those work periods.
Related: Shredded! A Complete Guide To Getting to 10% Body Fat
This workout will use the Tabata principles and is great for intermediate to advanced athletes who need to be in and out of the gym.
You will perform each of the four exercises four times. It might be tough for you to transition from one exercise to the next each time, so start with the heel touches and perform it for the first cycles. Then go to the frog sit ups, and so on. Make sure you have the weight for the side touches close to you when you start the workout so you won’t be delayed.
|Lying Alternate Heel Touch||2 Mins||20/10 Secs|
|Frog Sit Up||2 Mins||20/10 Secs|
|Abdominal Pendulum||2 Mins||20/10 Secs|
|Weighted Side Touches||2 Mins||20/10 Secs|