8 Pack Abs Workout: How To Get The Ultimate 8 Pack

Forget the highly coveted six pack. Bodybuilder Brad Borland presents three intense abdominal workouts that will help you build a thick 8 pack.

Workout Summary

General Fitness
Split
Beginner
8 weeks
1
15-30 minutes
Bodyweight, Other
Male & Female

Workout Description

Let’s face it; having to read about another abs workout program is like trying to get excited about going to the dentist. Both sometimes seem to be more of a chore than finding anything remotely fun. And to make matters even worse, performing and maintaining a genuine abs routine is like buying new tires; not something you really like to spend your time or money on but you know deep down they will improve performance.

A necessary evil? Yes, but let’s change that!

Sure, diet is paramount when it comes to developing great abs for all to see, but you mustn’t forgo a solid and effective ab program to reap the maximum benefits from your efforts. It’s time to stop throwing in a few sets of crunches at the end of a workout with empty hopes that one day your eight pack will suddenly reveal itself through pitiful focus.

Stop kidding yourself. Draw a line in the sand and stop wasting time and energy spinning your wheels and adhere to a sound and effective plan of attack to boost gains for not only vanity reasons but also increase performance residually through other lifts. A solid core can be a key factor regarding strength providing improved balance and shoring up weak midsection stability during big lifts.

In short, a stronger core equals stronger squats, deadlifts and bench presses. Everything (power, strength, stability) is first derived from our core. If this area gets its due attention we have no choice but to reap reward in its execution. A tight, strong midsection creates whole-body strength and who would pass that up?

What makes up the abs?

The muscles of the abdominals comprise of several areas that flex, extend, twist and stabilize the trunk area. They sit on the front sides of the lower torso originating along the ribcage and attaching along the pelvis. Below is a quick look at each muscle and its function.

Rectus Abdominus: This is the coveted “six-pack” muscle – although it has more than six heads. This muscle flexes the spine and brings the ribcage and pelvis closer together.

Transverse Abdominus: This muscle is a deep muscle of the core which lies beneath the other muscles that is essential for trunk stability.

Internal and External Obliques: These are diagonal muscles that work to rotate the torso and stabilize the abdomen.

8 Pack Abs

Your 10 exercise abdominal arsenal

Below are ten key moves and their modifications to help you crunch, squeeze and pound your abs into tempered steel.

Leg raises

Leg raises can be performed on a flat bench, a decline bench or hanging. For the hanging version, begin with a straight leg and then as you tire, bend your knees to keep the set going for an intense burn. While hanging from a chinning bar raise up your legs as in the lying raises and stop when your legs are at parallel with the floor and return. For knee raises bring your knees into you abdominal region until they are past parallel and squeeze. Lower just short of perpendicular with the floor to keep tension on the region.

Bicycles

You can perform bicycles the traditional way by alternating sides or make it a bit more challenging by isolating one side and then switching over to the other. Just perform all reps for one side then switch and do the allotted number of reps for the other.

Planks

Once you reach a level of several sets of 30 seconds with the traditional plank it is time for a new challenge. Have a partner place a weight plate (one that is at first light enough to handle) on your upper back to add resistance. Just be sure to keep your entire body tight and don’t let the weight “bow” your body.

Dragon flags

For the more advanced out there, try performing the dragon flag on a decline bench. This will take incredible strength and balance, but you will reap incredible benefits of more strength and stability once mastered.

Windshield wipers

Once you have the basic windshield wiper movement down it is time to up the intensity. Perform the movement as you would normally, but now place a small weighted medicine ball between your feet. It is a tough addition and requires serious strength and technique.

Side planks

For more of a challenge, try switching from a side plank to a normal plank over to another side plank slowly. Be sure to keep the body aligned and perform the movement in a steady, deliberate motion sustaining good form and function.

Russian twists

If you find using a medicine ball or weight plate difficult with this movement simply clasp your hands in front of you and perform the exercise as usual. This will build up your strength quickly so you may graduate up to using weight in the near future.

Crunches

The many forms of the crunch include performing them on a flex-ball, feet supported on a bench, and weighted by holding a small weight plate on your chest. You can also try weighted crunches by lying on the floor with your head toward a rope attachment on a low pulley and pull the weight up while you crunch. Be sure to hold the ends of the rope on either side of your head when performing this move.

Side crunches

In addition to performing traditional side crunches on a sit-up bench or on the floor, side crunches can also be performed on a Roman chair. Position yourself with your feet and hip contacting the bench while your upper body is suspended. Crunch your pelvis by twisting and bending your knees side-to-side.

Sit-ups

Sit-ups can be modified using a decline bench and holding a weight plate on your chest with crossed arms. This addition can be a bit of a challenge, so try it with a weight you can handle first.

Try one, two or all of the routines below for a complete ab workout in very little time. You can try one workout three times per week or use all three over a week. Be sure to rest no more than 20 seconds between exercises and after supersets. Always perform proper technique while performing each move deliberately and under control.

3 Ab Workouts For The Ultimate 8 Pack

Routine #1
Ab Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Crunches on a Flex Ball 3 15
Hanging Leg Raises 3 15
Bicycles 3 20
Routine #2
Ab Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Side Crunches on Roman Chair 3 15
Low Pulley Crunches 3 15
Windshield Wipers 3 20
3 Way Plank 3 20-30 Seconds
Routine #3
Ab Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Dragon Flag 3 As many as possible
Superset: Straight Leg Raises and Bent Leg Raises 3 10
Superset: Russian Twists (3 x 10 each side) with Floor Crunch (3x15)   * See Description

43 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/21/2017 - 04:38
Abhay

Give diet too for V shape 8 packs " please

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/12/2017 - 22:43
Sep

Bros is it safe to drink whey protein even if rest day ? Just like what Ive been doing everytime i lift. Should i consider it effective way to build up muscles ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 04/13/2017 - 09:11
JoshEngland

Hi Sep,

Yes, it is perfectly safe to drink whey protein on your rest days, so long as you dont have an allergen to the product. You need to meet your daily protein goals even on days you don't workout. Whey protein will help you reach your daily protein goals, regardless of when and how you take it. Below is our expert guide on whey protein. It should be able to provide you with any answers to questions you may have about the supplement.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/whey-protein

Hope this helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/13/2017 - 23:33
Sep

Thanks josh! Probably will make my daily dosage of protein!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/11/2017 - 20:12
Sep

Can I do them all in just one day ? Or it is way better to do the routine every other day ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 04/12/2017 - 09:03
JoshEngland

Hi Sep,

I wouldn't recommend doing them all in one day every day. I'd limit yourself to one of these workouts once a day added to the end of your workout, with rest days as needed.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/12/2017 - 20:45
Sep

Sure josh! Ill follow your recommendation, thanks!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 07/19/2015 - 21:31
Ed

Abdominals are designed to stop motion, not create motion. When the abs create motion they flex your lumbar spine which herniates your disc. Do enough crunches and sit ups and you'll herniate a disc

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 07/20/2015 - 09:43
MikeWines

Ed,
While that is true that the abdominals are more effective at stabilizing the spine, we shouldn't demonize flexion based movement entirely. LOADED flexion can become an issue when the vertebrae are taken to end range. However, it's important to not vilify the movement to the point where you generate a nocebo (the opposite of placebo). If you can't control flexion of the spine then sit ups and crunches will likely be an issue but the fact of the matter is that the exercise isn't the issue, it's the person's lack of pelvic control and kinesthetic awareness.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Fri, 07/24/2015 - 11:04
MikeWines

Ed,
Ah, I see. Interesting. Here's a piece from McGill which I found very interesting considering it discussed some of the EXACT mechanisms regarding flexion that we were discussing: http://www.backfitpro.com/documents/Spine-flexion-myths-truths-and-issue...

Good to see that you're a PT who actually lifts. As a strength and conditioning coach, I've had my fair share of run ins with PTs who condemned squatting and deadlifting and unfortunately it wasn't for the benefit of their patients.

I always appreciate a good discussion though, cheers Ed.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/22/2015 - 17:30
Ed

Very true, I agree. Although a lot of trainers only think of the muscle when addressing the core, which is a huge mistake. There are fragile disc, ligaments, and nerves involved: We now know the pressure the lumbar disc can handle without injury, it varies but is fairly consistent. We can now measure the pressure in the disc while someone is performing an exercise and many of these exercises send disc pressure through the roof. I recommend the Ultimate Back by Dr Stuart McGill also he has a web site Backfitpro.com , he rehabs the top powerlifters and pro athletes

MikeWines's picture
Posted Thu, 07/23/2015 - 10:15
MikeWines

Ed,
I'm very familiar with Stu McGill's work and I've followed it very closely over the years. I've actually written about the topic of core training a few times -
1. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/understanding-core-training
2. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/ground-based-training-for-a-s...

It's important to keep in mind that his work was done on pig spines, not actual in vivo studies and as such, the demands from gravity as well as segmental loading will be different since pigs spend all of their lives in a quadruped rather than upright position.

Not only that, it's also important to keep in mind each individual's natural propensities, daily habits, lifestyle demands, and muscular strengths/weaknesses.

For example, if an athlete is heavily based in extension (pelvis tipped forward, tight spinal erectors, poor anterior core control, lack of glute activation, etc.) then they need to understand how to posterior tilt the pelvis and regain kinesthetic awareness. If they train to ONLY control anti-extension movements (plank variations, rollouts, etc.) then they won't full understand the influence of the abdominal musculature on pelvic positioning.

Now, I'm still not a big fan of crunches and as such, I don't program them with many athletes or clients. I'm also especially careful to never give any flexion based back work to clients who are currently in pain when moving into flexion or exhibit weakness in a position of anti-extension.

There isn't any exercise that is entirely good or bad, it all depends upon CONTEXT.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/23/2015 - 12:57
Ed

Thanks , I will check those out. I've had this discussion before with people and I think we are on the same page. All of the McGill research I have read have been on cadaver spines and disc, not pig. In fact he has video under fluoroscopy of a lift injury. We have the technology to measure disc pressure in live patients, and some core exercises no matter how perfect the form are unsafe. It is very hard to teach body awareness, especially lumbar pelvic positioning. I believe most trainers, coaches, therapist miss the boat on this. Very few people have a perfect neutral posture, they are either in an extension moment and some are in a flexion moment, if you are not aware of how to put yourself in neutral you will get hurt. So if you dead lift flexed you will injure yourself but if you have a natural anterior pelvic tilt and are lifting or performing core work in hyper extension you will also be hurt. Train your body in neutral and it will want to stay there, safely. Spines are injured out of neutral and I hear some people argue you need to train to tolerate flexion but I never saw a coach attempt rotational forces at the knee to prevent an ACL, you place a rotational force and make them maintain neutral knee. Most young guys reading this will not take the time and don't have the expertise to know how to set themselves in neutral, it's probably the main reason motivated people have to stop working out, frustrated with re-injury.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Thu, 07/23/2015 - 17:04
MikeWines

Ed,
Excellent points as always. The ACL part was golden as well.

Pelvic positioning is tough to understand but most could start here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no-BBA9IrgU

Also, I don't agree entirely that as soon as someone enters flexion or extension that will immediately result in an injury. Look at olympic weight lifters - they LIVE in extension yet they aren't dealing excessive lumbar or thoracic spine pathologies because they have learned control through that range of motion.

CHRONIC extension or flexion can become an issue, yes. Going to end range of either end of the spectrum can become an issue, yes. But simply going through a flexion or extension movement isn't going to result in your intervertebral discs shooting out of your body and your vertebrae immediately being crushed.

Do you have a specific links you could share regarding specific exercises or research correlating with McGill that's new? I saw his most recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research on the long term effects of isometric core training but haven't seen much besides that.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 07/24/2015 - 00:36
Ed

Thanks Mike, I enjoyed the discussion. Some good points to think about and helpful links. I am a little biased being a physical therapist and strength nerd who had to fight hard and try a few disciplines to get back to powerlifting after a severe back injury. MCGills concepts really helped me heal and actually become much stronger than I was prior to injury. I know I could have prevented my injury sticking to McGills concepts, I emphasize technique and neutral spine with my athletes and here are some links to add to reinforce things.

Safe core reference/McGill
http://www.backfitpro.com/articles.php

Ultimate back fitness
http://www.backfitpro.com/books.php

Neutral spine -pelvis-body awareness
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zqzjdfsVMME

Breathing
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-G_ot0-98NU

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/15/2015 - 13:29
Divyansh sharma

i.am a athlete .so my packs already by nature....but suddenly....my pack abs..are hidden...what should i do

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/29/2015 - 00:34
sachin

if i practice these abdominal arsenal and AB workouts everyday how long will it take for me to get 8 packs....???
i am 16 years old iam 174cm tall 54 kg's.....!!!
i wud be pleased for a reply.....!!!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/29/2015 - 07:32
JoeyG

You need to have your bodyfat low to see your abs. That requires the right diet. You do not need to train abs every day, just train them 2-3 times a week or when they are recovered from the previous workout.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/20/2015 - 15:47
Adam

So do you do all three workouts together ?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/20/2015 - 18:22
Blake Rogers

No these are 3 different workouts. You could do 1 every couple of workouts. The way I hit my abs is whenever they're not sure. Sometimes that's every 2 days, sometimes 3-4. As soon as they're not sure they've recovered, so time to hit them again.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 05/16/2015 - 07:10
Tyson

How do you fit these 8 pack workouts in around your regular workout routine? Should I cycle these 3 workouts? Any advice would be appreciated.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 05/16/2015 - 08:30
Greg

You can add these workouts to the end of just about any muscle building split. Getting an 8 pack is going to require you to have your nutrition in check and be around 6-7% bodyfat. Not everyone can get an 8 pack (genetically) that's something you need to keep in mind.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:23
brensmith

hahahqhHQH

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:20
brensmith

all of u guys are weak and have no idea what u talking about lol

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 10/15/2014 - 22:13
Mike

If I hit this routine hard... 3 days in a row, then a rest day, and repeat.... along with a stellar diet how long can I expect to be shredded. I'm packing a few extra pounds now, but I'm not a fatass by any means.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/16/2014 - 19:15
kenneth dodd

At age 55,I have revived my life with my work out routine
With this ab workout and not diet , but change of life style,has brought the youth in me.now I have a eight pack better than person half my age.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/10/2014 - 03:48
really

i would love to see a beginner do a dragon flag

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 03/30/2014 - 20:02
beginner

what does reps mean ?
repetition ?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 03/28/2014 - 17:28
julie

I started working out and I'm fit, but now I want to tone my body, is this a good excerise for my level of training

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:55
Bill

Wow! This is such an unhelpful comment board. Who are all the assholes who thumbs down everything, but dont post a reason...

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 01/23/2014 - 01:11
Mark Atkins

So I do routine one Mon 2 wed 3 Friday? Is that right?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 01/20/2014 - 10:26
Joe

So how long should we rest in-between sets and exercises? 20 seconds /set and exercise feels way too short. Can we rest longer or keep it @ 20 seconds between sets and exercises?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 01/06/2014 - 02:14
Weirdo

Can I just do push ups crunches and sit-ups?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 01/06/2014 - 02:13
Weirdo

I don't want a eight pack but can I just do crunches and sit ups and push ups?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 11/29/2013 - 09:17
ongjw17

Hi, if I were to do crunches, leg raises, oblique crunches and planks, would it be sufficient to train on my way to 8 packs?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 11/18/2013 - 05:03
Adam

6 packs are for children.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 11/13/2013 - 03:14
Mr.Flink

Reynardt, you have to do it three times per week. You can do each routine in one week or just do one routine one week and then switch to another routine the other week.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 11/13/2013 - 02:51
Gee

Can you explain exactly the correct way to do the superset please. Do you them both right after each other or finish a set of 3 for one then the next 3 set as well.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 11/11/2013 - 18:09
Reynardt

This looks intense! Im a lightweight, currently at 154 lbs, 5'11" and Im just about 30 years old. Would these routines suffice for my 'level'? And, if I understand correctly, I just do one routine per week on one day only.... say just on Mondays? Tnx in advance.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 11/12/2013 - 05:31
Dinesh

You either perform the same routine thrice in 1 week or perform all 3 routines in the same week

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 11/13/2013 - 09:01
NeroMaj

Reynardt, I like to train abs every other day alternating between weighted and unweighted.

For example, Monday (unweighted), Wednesday (weighted), Friday (unweighted), etc.. The only modification I make is to not train the obliques with weights as often because they can make your waist look wider.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/09/2014 - 05:24
Cody

No, you will do one routine three times per week, or all the exercises mixed up 3 times a week, this will be which ever you prefer.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/30/2014 - 18:30
Jake

Depends how fit you already are and i would do one routine every other day for the best results or Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.