Workout Routines

The Best Abs Workout for Beginners

Every guy in the gym wants a rippling six-pack. And while the path to ripped abs isn’t easy, this high-intensity workout finisher will certainly help you get there.

Hanging Leg Raise
Per Bernal / M+F Magazine
Per Bernal / M+F Magazine
Duration 45 min
Exercises 6
Equipment Yes

The fitness industry is, in many respects, an industry of abs. There’s a reason countless books and magazine articles feature abs every issue: The search for a six-pack continues to represent the holy grail of training.

That’s why any abs workout for beginners must come with a disclaimer: It’s not going to be easy. The proverbial washboard is unlikely to happen unless a guy first drops his body fat in the neighborhood of 10%—no small task for even a dedicated lifter with a highly focused diet plan.

Of course, working the abs before you reach that level of leanness is hardly a waste of time; it’s just the results won’t be evident, which can be frustrating to a lot of lifters.

The good news: Just about any movement that strengthens your core—the supporting musculature around your hips, midsection, and shoulders—will also strengthen the abs. So even as you’re dialing down your body fat, you’re building a strong foundation for functional movement and a body resistant to injury. If you think of abs as a byproduct rather than the end goal of training, you’ll better appreciate the process—and the results.

DIRECTIONS

For this best-abs-for-beginners routine, complete a 5- to 10-minute cardio warmup, then perform 2-3 rounds of this circuit. Once you find your abs no longer getting sore, and you’re not progressing, ratchet things up a bit and try our classic six-week power abs workout routine.

The Workout

Exercise 1

Plank
Up-Down Plank thumbnail
3 sets
60 reps
30 sec rest
Lie in a prone pushup position with forearms resting on the floor, elbows under shoulders and bent 90 degrees. Push up off the elbows, tucking your chin so your head is in line with your body. Keep head inline with spine and belly button drawn in.

Exercise 2

V-Up You'll need: No Equipment How to
V-Up thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
30 sec rest
Begin on your back with hands extended over your head. Lift your legs and crunch up at the same time, forming your body into the shape of a “V.” Exhale as you lift your legs and crunch and inhale as you return to the starting position.

Exercise 3

Hanging Leg Raise You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Hanging Leg Raise thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
30 sec rest
Grab a pullup bar with an overhead grip. Your arms should be straight and feet off the ground. Keeping your legs straight, use your abs to raise your feet toward your shoulders, pausing when your thighs reach your chest.

Exercise 4

Mountain Climber You'll need: No Equipment How to
Mountain Climber thumbnail
3 sets
30 reps
30 sec rest
Start in pushup position, with the balls of your feet on the ground. Alternate driving your knees forward to their corresponding arms for 30 seconds.

Exercise 5

Swiss Ball Jackknife You'll need: Swiss Ball How to
Swiss Ball Jackknife thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
30 sec rest
Get in a pushup position with shins on a Swiss ball. Pull your knees to the chest until the toes are on top of the ball. Return to the starting position and repeat for a set of 10. Be sure to keep your bellybutton in and shoulders pushed away from ball.

Exercise 6

Burpee How to
Burpee With Pushup thumbnail
3 sets
10 reps
30 sec rest
From a standing position, squat, place you hands on the ground, and “jump” your feet out into a push-up position. Perform a pushup and then jump your feet to your hands. Then jump as high as you can, throwing your hands over your head.
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