Workout Routines

The Updated Ab Killer Workout for a Shredded Six-Pack

Challenging bodyweight exercises plus weighted moves produces a stronger, sculpted core with this 6-week routine.

crunch
Duration 30 min
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

When training abs, anything and everything is fair game – and we’re not just talking about exercise selection here. Feel free to get creative with different variations of exercises in the gym, but make sure weight and rep ranges are running the gamut, too. Sets of abs don’t all need to be high reps; the hypertrophy sweet spot of 8-15 reps is still viable here, and additional resistance encouraged.

The below six-week ab routine is based off one we published in the January 2013 issue, only with a few tweaks to provide your midsection a new challenge. Notice the rep counts – all below 20. This is more of a quality workout than a quantity one. Exercises like ab wheel rollouts and hanging leg raises are challenging enough for most people that high reps aren’t feasible anyway. With other moves (in this case, cable crunches and back extensions) external resistance increases degree of difficulty so that endless 50-rep sets aren’t necessary.

With a clean diet, the quality of the work will show through.

SEE ALSO: 6 Weighted Ab Exercises for a Shredded Stomach

HANGING LEG RAISE

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE: Knee raises were used in the Straight Up routine. Keeping the legs extended increases the difficulty and won’t allow for as many reps to be completed. This exercise can be done on either a Roman chair or hanging from a pull-up bar (the latter is the more advanced version).

AB WHEEL ROLLOUT

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE: This challenging move replaces sit-ups from the original workout. Rollouts hit the abs top to bottom and are also great for hitting the deeper core muscles. If you’ve never done this exercise, don’t go down all the way at first. As you get stronger, extend the range of motion.

CABLE OBLIQUE CRUNCH

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE: The Straight Up routine utilized cable crunches; this workout does too, but with a twist on each rep to bring the obliques into play. It’s highly recommend to incorporate rotational exercises regularly in your ab/core routine to build strength and stability across all anatomical planes.

BACK EXTENSION

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE: Muscular balance is critical when training the core. All the exercises for the front of your torso (abs) need to be balanced with lower back moves. Back extensions can be done on a standard hyperextension bench or a glute-ham developer (GHD) apparatus if you have one available. When training at home, sub in “Supermans” done on the floor.


Back to Level Up 2017>>

Straight Up Abs

Exercise 1

Hanging Knee Raise You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Hanging Knee Raise thumbnail
3 sets
15-20 weeks 1-3; 8-12 weeks 4-6 reps
-- rest
*Increase resistance and decrease reps on every set weeks 4-6.

Exercise 2

Hyperextension Bench Situp You'll need: Bench
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
15-20 weeks 1-3; 8-12 weeks 4-6 reps
-- rest
*Increase resistance and decrease reps on every set weeks 4-6.

Exercise 3

Cable Crunch You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment How to
Cable Crunch thumbnail
3 sets
12-15 weeks 1-3; 8-12 weeks 4-6 reps
-- rest
*Increase resistance and decrease reps on every set weeks 4-6.

Exercise 4

Dumbbell Side Bend
Ab Exercise: Dumbbell Side Bend thumbnail
2 sets
20 weeks 1-3; 12-15 weeks 3-6 reps
-- rest
*Increase resistance and decrease reps on every set weeks 4-6.

Level Up Abs

Exercise 1

Hanging Leg Raise You'll need: Pullup Bar How to
Hanging Leg Raise thumbnail
3 sets
10-12 reps
-- rest
*Over the course of six weeks, increase rep counts as you get stronger, working up to 20-25 reps.

Exercise 2

Ab Wheel Rollout
ab-wheel-rollout-bsn-mass-gainsj thumbnail
3 sets
8-10 reps
-- rest
*Over the course of six weeks, increase rep counts as you get stronger, working up to 15-20 reps.

Exercise 3

Kneeling Oblique Cable Crunch You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment How to
Kneeling Oblique Cable Crunch thumbnail
2 sets
12-15 per side reps
-- rest
**Increase weight every two weeks.

Exercise 4

Back Extension How to
back extension thumbnail
3 sets
12-15 reps
-- rest
***Use bodyweight only for three weeks, then add resistance via a light weight plate for the next three weeks.
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