Workout Routines

The ultimate barbell-only abs workout to sculpt a six-pack

Forget the crunches and situps—hammer your midsection with this barbell-only routine.

Barbell Squat
MoMo Productions / Getty
MoMo Productions / Getty
Duration 45
Exercises 6
Equipment Yes

It’s possible that you have abs already, but you just can’t see them. There’s a layer of fat over your six-pack that needs to be burned off before you can get any credit for the muscle beneath.

The answer? A workout that burns fat and trains the core. This routine covers both bases.

How it works

It’s true that front squats are a leg exercise and overhead presses primarily work the shoulders, but both are also major abs builders. Your core has to work hard to keep you from collapsing forward on the front squat and from bending backward on the overhead press. The suitcase deadlift, on the other hand, makes your core tense to prevent you from bending sideways.

These moves also double as great metabolism boosters. Because they’re so challenging and recruit so many different muscles, they’ll keep your body recovering for days, and that means you’ll burn more fat while resting.


Perform the exercise pairs (marked “A” and “B”) as alternating sets. So you’ll do a set of A, rest, then a set of B, rest again, and continue for all the prescribed sets.

Exercise 1A.

Front Squat You'll need: Barbell How to
Front Squat thumbnail
4 sets
6 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 1B.

Wall Ankle Mobilization You'll need: No Equipment How to
Wall Ankle Mobilization  thumbnail
3 sets
10 (each side) reps
0 sec. rest

Exercise 2A.

Barbell Overhead Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Overhead Press thumbnail
4 sets
5 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 2B.

Suitcase Deadlift You'll need: Barbell How to
Suitcase Deadlift  thumbnail
4 sets
6 (each side) reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 3A.

Straight-Leg Barbell Situp You'll need: Barbell How to
Straight-Leg Barbell Situp  thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise 3B.

Barbell Rollout You'll need: Barbell How to
Barbell Rollout  thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
60 sec. rest