The Six-Pack Abs Workout — Zero Sit-Ups Required

A six-pack is the result of a clean diet, low body fat and hard training.
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While sit-ups used to be the go-to exercise for building six-pack abs, we all now know that no amount of sit-ups or crunches will give you that sculpted midsection you're after. A six-pack is the result of a clean diet, low body fat and dedicated training that includes cardio and strength training.


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While old-fashioned crunches can be a good "finisher" at the end of your core training, poor form often results in not much else than a sore neck. Instead, work your core with dynamic stabilizing moves. By engaging more muscle groups to balance and move, you can burn more calories and build a stable center, which is exactly what you need to be stronger in everything you do.


Throughout all of the following exercises, train your body the way you want it to grow. Want to be long and lean? Stretch a little further with each rep.

Exercise is even more effective when paired with a healthy diet. Download the MyPlate app to track your calories consumed and burned for a complete picture of your overall health.


Read more: The Science of Amazing Abs

Move 1: Twisting Leg Raise

Hold your legs squeezed together for two counts, then raise them up for two counts and alternate side to side.
  1. Lying on your back and extending your arms to your sides, lift your legs toward the ceiling with a comfortable bend.
  2. Keeping them squeezed together, lower them as low as you can to the right for twocounts down.
  3. Raise them up for two counts. Exhaling as you return to center, actively pull your belly button into your lower back.
  4. Drop to the left side and repeat. Make sure to keep your upper body planted on the floor as you twist.


Reps: 15 to 20 per side

Move 2: Side Plank

Hold the side plank for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat for three to five sets.

Planks are challenging to begin with, and doing them on your side means only two points of contact with the floor, creating even more fun and wobbles ahead.

  1. Plant your hand directly under your shoulder while keeping your body in a straight line and reach to the sky with your top hand as you lift your hips off the ground.
  2. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds.

Reps: 3 to 5 rounds

Read more: 11 Plank Variations for Rock-Solid Abs

Move 3: Reach for It

Bring your knee up to meet your elbow.
  1. Time to amp up that side plank: Extend your top arm overhead as you extend the top leg.
  2. Feel a slight arch through the side of the body as you extend long and balance.
  3. Once you have it, pull the knee up as you pull the elbow in with a deep exhale.
  4. Extend all the way back out overhead.

Reps: 15 to 20 per side

Move 4: Thread the Needle

From your high side plank, each the top arm under the body reaching for the wall behind.
  1. Staying in your high side plank, reach the top arm to the sky again.
  2. Keeping the hips in position, thread the arm through and under the body reaching for the wall behind you as you exhale and contractyour center.
  3. Extend back to the top.

Reps: 15 to 20 per side

Move 5: Drop It Low

Twist and drop your top elbow all the way to the bottom hand as you exhale.
  1. Take our side plank down to the elbow.
  2. Once off the ground, place your top hand behind your head, keeping your elbow wide.
  3. Twist and drop your top elbow all the way to the bottom hand as you exhale, returning to the starting position.

Reps: 15 to 20 per side

Read more: 19 Ab-Sculpting Pilates Moves You Can Do At Home

Move 6: Pike Variations

Lift the hips while pulling your waistband in, keeping your legs straight.
  1. Using a medium-size stability ball placed mid-shin, find a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  2. Keeping your legs straight, lift the hips to the sky as you exhale while pulling your waistband in.
  3. Once at the top of the pike, hold for two to three seconds, then return to starting position.

Reps: 15 to 20 per side


Test that balance by lifting one leg off the ball at a time at the top of the pike. Extend back out to straight and alternate legs as you go.