It is important to remember when trying to build six-pack abs that you must fight the battle on two fronts. You must build up your abdominal muscles themselves, and you must burn off the layer of fat that may be covering them. You may have very strong abs, but when they are covered by fat, this is not readily apparent. In addition to ab-building exercises like the ones listed below, fat-burning exercises such as running, biking and swimming will help emphasize the results of your hard work.
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Lie back on a decline bench set to the maximum angle with your feet secured. Hold a weight on your chest — it may be easier and safer to have a partner hand the weight to you after you are comfortably positioned on the bench. This weight can be a dumbbell, medicine ball, flat plate or kettlebell. While holding the weight firmly in place on your chest, and keeping your stomach and lower back firm, perform a full situp until your chest is near your knees. Lie back down in controlled, gradual motion, then repeat. Make sure that you do not allow the weight on your chest to gradually move down toward your stomach, or the strengthening effects of the exercise will be significantly lessened.
Resistance Russian Twists
Resistance Russian twists are also best performed on a decline bench. Begin in the same position as if you were about to do resistance situps. Start doing a situp with the weight held securely on your chest, then stop your upward motion and hold yourself with your torso at about a 90-degree angle to the bench. Rotate your upper body rapidly and smoothly from your left to your right, facing to one side and then the other. Be careful not to jerk your body, turn it too far or allow the weight to slip during the motion, because these can all increase the potential for injury.
Resistance Leg Raises
Lie flat on the ground on a pad or mat with your legs straight in front of you. Place your hands underneath your butt with your palms on the ground to elevate your hips slightly on the ground. Grip a medicine ball between your ankles, then raise your feet off the ground with your knees straight until your legs form an angle of more than 45 degrees with the ground. Lower your legs until the medicine ball is about an inch off the ground, then repeat.
Sit on the floor so that you are balanced with your legs partially extended and your back at approximately a 45-degree angle from the ground. Hold a weight between your hands, either a dumbbell, kettlebell or small medicine ball. Pass the weight between your legs and under one knee, then lean back, straighten your legs, and reach back with both hands over your head until the weight is an inch or two off the ground.Bring the weight back to your chest while returning to your starting position. Pass the weight between your legs again, this time handing it underneath the other leg to complete the figure-eight motion. Continue the entire process, alternating legs on each repetition.
Tips for Six Pack Success
Keep in mind that these are advanced exercises. If you're new to exercise, spend a few weeks performing some easier ab exercises, like crunches, before starting this routine. Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.