Best Ab Workouts for Men: Chiseled Six-Pack Guide (Revealed)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
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As a certified personal trainer with extensive experience, I have assisted numerous clients in achieving toned and sculpted abs within a span of less than 30 days.

Recognizing the importance of targeting all the muscles in your abdominal region for the coveted chiseled 6-pack, I conducted thorough research and consulted with fellow experts to identify the most effective ab exercises.

I have compiled these exercises in this article, providing a step-by-step guide on how to perform them.

Quick Summary

  • The best ab workouts for men include V-ups, hollow holds, heel tap crunches, cable woodchoppers, and Russian twists.
  • The best way to make constant progress and get your abs visible as fast as possible is to use the principle of progressive overload.
  • As per the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the bicycle crunch is more effective in strengthening the muscles at the front of the abdomen compared to exercises like the captain's chair, crunches, and the ab roller.
  • As a fitness trainer, achieving visible abs quickly is possible by aligning your workout routine with a balanced diet and an effective supplementation plan.

Men Ab Workouts for a Chiseled Six-Pack

A man doing ab workouts at the gym

Our team evaluated the core exercises on the list, including recommended abs exercises, to assess their impact on core engagement and effectiveness, supported by the National Institute of Health Research, for building strong musculature [1].

"Obtaining a ripped six-pack requires a combination of hard training, a dialed-in diet, and, to some degree, good genetics. If someone is ripped, it almost always means that they’ve put in some sweat equity to get there. What a six-pack is not a sign of, however, is strength. Looking great is one thing, but nobody wants to fold like a deck chair under a loaded barbell."

- Shane McLean, Certified Personal Trainer

1. V-Ups

A person doing V-up workouts at the gym

V-ups are a great ab exercise that will target both upper and lower abs and your hip flexors during the whole range of motion.

How to Perform V-Ups:

  1. Lie on the floor with legs straight and arms extended overhead.
  2. Maintain your lumbar back on the floor or sustain physiological lordosis throughout.
  3. Lift legs and arms simultaneously towards the highest point above your body, aiming for a full range of motion without necessarily touching your feet with your hands.
  4. Engage your core throughout and lower down slowly in a controlled manner from the top position.
  5. Complete 12 reps for 4 sets, resting for 60 seconds between sets.

2. Hollow Holds

Hollow holds is an advanced isometric ab workout exercise that will challenge your core strength and endurance by keeping the body in a fixed position for a prolonged period.

How to Perform Hollow Holds:

  1. Lie on the floor, extending your legs straight and arms overhead.
  2. Lift legs and upper body to create a 30-degree angle with the floor.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds, ensuring constant core engagement to avoid strain on the lower back and prevent injury.
  4. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat for three additional sets.

3. Heel Tap Crunches

A person doing heel tap crunches at the gym

Heel tap crunches are excellent for exercising your rectus abdominis and oblique muscles.

How to Perform Heel Tap Crunches:

  1. Lie on the floor with your knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle, keeping your feet on the floor.
  2. Extend your arms straight on either side, pointing towards your feet.
  3. Initiate a crunch by sliding your hands across the floor to tap your heels at the top position.
  4. Contract your muscles harder, holding the position for a one-second isometric contraction.
  5. Reverse the motion by lowering your body to return to the starting position.
  6. Complete 15 reps for 4 sets, resting for 90 seconds between each set.

Related: How To Perform Heel Touches Correctly

4. Side Jackknife

Side jackknives are excellent for developing external and internal oblique muscles and will challenge your lateral flexion strength and endurance.

How to Perform Side Jackknives:

  1. Lie on your right side with legs extended, using your right elbow on the floor for stability and support, and placing your left hand behind your head.
  2. Lift your torso, performing left lateral flexion.
  3. Simultaneously raise your left leg, aiming to connect your left elbow with the upper portion of your leg.
  4. Hold the top position for one second and return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 12 reps, then switch sides.
  6. Complete 4 sets, resting for 90 seconds between each set.

5. Dragon Flag

A person doing dragon flag workouts

The dragon flag is one of the most advanced ab exercises requiring substantial core strength.

How to Perform a Dragon Flag:

  1. Lie on your back in front of a stable pole or squat rack.
  2. Grip the pole with your hands over your head and lift your lower body towards it.
  3. Slowly lower your body to a comfortable position for an extended hold.
  4. Aim to hold the flag position for at least 10 seconds.
  5. Rest for 60 seconds or more.
  6. Repeat for several sets, considering your fitness and experience level, maintaining proper technique and form.

6. Cable Woodchopper

Cable woodchopper is a rotational strength ab exercise preferably used by athletes, but all the benefits of the exercise can be achieved for regular gym goers too.

How to Perform a Cable Woodchopper:

  1. Load the cable machine for 6 rotations on each side.
  2. Hold the attachment and step back, aligning your body with the cable trajectory.
  3. Extend the cable straight from your chest.
  4. Rotate the cable on the side of your body with a slight toe adjustment to protect your knee ligaments.
  5. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 5 additional reps.
  6. Switch to the opposite side.
  7. Complete 4 sets, resting for 90 seconds between each set.

7. Sandbag Sit-up

A person doing a sandbag sit-up

Sandbag sit-up is excellent for targeting your rectus abdominis muscle. It is an advanced variation of the regular bodyweight sit-up exercise.

How to Perform a Sandbag Sit-up:

  1. Lie on your back with knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle, feet firmly on the ground.
  2. Hold the sandbag at chest level with fully extended elbows.
  3. Initiate a regular sit-up motion.
  4. As you move from start to the top position, extend your arms over your head.
  5. Fully extend the sandbag over your head at the top.
  6. Reverse the motion with the same movement pattern.
  7. Complete 12 reps for 4 sets, resting for 90 seconds between sets.

Also Read: Do Sit-Ups Burn Belly Fat

8. Hanging Leg Raise

Hanging leg raises effectively target your lower abdominal muscles. This guide ensures proper execution for maximum benefits and injury prevention.

How to Perform Hanging Leg Raises:

  1. Hang from a pull-up bar with your body fully extended.
  2. Keep your legs fully extended or bend your knees and hips to 90 degrees based on your fitness level. If needed, lift only your knees.
  3. Lift your legs towards your upper body, pulling up on the bar.
  4. Reverse the motion when your hips reach maximum flexion to return to the starting position.
  5. Complete 10 reps for 3 sets, resting for 60 seconds between sets.

9. Barbell Roll Outs

A person doing barbell roll outs

Rollout can be done with the wheel, barbells, and some other equipment such as TRX, and they are extremely difficult core exercises. Barbell rollouts will challenge your entire core strength.

How to Perform Barbell Rollouts:

  1. Start from the kneeling position with a loaded barbell in front of you.
  2. Take a pronated grip on the barbell, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Roll out by extending your body, ensuring engaged core muscles to prevent lower back strain.
  4. Extend as far as your lower back remains fixed.
  5. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  6. Complete 12 reps for 3 sets, resting as needed between sets.

"The ab rollout is a slightly tougher core exercise, and without proper progressions can actually increase injury to areas like the lower back. Once an athlete conquers the base level of strength and form needed for this movement, then I see multiple reasons into why it could be beneficial."

- Jake Boly, Certified Personal Trainer

Key Principles on Effective Ab Workout

According to the National Institute of Health, to optimize every workout, integrate the principle of progressive overload, meaning an increase in total training volume with each subsequent ab workout [2].

This approach has demonstrated the most significant impact on strength and hypertrophy training, essential for achieving larger and more visible abs, as per the same research institute [3].

In my training experience, it's crucial to include adequate rest intervals within each workout and ensure sufficient rest between separate training sessions, as supported by research from the International Journal of Exercise Science [4].

FAQs

Which Is the Most Effective Ab Exercise?

The weighted overhead crunch is the most effective ab exercise. It will effectively make the most significant hypertrophy improvements on your ab muscles since you will need to lift your upper body with added resistance.

How Can a Man Get Abs Fast?

A man can get abs fast by performing ab exercises regularly and following a healthy diet with a proper macronutrient ratio. The ab workout should include the best ab exercises to induce maximal hypertrophy effects and build a strong core.

Can I Do Abs Everyday?

Yes, men can do abs every day. However, it would be better to allow at least 24-48h rest before exercising the same core muscles again since you want to allow proper recovery from the last abs workout before starting the new one.

Do Planks Give You Abs?

Yes, planks give you abs. However, you should also pick ab exercises for men targeting internal and external obliques in a single abs workout circuit to get the best possible results.

At What Bodyfat Do Abs Show?

Abs will already show below 14% body fat. However, low body fat percentages such as 10 and below will significantly increase the visibility of your lower and upper abs.

How Can Men Get Abs Visible as Fast as Possible?

You can get abs visible as fast as possible by following a proper ab exercises workout regimen, eating a healthy diet, and consuming high-quality fat burner supplements.

Suppose you program your ab workouts properly and follow a healthy diet with a proper macronutrient ratio. In that case, the only thing left that will significantly help you get your abs visible is a fat burner.

Contrary to what many people believe, fat burners can be useful when you exercise regularly and have a healthy diet, and they can give you that extra boost when it comes to burning your belly fat, but generally, the fat across your whole body.

Read our guide on the best fat burners for men to pick a high-quality supplement product that will suit your personal goals and needs the best.

Let me know your favorite ab workout for men and why.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7345922/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215195/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6950543/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6719818/
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About The Author

Senior Coach
Connor Sellers holds a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from Rutgers University He is an author and personal trainer with the mission to inspire people to relentlessly pursue their fitness and lifestyle goals. He mantra is that staying fit has an overall positive effect on one’s body, mind, and spirit.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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