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

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: August 23, 2023
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Usually, people overcomplicate getting their abs visible by performing ridiculous ab exercises and diets, but it is very straightforward.

Use proper exercises targeting all your abdominal muscles, eat fewer calories than your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), and incorporate proper rest periods between workouts.

As a certified personal trainer with previous experience in getting clients to see their abs in less than 30 days, I compiled a list of the best abs exercises that target each abdominal muscle group and will get you the best results in the shortest time possible.

After reading the article, you will know exactly how to perform every exercise on the list and get your abs visible fast without ever overcomplicating the whole process again.

Quick Summary

  • The best ab workouts for men include V-ups, hollow holds, heel tap crunches, side jackknives, dragon flags, cable woodchoppers, sandbag sit-ups, hanging knee raise, barbell rollouts, Russian twists, dumbbell dead bugs, and many more.
  • The best way to make constant progress and get your abs visible as fast as possible is to use the principle of progressive overload, which increases the external resistance, reps, sets, or total training volume for each following workout.
  • To get your abs visible, you must align your ab workout regimen with a proper and efficient diet and supplementation plan that will support recovery and hypertrophy effects post-workout.

Men Ab Exercises and Workouts to Build a Chiselled Core

A man doing ab workouts at the gym

Most of the core exercises on the list, including some recommended abs exercises, were previously tested and researched for core engagement effects and capabilities in studies to show their effectiveness for building strong trunk musculature [1].

However, to get the most out of every workout regimen, you must incorporate the principle of progressive overload, which is simply increasing the total training volume for each following ab workout [2].

Following this principle has been shown to have the best impact on strength and hypertrophy training, which is a must for getting your abs bigger and more visible [3].

However, the key to a well-balanced training program is to always implement proper rest intervals intra workout, but also enough rest between two separate training sessions [4].

"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 your legs straight and arms extended over your head.
  2. Ensure your lumbar back is on the floor or at least maintain physiological lordosis throughout the exercise.
  3. Start the exercise by lifting your legs and arms simultaneously and trying to connect them to the highest point above your body.
  4. You don’t necessarily need to touch your feet with your hands but try to complete the full range of motion for better effects.
  5. Keep the core engaged during the whole exercise and slowly lower down with a controlled eccentric portion of the movement when you reach the top position.
  6. Repeat for 12 reps, 4 sets, and rest for 60 seconds between the 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 with your legs straight and arms extended over your head.
  2. Lift your legs from the floor so you create approximately a 30-degree angle between your legs and the floor.
  3. Lift your arms and upper body from the floor to create a similar angle.
  4. Hold that position for 30 seconds.
  5. Ensure your core is engaged during the whole movement. Otherwise, your lower back will suffer, and you will place unnecessary pressure on vertebrae and may even injure yourself.
  6. Rest for 60 seconds, and repeat for three more 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, and keep your feet on the floor. The angle between your knees should be around 90 degrees.
  2. Keep your arms straight on the sides of your body so they look in the direction of your feet.
  3. Start the exercise by performing a crunch with your upper body and sliding your hands across the floor to tap your heels.
  4. When your reach the top position where your tap your heels, contract your muscles harder and hold that position for 1 second-isometric contraction.
  5. Reverse the motion by lowering your body to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for 15 reps, 4 sets, and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.

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. Assume a lying position on your right side, extend your legs, your right elbow on the floor for stability and support, and your left hand behind your head.
  2. Start the exercise by lifting your torso upwards, i.e., performing the left lateral flexion with your trunk.
  3. At the same time, raise your left leg from the floor and try 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 change the sides.
  6. Do 4 sets and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.

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. Assume a lying position on your back in front of the squat rack or some stable pole where you can grip it with your hands over your head.
  2. Grip the pole with your hands over your head and lift your lower body towards the pole.
  3. Slowly lower your body downward and stop where you feel comfortable enough to hold that position for an extended period.
  4. Try to hold the flag position for at least 10 seconds and then rest for 60 seconds or more.
  5. Repeat for a couple of sets, depending on your fitness and experience level, without compromising the technique and form of the exercise.

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 with sufficient weight to perform 6 rotations for each side.
  2. Hold the attachment, step back for enough space, and position your body in line with the cable trajectory. Your frontal plane, which is the line that divides your body on front and back, should be in line with the cable.
  3. Extend the cable from your chest outward and straight.
  4. Start the exercise by rotating the cable on the side of your body with slight modification in your toe position to avoid injuring your knee ligaments.
  5. Return to the starting position slowly and repeat for 5 more reps.
  6. Repeat for the opposition side.
  7. Complete 4 sets with 90 seconds of rest between the sets.

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. Assume a lying position on your back with your knees and hips bent. The angle between your knees should be around 90 degrees, and your feet should be firmly on the ground.
  2. Hold the sandbag in the projection of your chest with your elbows fully extended.
  3. Start the exercise by performing a regular sit-up motion. As you transition from the starting to the top position, you will naturally keep extending your arms over your head. The sandbag should be fully extended over your head in the top position.
  4. Reverse the motion by following the same movement pattern.
  5. Repeat for 12 reps, 4 sets, and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.

Also Read: Do Sit-Ups Burn Belly Fat

8. Hanging Leg Raise

Hanging leg raises are great for exercising your lower abdominal muscles due to the starting hanging position. The following guide will help you do hanging leg raises properly in order to maximize their benefits and avoid injury.

How to Perform Hanging Leg Raises

  1. Assume a hanging position on the pull-up bar with your body fully extended.
  2. Ensure your legs are fully extended or your knees and hips bent for 90 degrees, depending on your fitness level. If you can’t lift your legs in the extended position, bend them so you only lift your knees.
  3. Start the exercise by lifting your legs up towards your upper body and pull-up the bar.
  4. When you reach maxim flexion in your hip, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 10 reps, 3 sets, and rest for 60 seconds between the 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 and place the loaded barbell with the lift weight in front of your body.
  2. Take a pronated grip on the barbell around shoulder-width apart.
  3. Start the exercise by rolling out in front by extending your body.
  4. Ensure your core is engaged during the movement; otherwise, your lower back will drop, and you may injure yourself.
  5. Roll out as long as your lower back is fixed and doesn’t move at all.
  6. When you reach the bottom position, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat for 12 reps, 3 sets, and rest for as much as needed between the 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


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.


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