So you want abs: A guide

If you’ve been reading the other posts, you know what this is about. This time, a couple alternates are provided for those who may have back injuries. They also work as introductory exercises if you’re just starting your fitness journey.

Twist as you come up, touching your elbow to opposite knee.

Oblique ups

If there’s one way to sum these up, it’s #Wrecked. The trick for building your body fast is the same, no matter what: You do something really hard. For abdominal exercises, you won’t find anything much more difficult than this move. You’ll need a decline bench or GHD machine and medicine balls or weight plates.

Then lower back down and twist the other way.

Lock your feet in and all the way down on the bench, holding the weight (or none, if you’re just starting) at your chest. Use your abs to raise yourself up and twist so your elbow touches your opposite knee. Go back down and do the same with the other elbow. Aim for 5-15 reps per side (10-30 total).

If you have lower back issues: Do hanging twisted knee raises, instead.

Try to keep your back relatively straight, until you touch your feet to the bar. The slower you go, the more difficult the movement.

Dragon flags

A favorite of Bruce Lee, dragon flags work a lot of stabilizers, in addition to your abs. They test your concentration and upper body.

Find a pole or low railing. Lay with your back on the ground and grip the pole with your arms above your ahead.

If you have lower back issues: Do medicine ball or ab wheel rollers, instead.

Keep your arms pointed skyward throughout the movement.

Weighted decline sit-ups

This is a derivative of a move Usain Bolt implements in his training. Hold the weight with your arms vertical, and keep them at that angle throughout the move. You can easily use this move as a superset after oblique-ups, and use slower, controlled movements to feel your abs burn.

Now, these are moves that will give you abdominal (and really, overall core) strength. To maximize that, it’s imperative that you go through the entire range of motion. If you don’t, the rep doesn’t count. However, if you’re wanting that eight-pack, you’ve got another obstacle: body fat. The old saying goes, “abs are made in the gym, but revealed in the kitchen.” Your abs will probably start peaking out with just these exercises, but if you’re seeking that washboard separation, you’ll need to alter your diet and get your body fat down around 10-15%.


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