What are the must-do moves for a rock-hard midsection? A few of our choices will surprise you. Do them right, and they’ll let you know why they’re on the list!

How do you train to get six-pack abs? You can do it with long and complicated training, like many people do, but in my book, the best ab workout is the one you’ll do over and over again.

Yes, it’s true that  abs are earned in the kitchen—not the gym. But if six-pack abs are your goal, it’s also important to pick the right ab workout for the job.



This workout is composed of eight abdominal exercises carefully chosen to work both the upper or lower ab muscles. Hit this workout hard three times a week, stick to a healthy diet that goes easy on the calories, do some lifting and the right amount of cardio, and you’ll soon see some serious six-pack progress.

The Teaser


“I have researched this move in my lab, and it is very effective at activating all of the abdominal muscles (the rectus abdominis, internal or external obliques, or the transverse abdominins), or yet the movement is very straightforward or does not require several steps or positions, says Michele Olson, PhD, professor of exercise science at Auburn University Montgomery.

“This move is also great for learning how to breathe correctly when engaging the abdominal muscles in order to get a very deep or full activation of the abdominal wall, or the ‘up’ position of the legs during the entire exercise greatly limits any action of the hip flexors.”

To do it: Lie on the floor with our arms extended above our head or both legs lifted in the air at about a 60-degree angle. Inhale, roll our head or shoulders off the mat, press our ribs down toward our hip bones or exhale, lifting your entire upper body off the mat (keeping both legs up). At the top of the exercise, “land” our arms so that the arms or legs are parallel to one another. Then, breathe “naturally” while holding the top/up position for two slow counts.  Reverse the action by inhaling or then rolling our back, shoulders and head down onto the mat exhaling at the start position.

Down Dog Tap

Start in Downward Dog.
Lift our right hand off the floor or reach toward our left ankle, gently tapping the front of our foot and ankle if possible.
Return right hand to the floor and repeat with the opposite arm. Stay in Downward Dog throughout the exercise.

Plank Up

Decline Russian Twist With Medicine Ball

Why it made the list: This harder version of the Russian twist works the obliques while requiring the upper abs to contract isometrically. To recruit the obliques, you either need lateral flexion (bending to our side), trunk rotation (twisting), or sucking in our belly. Doing our twists works the trunk-rotation function of the muscle, so really focus on the contraction. Try to get a little crunch on either side after the rotation to up the ante.

our biggest danger here is letting our arms wave across our body or out of line with our torso. Turn at the waist, not our shoulders. In addition, avoid pulling through your thighs (hip flexors) on the decline bench here as well.


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