Intense Ab Workout For A Visible Six Pack 

May 12, 2021

By Troy Adashun


Is it your dream to one day have washboard abs? Or do you want a stronger core? No matter what your fitness goals are, you need a killer ab routine to achieve them. 

An intense ab workout targets more than your core; it attacks your back muscles, obliques, pelvic floor, and even your shoulders! Not sure where to start? Worry no more because this article has you covered. Read on to know more about exercises that will have you rocking a six-pack within months.

Intense Ab Workout - Warm-Up

The right way to perform an intense ab workout is to start with a couple of basic core exercises. These will help warm up the muscles in your abdomen and prepare your body for the burn.

Plank

Besides being a super simple warm-up, the plank is also one of the most effective. It engages the core and activates your muscles from head to toe. It even activates stabilizer muscles that may not always get attention.

Execution

a young man performs a plank exercise in a lower ab workout
  1. 1
    Keep your torso in a straight line for the starting position, extending from head to toe.
    Avoid sagging hip or shoulders and don't arch your back or hang your head.
  2. 2
    Hold for at least 60 seconds. If you find yourself losing form, drop the position and take a quick pause for a few seconds.

Make It Harder

  1. 1
    Consider adding arm and leg lifts.
  2. 2
    After the first 60 seconds, alternate between arm lifts every 15 seconds.
  3. 3
    Hold the lift for 10 seconds on each side, then repeat with your legs.
  4. 4
    Hold your leg at least 5-10 inches off the floor and maintain the plank position for 15 seconds.
    Repeat on the other side.

Side Plank

A warm-up is essentially incomplete without the side plank. It activates the lateral core stabilizers and charges up your obliques and traverses abdominis. Besides, the side plank stabilizes the knee and hip joints.

Execution

sportive young man doing side plank
  1. 1
    Position your torso in a straight line on one side from head to feet.
  2. 2
    Hold for 30-60 seconds.
  3. 3
    Switch to the other side and repeat.
  4. 4
    If you feel yourself losing balance, take a quick rest for a few seconds before continuing.

Make It Harder

  1. 1
    Lift your upper leg 5-10 inches above the lower one.
  2. 2
    Hold for 10 seconds, then lower your leg for 5 seconds before repeating.
  3. 3
    Remember to do this on both sides.

Intense Ab Workout - Balloon Method

Once you finish warming up, it’s time to get into the actual abs workout. This section will walk you through a routine called the Balloon Method, where each move uses an equally advanced technique. 

Remember that the details of the techniques and your form are equally important. Doing a core workout the right way guarantees you’ll progress as quickly as possible. These exercises are responsible for affecting muscle building’s three laws by developing joint flexibility, tendons, and the body’s core.

The upcoming intensity exercises are by no means easy. However, the outcome will be more than worth it. What’s more, this workout takes only 15 minutes, and you need to do it just 3 times a week!

1. WEIGHTED AB COCOONS

Target

Rectus Abdominus

Sets

3

Reps

10-12

Rest Time

max 60 sec

Weighted ab cocoons are an efficient exercise targeting the whole core, particularly the rectus abdominis. You need only perform this exercise in three sets of 10-12 reps. Don’t forget to take 60-second breaks in-between.

Check out the video so you can get down the perfect form for those chiseled abs!

Execution

Troy performing weighted ab cocoons on a bench at the gym
  1. 1
    Get yourself a straight or EZ bar and a flat bench.
  2. 2
    Lie down on the bench while extending your legs out and your arms behind your head.
  3. 3
    Push the weight behind you with a complete extension.
  4. 4
    Bring your knees toward your chest and raise your butt off the floor. Pull your arms in with the weight under your chest.
  5. 5
    Go back to the starting position. This time lift your legs far enough off the floor, so your lower back is in complete contact with the bench.
  6. 6
    Repeat for each rep in each set.

2. Air Sprints

Target

Lower abs, obliques

Sets

2

Reps

30 sec time under tension

Rest Time

30 sec

Air sprints are another advanced exercise attacking both the lower abs and obliques. One way to make this exercise even more intense is to drop the traditional method of counting reps. Instead, perform it under tension for 30 seconds for maximum metabolic stress. 

The best way to perform this exercise is in two sets of T30 with a 30-second rest in-between. Watch the video for more details on how to perfect air sprints!

Execution

Troy doing air sprints at the gym
  1. 1
    For the starting position, hang from a pull-up bar.
  2. 2
    Retract the scapula or the shoulder bone, and do a ⅓ pull-up.
  3. 3
    Hold this static position. Then start sprinting or running in the air.
  4. 4
    Ensure your abs contract every time your knee comes up.
  5. 5
    Keep this up under tension for at least 30-45 seconds.

3. Butterfly Crunch

Target

Abdominals

Sets

2

Reps

30 sec time under tension

Rest Time

30 sec

While this exercise does have the word in its name, it differs from the standard crunch. Targeting the abdominals, you need to perform this in a particular position that makes it more challenging. Once again, for this exercise, you can use T30 sets under tension instead of counting reps.

Two sets will work well enough for this exercise with a break of 30 seconds in-between. This short video will show you the perfect way to perform butterfly crunches, so take a look!

Execution

Troy doing butterfly crunches at the gym
  1. 1
    Start by sitting in a butterfly position on the floor; join your feet and keep your knees open.
  2. 2
    Bring your feet closer to your bottom and ensure your legs are as close to the floor as possible.
  3. 3
    Place your hands on your temple, across your chest, or extend them out.
  4. 4
    Brace your abs and lift your upper body.
  5. 5
    Perform a crunch with a smaller range of motion while bringing your arms in between your legs.
  6. 6
    Your head should be an extension of your spine. Your lower back should not leave the floor.
  7. 7
    Hold the position for a few seconds.
  8. 8
    Contract your abs and lower your upper body to the floor.

4. XOV Crunch

Target

Entire core

Sets

2

Reps

30 sec time under tension

Rest Time

30 sec

The final exercise in the Balloon Method workout for abs is the XOV Crunch. This one gets its name from the different positions you will be forming while you do it. You start with an X, move into an O, and finally make a V. While this may sound complex, it is quite the opposite and requires no equipment. Also, twisting and crunching your body into these three positions engages your entire core. 

This exercise, too, works better in two 30-second sets under tension with a half-minute break in-between. Watch the video to get a better idea of your form when performing this one.

Execution

Troy doing an XOV crunch at home
  1. 1
    Lie on the floor and make a wide X with your limbs.
  2. 2
    Follow this up with a crunch into an O-shape, bringing your legs toward the inside of your arms.
  3. 3
    Return to the beginning position. Perform another crunch but reach for your toes instead while keeping your arms between your legs.

Other Core Exercises To Try

The Balloon Method is very effective. That said, if you want to switch up your routine, here are a few other exercises that work your abs.

Medicine Ball Russian Twist Slam

The Russian Twist is an excellent exercise for an abs workout targeting the rectus abdominis and the obliques. Here's how you can perform it with a medicine ball:

Execution

young sportsman working out with a ball
  1. 1
    Lie down on your back while holding a medicine ball to your chest.
  2. 2
    Brace your core and raise your feet off the floor. Rest on your sit bones.
  3. 3
    Ensure you elevate your cheat and have a straight back. Then push the ball out six inches from your chest.
  4. 4
    Twist your body to the right by the torso and bounce the ball near your right hip.
  5. 5
    Repeat on the left side and keep alternating.
  6. 6
    Perform as many times as possible within half a minute. Repeat the circuit at least 2-3 times. Take a 5-second rest between each set.

Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch targets your rectus abdominis, obliques, and hips. So without a doubt, it is a fantastic addition to a core workout. Here’s how you can do it:

Execution

Bicycle Crunches
  1. 1
    Lean back on the floor and place your hands behind your ears.
  2. 2
    Keeps your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and raise both feet off the ground. Raise your head and shoulders off the floor as well.
  3. 3
    Start by bringing your right elbow toward your left knee while stretching your right leg out.
  4. 4
    Reverse the movement for the other side. Bring your left elbow to the right knee while extending your left leg. Continue to alternate.
  5. 5
    Perform as many reps as possible in half a minute. Repeat the set at least 2-3 times.
    Take a 5-second rest in-between each circuit.

Mountain Climber

The mountain climber is an exercise that should be part of your abs workout. After all, it works your core, your shoulders, hamstrings, triceps, and quads. Here’s how you can perform it:

Execution

young blond woman doing mountain climber exercise
  1. 1
    Get into a high plank position. Brace your core and place your hands right under your shoulders. Engage your core for stabilized hips.
  2. 2
    Push your right knee into your chest.
  3. 3
    Lower your right leg to the ground. Repeat the move with your left leg.
  4. 4
    Continue alternating. Also, pump your legs as quickly as possible to feel a good burn.
  5. 5
    Perform as many reps as you can in T30. Repeat for at least 2-3 sets. Rest for 5 seconds after each set.

The Cold Reality About Your Abs

Before you jump into the exercises, there’s something you need to understand. If you have over 15% body fat, your abs won’t see the light of day even if you do a million crunches. The simple reason being, core exercises have to do with building muscles. They have little to do with losing weight.

If you’re on a weight loss journey, remember that 75% of your fat loss boils down to diet. Unsure of how many calories you should be eating to get rid of the fat around your abs? Check out the free SuperHuman Calorie Calculator to make things that much simpler for you!

Now, you know that a core workout can only prepare your abs to look ripped once you lose the fat. However, there are a few other myths about these workouts:

  • An ab workout means performing 1000s of sit-ups and crunches.
  • You need to consume bland food every meal of every day.
  • Celebrity sold machines can give you a six-pack within ten minutes.
  • Abs need hours of cardio.

None of this is true. Stick to a healthy diet and workouts that promote fat loss like HIIT sprints instead.

Wrap Up

So there you have it! A common misconception about ab workouts is you need to give up on your favorite snacks or food entirely. In reality, though, the perfect balance of training and diet will have you hitting those body fitness goals in no time. 

The Balloon Method, in particular, will give you that six-pack while letting you have all the cheat meals you want! So try it out during your next workout.

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