The Six-Pack Workout That Challenges Your Upper, Lower And Side Abs

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To develop any muscle to its fullest growth potential, you need to move through a variety of angles and use different rep ranges – and your abs are no exception. Yes, you first must shift that spare tyre for them to show, but simply getting lean doesn’t mean you’ll have a solid and sculpted six-pack. For that you need to train your upper, lower and side abs both hard and smart, which is what this circuit session will do.

The first move of each tri-set works your upper abs, the second your lower abs, and the third your side abs (or obliques) to sculpt more defined muscles across your entire abdominal region. Focus on good form throughout and keep those abs engaged for the maximum muscle return.

How to do the workout

This session is made up of six moves, split into three tri-sets, which are mini circuits containing three different exercises. That means you’ll do moves 1A, 1B and 1C in order, sticking to the reps detailed and only resting after all the reps of the move 1C. You’ll do three circuits of the first tri-set, then move on to the second tri-set, in which you’ll repeat this pattern with moves 2A, 2B and 2C.

To help ensure you sculpt a hard six-pack faster, engage your abs before you start the first rep of each set. Starting with your target muscles activated means you’ll maintain better form during the set and so work your muscles harder.

Tri-Set 1

1A Knees-up crunch

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 0sec

Lie on your back with your fingers at your temples, your knees bent and your feet up. Engage your upper abs to raise your torso off the ground, then crunch up to meet your knees. Lower slowly back to the start, keeping tension on your abs throughout.

1B Reverse crunch

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 0sec

Lie flat on your back with your arms flat on the floor and knees bent. Use your lower abs to draw your knees in towards your chest, then raise your hips off the ground, Lower slowly back to the start, keeping your entire core engaged.

1C Diagonal mountain climber

Sets 3 Reps 12 each side Rest 2min

Start in a press-up position. Without letting your hips sag, draw one knee in and bring it across towards the opposite elbow. Return to the start, then repeat with your other leg. Keep reps fast but controlled.

Tri-Set 2

2A Gym ball dumbbell crunch reach

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 0sec

Lie on a gym ball holding a dumbbell in both hands with your arms straight. Engage your abs to raise your torso, then squeeze your upper abs to raise the weight higher. Pause, then lower back to the start.

2B Gym ball upper body Russian twist

Sets 3 Reps 12 each side Rest 0sec

Lie on a gym ball with your palms together and arms straight. Engage your core, then rotate your torso to one side, back to the start, then to the other. Make it harder by holding a dumbbell in both hands.

2C Gym ball decline plank with toe taps

Sets 3 Reps 12 each side Rest 2min

Start in a plank position with your feet on a gym ball. Keeping your core engaged and your hips up, lift one foot off the ball and lower it to touch the floor. Reverse the movement, then repeat with the other foot.