7 Exercises to Build Lean Abs and Six-Pack

Forming abdominal muscles is not as easy as forming other body parts. You have to burn belly fat to make your stomach look slim, even six-pack. Therefore, it is important for you to do abdominal muscle exercises which also help burn belly fat.

Both men and women have to go the extra mile in building abdominal muscles. This is not impossible, as long as you do the right exercises and have a high commitment.

Mike Wunsch, a certified personal trainer as quoted from Men’s Health, said that many people are still wrong in doing exercises to strengthen their abdominal muscles.

Abdominal exercises, such as sit-ups and crunches, you often do to achieve strong core muscles and form six-pack abs, but this is a bad method.

Continuous sit-ups will not get maximum results in building abdominal muscles. This can even lead to spinal cord injury if you overdo it.

To do it properly and effectively, here are a number of abdominal muscle building exercises that you can do.

1. Plank crunch

Plank is an exercise that involves the entire core of the body. You train the front and back abs at the same time without the aid of any equipment.

This exercise also targets the rectus abdominis, obliques, and lower back muscles. This is a simple abdominal exercise that you can do anytime and anywhere.

In addition to the usual movements, you can do variations of the plank as follows.

  • Start in a regular plank position with your arms on the floor and make sure your posture is perfectly straight facing downwards.
  • Lift and bring your right knee forward towards your right elbow while tilting your body slightly to the right, then return to the original plank position.
  • Repeat this movement on the opposite side, bringing your left knee toward your left elbow and tilting your body slightly to the left.
  • Do up to 10 complete reps for the right and left sides of your body.

2. Side plank rotation

Plank movements may be an integral part of abdominal muscle training. Side plank rotation is a variation of the plank exercise with additional dynamic movements.

In addition to strengthening the abdominal muscles, this movement also increases the endurance of your arm and shoulder muscles at the same time.

You can do side plank rotation exercises through the following steps.

  • Lie on your right side with your right arm as a support.
  • Extend your legs so that your back is straight with your left foot resting on top of your right leg.
  • Turn your body toward the floor and lower your left arm under your body, then turn it outwards again to straighten your left arm up and back to its original position.
  • Do one set of 10 complete reps and repeat on the other side.

3. Cable rotation

You need to do cable rotation with the help of fitness equipment at the gym for maximum results.

This exercise specifically targets the obliques, which are on the sides of your body, making it great for players of golf, tennis, and other racquet sports.

To do this abdominal muscle exercise correctly, you can follow the steps below.

  • Stand holding the rope with your hands in front of your body, slightly below shoulder height.
  • Keep your arms still and straight by locking your stomach, then turn your upper body to the left while feeling the tension in the sides of your stomach.
  • After that, go back to the center and do it to the right side to return to the center again.
  • Work slowly to reach a set of 10 complete reps.

4. Bicycle crunch

Although regular crunches are less effective at targeting core muscles, other variations, such as the bicycle crunch, are effective enough to get the six-pack abs you want.

With this abdominal workout, you can target three main areas at the same time.

Combining regular crunches with circular motions to the right and left can target the obliques and lower abdominal muscles.

Bicycle crunch itself you can do with the following movements.

  • Lie on your back on the floor and place your hands on the back of your head.
  • Then, lift both legs and bend over about 90 degrees so that your body rests on the buttocks.
  • Slowly, do the movement like pedaling a bicycle by bringing the right elbow towards the left knee and the same on the other side.
  • Try to hold the crunch for a count of two on each side, so that you move more slowly and concentrate on the movement.

5. Cross crunch

Cross crunch is also a variation of crunch exercises for the abdominal muscles that you can do. This exercise is simple and safe because the body gets support from the floor.

With your feet off the ground, you can target your lower abdominal muscles. In addition, the twisting motion of the body also targets the obliques and rectus abdominis.

The following are the steps you must take in practicing cross crunches.

  • Lie on your back with your arms and legs diagonally out so that your body forms an “X” on the floor.
  • Keeping your arms and legs straight, then bring your right hand toward your left leg and your left hand toward your right leg alternately.
  • To get the most out of this abdominal exercise, lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor until the tips of your hands and feet are touching each other.
  • Do this movement slowly for one set or 10 complete reps.

6. Twisting sit-up

Instead of the usual sit-up exercises, twisting sit-ups involve twisting the body to the left and right which can train more muscles.

Twisting sit-ups are a great way to contract your obliques and increase their strength.

To exercise variations of sit-ups that strengthen the abdominal muscles, you can do the following steps.

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees slightly to a comfortable position, then place your hands on the back of your head.
  • Lift and bend your head, shoulders, upper and lower back off the floor, then tilt to the right until your right elbow is perpendicular to your knee.
  • Hold this position for five seconds and slowly return to the starting position, doing the opposite side as well.
  • Perform this movement as much as one set or 10 complete reps alternately.

7. Swiss-ball rollout

The Swiss-ball rollout has a movement similar to the ab wheel exercise, but it’s easier and safer to target your rectus abdominis and lower back muscles.

If you want to add another element, such as rolling the ball at a 45-degree angle to the left and right, this will simultaneously target the obliques.

Do this abdominal muscle exercise with a fitness ball through the following movements.

  • Kneel on the floor or exercise mat, then place your hands together and clench on the fitness ball.
  • To prevent knee injuries, you can add extra towels to your knees that serve as support in this exercise.
  • Keep your back straight and hold your stomach, then roll the ball forward as far as you can.
  • Hold for as long as your body is fully stretched, then pull your body back until the fitness ball returns to its starting position.
  • Do two sets of 10 rolling and pulling motions.

The various abdominal exercises above you can do easily at home. You need to balance it with cardio exercise to burn body fat more effectively.

Also, you don’t have to push yourself if you find it difficult the first time you try the moves. Do it slowly to avoid injury during exercise.

To get better, a personal trainer at the gym may be able to help determine an exercise pattern according to your needs.

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