Ask most men what body part they most want to improve, and the abs will feature pretty high on the list. But beyond basic aesthetics, a strong midsection is essential for both athletic performance and everyday health.
Your abdominals are a collection of crucial postural muscles. The group also assists with breathing, stabilising the torso during exercise, and protecting your internal organs from impact.
When people talk about the ‘abs’, they’re often referring to the rectus abdominis, a paired muscle that runs vertically on either side of the front of your abdomen, separated down the middle by a band of connective tissue called the linea alba, or ‘white line’. It’s that, along with those that run horizontally across the muscle group, that create the distinct sections of a six-pack.
Heavy compound lifts – squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc. – are amond the best moves for building strength in your abs, because they require your core to work extra hard to stabilise your upper body and transfer power between your legs and your torso.
However, the abs are like every other muscle group in that they also need to be targeted directly, from a variety of angles, to effectively elicit maximum growth. So while this workout from PT and fitness model Bradley Simmonds – and targeted bodyweight abs sessions like it – should not be used as a replacement for the bread-and-butter compound stuff, it will hit your abs more directly, helping to carve a rock-solid set of six.
Complete each exercise for 40 seconds, resting for 20 seconds between moves. Once one round is complete, have a 60-second breather, then go again twice more, for three total rounds.
Quick bodyweight abs workout
1a. Cross Climber
- Get into a high plank positing, ensuring your core is tight, back is straight, hands are underneath the shoulders and your head is in neutral position.
- Bring one knee up towards your chest and twist towards the opposing elbow, contracting the core, then return the leg to the starting position.
- Maintain your strong plank position as you do the same with the other leg.
- Continue alternating legs.
1b. Toe Touch Pike
- Begin in a high plank position, keeping your core strong and tight.
- Now ush your hips up and back into a downward dog position, while tapping one hand onto the toes of the opposite foot.
- Return to the strong high plank position, then repeat on the other side.
- Continue alternating.
1c. Side Plank
- Lie on your side, with your body fully extended.
- Once comfortable, lift your body off the ground and balance your weight on your forearm and side of your foot.
- Raise your opposite arm into the air and keep your body in a straight line.
- Change sides after the 40 seconds, then repeat.
1d. V Crunch
- Lie on your back and place your hands either side of your head.
- Raise both your legs and your torso at the same time, bending your knees as you crunch.
- Now lower both in unison, but make sure you don’t let your back or feet touch the floor, to keep the core engaged.
1e. Bicycle Crunch
- Lie on your back, with hands held behind your head.
- Bring your knees up, with shins parallel to the floor.
- Straighten your left leg out and turn your upper body to the right, bringing your left elbow towards your right knee.
- Return to the centre, with both knees bent and elbows wide.
- Repeat on the other side.
1f. Flutter Kick
- Start by lying on the ground, with your lower back pressed flat into the floor, then place your hands to your sides.
- Extend both legs and, once your core is engaged, alternate raising your legs up and down in a controlled manner.
- Keep your legs off the floor for the full 40 seconds.
Bradley Simmonds’ Get It Done training app is currently available online at getitdone.fitness and via app on iOS, Android, and Apple TV. Subscriptions start at £22 per month.