These moves are proven to make you go from soft to shredded.
Christina Simonetti and MEN'S FITNESS Editors 1 / 26
First, a quick physiology lesson: Your rectus abdominis is really one, long muscle that includes both your "upper" and "lower" abs. So, there are no exercises that explicitly isolate either half individually (even though you may "feel the burn" more so in one area than other). Still, there are things you can do to really make that lower area pop, says Don Saladino, CPT, owner of Drive 495.
Number 1, diet is key: remember that training your core muscles alone simply isn’t enough—you need to have discipline in the kitchen, too. (Here are the best foods to expose your abs.)
Second, switching up your routine by shocking your core with new exercises will help eliminate your love handles and define those elusive sex-lines.
Last, work in exercises that attack your rectus abdominis and obliques simultaneously for good measure (that V-line is where these two muscles meet).
Here are 25 moves, curated by Men's Fitness Training Director Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S., to add in to your routine.
Lie on your back, extending one leg, while bringing the opposite knee toward your chest. With your hands behind your head, touch your opposite elbow to the close knee. Twist your body and touch the other elbow to your other knee.
Get into a pushup position with your hands at shoulder-width. Your body should form a straight line. Keeping your core tight, take small steps with your hands and feet so you move across the floor like an alligator. Go until you feel your shoulders are about to give out.
Place sliders underneath each foot. Then get into a plank position with your forearms planted on the floor at shoulder-width, your body raised, and in a straight line. Now, brace your core, and, with your forearms still planted in the floor, begin sliding your whole body forward and back.
Set a barbell on a power rack at about shoulder height (if you don’t have a rack, clean it to your shoulders). Grasp the bar with hands at shoulder width and raise your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Take the bar out of the rack and let it rest on your fingertips—as long as your elbows stay up, you’ll be able to balance the bar. Step back and set your feet at shoulder-width with toes turned out slightly. Squat as low as you can without losing the arch in your lower back.
Lie on the floor and hold onto a bench or the legs of a heavy chair for support. Keep your legs straight and raise them up until they’re vertical. Lower back down, but stop just short of the floor to keep tension on your abs before the next rep.
Get into pushup position with your toes on the ball. Bend your hips and roll the ball toward you, lifting your hips upwards. Roll back so your body is straight again and extend your spine, then roll the ball up your legs so your body forms a straight line with arms extended overhead but hands still on the floor. You should look like Superman flying downward. That’s one rep. Pull with your lats to return to the pushup position and begin the next rep.
Place your feet in the foot cradles of the suspension trainer and get into pushup position with your hands on the floor. Drive one knee to your chest while the other leg remains extended. Now drive the opposite leg to your chest while you extend the other back. Continue so it looks like you’re running in place.
Lie on your back on the floor and wrap the band around the arches of your feet. Cross the ends of the band over each other to make an “X” and grasp the ends with opposite hands. Bend your hips and knees so that your knees are near your chest and then crunch your torso off the floor. Extend your legs while you raise your arms overhead—keep your shoulder blades off the floor. That’s one rep.
Lie on your back on the floor holding the ball with both hands behind your head. Extend you legs. Brace your abs and sit all the way up. Raise your legs simultaneously and reach for your toes with the ball. Your body should form a V shape at the top.
Lie on your back on the floor and hold the ball between your ankles. Extend your arms behind your head. Sit up while raising your legs simultaneously and pass the ball from your legs to your hands. Go back down to the floor and repeat, passing the ball from your hands to your legs. Each pass is one rep.
Lie on the floor holding an empty, or lightly loaded, bar over your chest as in the top of a bench press. Your legs should be extended on the floor in front of you. Perform a situp, raising your torso until it’s vertical. Keep the bar over your head, so it drifts back to an overhead press position at the top of the situp.
Hold the ball with both hands in front of your chest and sit on the floor. Anchor your feet under something sturdy for support, and lie back on the floor a few feet away from a brick or concrete wall. Explosively sit up and throw the ball into the wall and then catch it on the rebound. If you have a partner, you can throw the ball to him instead and let him throw it back.
Sit on a bench and squeeze the medicine ball between your feet. Extend and elevate your legs out in front of you and extend your torso so that your body forms a straight line. Hold on to the bench for support. Crunch your torso forward and bring your knees to your chest.
Set an adjustable cable pulley to shoulder level (or attach a band to a sturdy object) and grasp the handle with both hands. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, perpendicular to the anchor point, and arms extended, far enough away from the machine so there’s tension on the cable. Twist away from the machine as if you were chopping into a tree. Keep your feet stationary.
Lie back on the ball with feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. Your lower back should be supported by the ball. Place your hands behind your ears and tuck your chin. Curl your body up off the ball until you’re sitting up.
Kneel on the floor and hold an ab wheel beneath your shoulders. Brace your abs and roll the wheel forward until you feel you’re about to lose tension in your core and your hips might sag. Roll yourself back to start. Do as many reps as you can with perfect form and end the set when you think you might break form.