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Three Ways to Sharpen Your Abs

Get six-pack abs for summer by adding these three weighted exercises to your workouts.
James Michelfelder and Therese Sommerseth

Failing to add weight to ab exercises and training your core with only one movement are two of the worst mistakes you can make on your quest for a six-pack. The abs do much more than just crunch your torso, and they need to be worked against resistance to activate all their muscle fibers. Below is a plan for training your abs three different ways, and much harder than you’re used to.

The Workout - Directions

Perform a different one of the exercises at right after each regular workout for three sessions per week. For the weighted decline Russian twist and the decline situp, begin with 20 total reps, taking as many sets as you need to complete them. Rest 30 seconds between sets. Each time you repeat a workout, try to add five total reps. Continue up to 50 reps. For the plank, hold the position for 60 seconds total, and work up to 250 seconds.

Why It Works

Most guys train abs with flexion (crunches). This workout targets the abs’ other functions as well, such as rotating the torso and stabilizing it. Adding weight builds muscle size to make your abs stand out.

1. Weighted Decline Russian Twist

> Set a bench to a 30-degree decline and secure your feet. Hold a weight plate (or medicine ball) at arm’s length. Now brace your core and twist to one side so your shoulders are turned 90 degrees. Twist the other way. That’s one rep.

2. Decline Situp

> Set up the bench the same way you did for the weighted decline Russians twist and lie back holding a weight plate behind your head. Tuck your chin to your chest and sit all the way up. You should feel your abs contracting in the top position.

3. Plank with feet elevated

> Get into pushup position, then rest your forearms on the floor. Raise your feet onto a bench or other surface behind you so that your body forms a slight decline. Keep your core braced and maintain a straight line with your body. Hold the position for as long as possible.

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