Best Abs Training Workout Routine For The Ultimately Perfect 6 Pack

best workout for abs

So you’re looking for the best abs workout you can find? You’re looking for the kind of abs workout that will give you real results that you can measure and actually see? We’ve come up with a workout that is going to give even the toughest set of abs a really hard time and you’re definitely going to feel the burn after this abdominal workout. If you can stick to doing this workout maybe 2 or 3 times a week (with a rest day or two between each session) then you’ll be well on your way to having perfect abs.

The workout you’ll be doing here is based on the Tabata method or what is also called High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short. This basically means instead of labouring away on free weights or benches for hours your entire workout will be done in less than 20-minutes and you’ll have completed a workout that you can be proud and that will have worked you to the point of exhaustion in most cases. This form of exercise was created by Izumi Tabata in 1996 and basically mixes periods of very high workout intensity where you’re giving 100%+ of your training effort, with periods where you are literally at rest for anywhere from 10 – 30 seconds. The other neat thing about Tabata or HIIT training is that you need only do this workout 3-times per week to get the benefits of 5-gym sessions lasting approximately 1-hour each.

Warming Up

Unless you want to develop long-term injuries when you’re doing ab workout routines or workouts of any kind then it’s important to warm up before you start. Your warm-up doesn’t need to be too intense so keep it simple. Do yourself a favour though and don’t stretch before you warm-up simply because a “cold” stretch can cause as much damage to muscle as if you didn’t warm up at all.

Your warm-up can be kept simple by just jogging on the spot for 30-seconds and resting for 30-seconds. Then do jumping jacks/star jumps for 30-seconds and rest for 30 seconds afterwards. Now jog on the spot for 30-seconds again and rest for 30 seconds and finish off your warm-up with a 30-second set of jumping jacks/star jumps. Drink some water and towel off your face at this point if you need to.

Now it’s time to stretch and again you don’t need to go crazy on this because you’ll be stretching again when you’re cooling down after this abs workout routine. So let’s do a quick stretch starting at your neck and working our way downwards.

Tilt your head from side-to-side several times and then look over your left and right shoulders several times, alternating between left and right. Don’t snap your neck during these movements – just keep it nice and slow and gentle. Now, standing still, raise your shoulders up to your ears as if you’re shrugging to say “I don’t know” but keep your head perfectly still when you’re doing this. Now rotate your shoulders forwards as if you were drawing circles in the air beside you and then do the same stretch but backwards.

From here now just reach over to try and touch your eyes with your fingertips. If you can’t touch your toes that’s fine but just keep stretching until you can reach your knees, shins or ankles and once you feel the tension in your hamstring (the muscle at the back of your leg) then stop the stretch there, hold it for a count of 7 and slowly come back up into a standing position. And lastly just put your feet shoulder width apart and do some air squats – basically just squat down and lower your bum towards the floor and come back up again – don’t bounce when you’re doing these squats though – it should be a smooth movement from start to finish.

And now we can move onto the abs training itself and we’re going to take a look at the individual components of the ab work out you’re going to be using for the next several weeks. Remember that your goal is to do each of these exercises for 30-seconds and then rest for 30-seconds before you move onto the next exercise.

Plank

The easiest way to get into the correct position for a plank is to kneel down on the floor and get yourself into a military push-up position. This means that you are support all of your body weight on your hands/arms and on the tips of your toes. Even if you struggle to do one or two military-style push-ups there’s no point in doing a plank kneeling down. So from the military push-up position you need to stay on the tips of your toes but instead of resting all your weight on your hands you need to rest it on your elbows and forearms instead.

Now keeping your back straight, your bum down and your abs tight hold this position for as long as you can. Most people have pretty weak cores so you’ll probably find yourself struggling with a plank after about 15-seconds or so. Don’t overdo it so when you can’t hold the plank anymore bring your knees up to support yourself and sit up – don’t just collapse onto the floor.

For the Tabata training we’re doing here you need to hold the plank for at least 15-seconds to start off with but your ultimate goal, as part of this abs training, is to be able to hold this first plank for 30-seconds. The plank is one of the best ab exercises in existence by the way.

Mountain Climber

Once again put yourself into a military push-up position with your back straight, abs tight and balancing on the tips of your toes as if you were going to run a sprint race. Now from here what you want to do is rapidly bring your right knee up towards your stomach and then return it to the starting position and then repeat that movement with your left knee and keep alternating this movement. You can see why it’s called a “Mountain Climber” now because it literally looks like you’re climbing up a wall like Spiderman or maybe a ninja.

You should perform the mountain climber for the allocated time as quickly but as smoothly as you can. Again avoid doing really jerky movements here – the climbing movement should be fluid and straight to avoid injuries. This exercise is a critical part of any abs training program so don’t skip it even though it is a tough exercise.

Side Plank

Lay on your right-hand side with your right leg flat on the floor and your left leg either lying on top of your right leg or just in front of your right foot on the floor. Now with your right elbow placed directly underneath your right shoulder raise your body off the ground leaving a gap between your ribs and the floor. Once you’ve engaged in a side plank you’ll feel the tension in your obliques straight away and unless you have a very well developed core you’ll find yourself struggling to hold a side plank for any more than maybe 15-seconds but over time and with practice you’ll be doing a side plank for 30-seconds with almost no problem.

Crunches

Lie on your back with your knees tucked up near your bum and your hands behind your head, making sure that your feet are flat on the floor and if you’re exercising on a hard surface try to use an exercise mat if possible. Now with your hands behind your head raise your shoulders off the floor with your face pointing directly at the ceiling or sky and raise your shoulders forwards into a crunch. You should breathe out when you’re crunching and breathe in when you’re returning to your starting position. Never, ever rush a set of crunches because when you do you’ll wind up straining your neck, back or shoulders when you do.

Instead of focusing on doing 20 sloppy crunches in 30-seconds why not focus on doing 10 excellent crunches in the same 30-seconds. The slower the crunch the better the results you’ll get.

Kettlebell Swings

If you don’t have a kettlebell then don’t worry because you can improvise – all you need is a tin of paint or a grocery bag filled with a few tins of beans or a backpack with a few bottles of water in it. Women doing a kettlebell swing should start off with a weight of about 4Kg at first and men should start at between 6Kg and 8Kg. That sounds pretty light but once you’ve done a few sets of kettlebell swings they won’t feel light anymore.

Gripping either your kettlebell/weight in your hands stand with your feet a little over shoulder width apart and drop into a squat with the weight gripped with both hands but between your legs. Now swing the weight backwards towards your bum and as it swings back forwards straighten your knees and swing the kettlebell up to roughly chest height and then let it start to swing downwards. As the weight is swinging downwards make sure to bend your knees and drop back into the same “tall” squat you started off from.

Make sure you lock your knees on the upswing but don’t snap them into place – again all your exercise movements should be smooth. Can swinging a weight really work your abs? Ask any professional trainer and they’ll tell you the same thing we will – kettlebells rule!

Mason Twist

Either use the kettlebell or other weight from the last exercise or a medicine ball if you have one for this exercise – the Mason Twist. This exercise is performed sitting on the floor in an upright position with your legs in front of you and the weight you’re using placed to your left-hand side. Now slightly bend your knees in front of you and sit backwards so your back is at about a 45 degree angle to the floor. Now from this position grab the weight you’re using and swing it slowly and cleanly to the right-hand side of your body and touch it off the floor but don’t drop it there – you now have to perform the same motion back to the left-hand side of your body with the weight again. Just make sure that when you’re doing this exercise you’re actually twisting your upper body or torso to work with the exercise and that you’re not just swinging the weight from one side of your body to the other – the twist movement will help prevent back injury and is critical to working your core and again is an important part of any 6 pack abs workout.

Side Plank

Repeat as described above but this time for the left-hand side of your body. Do bear in mind that your obliques on one side of your body will be weaker than the other and most people will really struggle to do a plank on one side of their body versus the other.

Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch looks pretty easy but once you’ve done a few sets of them you’ll know how much they can hurt plus at this stage in your workout you’ll find that your abs are already aching a little bit from this ab work out. Fortunately getting into position for a reverse crunch is very easy – just lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Now from there you need to bring your knees up towards your bum while keeping your feet flat on the floor.

Now instead of moving forward into the crunch you barely raise your shoulders off the floor and now raise your knees up to your stomach or chest – depending on how fit or flexible you are. To help you keep good form for this exercise you can cross your legs at the ankle or shin to make sure that you’re getting the best possible crunch – having your knees a mile apart will give you almost no abdominal exercise benefit at all.

Kettlebell swings

You should be really feeling the workout by now and to make you work that bit harder you need to repeat the kettlebell exercise here. Just make sure that you’re drinking water and breathing all the way through this ab workout routine.

Bicycle crunch

Assume the same position as you would for a normal crunch with your back flat on the floor, your knees raised slightly near your bum and your hands behind your head. As the name suggests this exercise will look like you’re cycling lying down but you need to do it slowly for it to have maximum effect. Slowly raise your left knee towards your chest and as you do that raise your shoulders off the ground a little bit and point the tip of your right elbow towards your left kneecap. Now sit backwards and straighten out your left leg fully. Now repeat the same action but for the opposite knee and opposite arm and slowly keep repeating this action until it looks like you’re cycling.

Don’t pull at your neck when you’re doing this exercise and the more slowly you do the bicycle crunch the more effective it’s going to be.

Plank

Repeat the front facing plank as described above for as long as you can – at this point that might only be 10-seconds though which is fine.

Kettlebell swings

Repeat the kettlebell exercise as described above and again you’ll be feeling a lot more tired now so focus on just getting good reps instead of lots of reps.

Elevated plank

This is the same as the very first plank you did but instead of assuming a military push up position to start you’ll need to have your legs elevated behind you. A quick and easy way of doing this is to rest on your knees and your toes facing downwards on a kitchen chair and then prop yourself up on your forearms and elbows. You’re basically doing a normal plank but with your legs raised behind you – it puts more focus on your core because more of your body weight is now being worked on. As the very last exercise of this intense ab workout you’ll probably find that even doing this plank for 10-seconds is very tough work so don’t strain yourself to do any more than you can manage.

Cool Down

Allow yourself 3 – 5 minutes for your heart rate to return to normal and sip water while you’re doing this – don’t guzzle the water just sip it frequently. Just bear in mind you don’t want to cool down fully just yet but you do need to hydrate yourself gradually and over the next 2 or 3 hours try to drink at least 2-litres of filtered, clean water.

Stretch

Now all you need to do is run through the same stretching routine we started off with but hold each stretch for a count of 7 when you’re doing it – you want to make sure that any muscles you’ve used are relaxed at the end of the pretty awesome workout you’ve just done. A minute or two of stretching is all that you need.