Abs are Made in the Gym

Photo: Hanging Leg Raise Featuring Steel Clothing Women’s Pink Crop Box Tank
Photographer: Jamie Campbell - Campbell Media
Author: Vanessa Leigh Kurtzman - ISSA Certified Fitness Coach & Trainer

Abs are made in the kitchen right? Wrong. It takes more than grilled chicken, steamed green beans and sweet potatoes to give you the chiseled six pack you desire. 

Diet and cardio are a large contributor to having a ripped mid-section, however to achieve a full and conditioned core you must train your abdominal muscles to grow. The benefits of training abs are aesthetically pleasing and are an important part of any fitness program. Strong abdominal muscles improve balance and stability specifically connecting to your pelvis, hips and lower back. This will improve physical performance within all of your workouts.

Training your abdominal muscles should be similar to training your other muscle groups. Train them 1-3 days per week with rest days in between.

Hanging Leg Raises / Oblique Twist Crunch (pictured in photo above) - 3 sets of 15-20 reps

  • Hang from a chin-up bar with arms at a wide to medium grip, legs hanging straight down *Optional - connect ab slings/straps to bar
  • Raise legs to torso, squeeze and repeat
  • For oblique twists, raise legs to torso with knees facing opposite elbow, squeeze and repeat on opposite side

Plank - 30 seconds-2 minutes depending on fitness level

  • Get in push-up position with forearms on floor
  • Balance on toes and keep core tight and back flat
  • Advanced Movement - add a stability ball or medicine ball under feet

Cable Rope Crunch - 3 sets of 20 reps

  • Connect rope attachment to cable
  • Kneel in front of cables holding rope with both hands overhead, torso in upright position
  • Flex downwards bringing rib cage to legs while pulling cable down 
  • Squeeze and slowly return to starting position

Plate Twist 3 sets of 20 (10 per side)

  • Sit on the ground holding a weighted plate at chest level, leaning back at a 45 degree angle
  • Bend knees, raise legs and cross angles 
  • Rotate your body alternating sides, keeping plate at chest level & aiming to touch plate to the ground

Crunch with Leg Raise - 3 sets of 15 per side

  • Lie on back with both arms straight overhead on floor
  • Straighten left leg and keep right knee bent with foot on the floor
  • Raise left leg up with toes pointing to the sky, while crunching forward with upper body
  • Aim to touch toes of left foot and hold for 1-2 seconds and lower
  • Repeat on opposite side

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