What would you say if I told you there were only 2 ab exercises you need to do in order to get a six pack? In this video, I am going to show you the two ab exercises that should make up the bare minimum of your ab workouts. Not only are these two abs exercises great for building a six pack, but they will also help you develop a strong core.
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Some might tell you that you only need two exercises total in order to build a muscle group. I disagree. I don’t think anyone should be limited to picking just two exercises for a muscle group because each one often has multiple muscle heads as well as multiple functions that can be targeted individually through exercise selection.
In the case of the abdominal muscles with a wide variety of exercises, namely the rectus abdominis and the oblique muscles; you need to train them through not only their functions, but you also need to target the different areas of the core muscles themselves. Believe it or not, you can actually preferentially influence the upper and lower portion of the abdominal muscles based on where you initiate the movement from. Once you add in the fact that you need to include rotation to target the obliques, you can start to build your game plan from there.
Another thing to note is that instead of choosing just two exercises to build a six pack and strong core muscles, you will be choosing two movement patterns with 3 simple exercises (one for each ability level). Not every ab workout needs to include both of these movements, but a complete training plan for your back will at least build off them or include them at some point.
Keep in mind, any body fat that is covering your midsection will prevent the appearance of the 6 pack abs that you are looking to develop. All the most effective ab exercises in the world will never give you a six pack unless you have a solid nutrition plan to remove the belly fat covering your stomach.
That said, the first pattern is to initiate the movement of the abs from the bottom up, or moving the pelvis up towards the upper body. An example of this would be reverse crunches. However, in the pursuit of including the oblique muscles, you need to add rotation to this movement. We choose bottom-up rotation first as that is the more difficult of the two movements. This is because of the weight of your legs acting as extra resistance.
As a beginner, you will be performing a reverse corkscrew with your knees bent. To do this, you will perform the same movement as reverse crunches, but instead of bringing your knees straight to your chest, you will bring them up at an angle towards your side. An important note is that when you are bringing your knees towards your upper body, you want to clear your pelvis off the ground so that your butt no longer is contact with the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement but target your knees to the other side.
For intermediates, you will be performing the same exact exercise as the beginners, but instead you will be increasing the range of motion by keeping your legs straight instead of bending your knees. Remember to get that pelvis off the ground when your legs come towards your upper body.
The advanced trainees out there have a different exercise to do which is a variation of the hanging leg raise called the hanging corkscrew. Hanging from a pullup bar, you will raise your legs towards your upper body and at an angle, just like the beginners and intermediates. The concept of moving your pelvis along with your leg lifts is the same here as well.
The second pattern is to initiate the movement from the top of the rectus abdominis down towards your pelvis with rotation included. That means the traditional crunch as an abdominal exercise won’t cut it. As a beginner, lay on your back and put your hands behind your head with your elbows wide. Instead of crunching straight up, you want to crunch in a circular motion. Bring your weight to one shoulder blade, clear them off the ground, bring your weight to the opposite shoulder blade, then have both in contact with the ground before repeating. Keep your neck relaxed as pulling on it will increase the threat of neck strain.
The intermediate core exercise is the power over, similar to a traditional power up (a variation of the basic crunch) but instead of reaching straight up, you will reach with one arm over head to the opposite side, rotating your torso.
The advanced guys will perform a cable crunch pulldown. At a cable machine with a rope attached, kneel down facing away from it while holding the ends of the rope on either side of your head. Crunch down and at an angle to target the upper rectus abdominis muscles and the obliques. No longer relying on body weight, this exercise is guaranteed to increase your core strength, as long as you do it as I show you in the video.