Flat Abs for Men: Go-to Exercises
Want 6-pack abs? Here's how to get them.
Flat Abs Exercise: Traditional Crunch and Sit-up continued...
Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your hands loosely behind your head and spread your elbows out so that your shoulder blades squeeze together. Keeping this posture, contract your abdominal muscles, lifting your upper body without arching your back. The lower back should stay flat to the ground. The hips and legs should not move. Stop at the point where you can’t go any farther, hold it, and then slowly relax, returning to your starting position.
Get it right:
- Go slowly, and focus on good form. Doing crunches too fast could make your form sloppy and strain your back muscles.
- A set of 15-25 crunches or sit-ups is enough, Kraemer says. "I think the big mistake that people make is they try to do hundreds."
Flat Abs Exercise: Reverse Crunch
You can do the crunch in reverse by keeping your upper body flat on the ground while lifting your legs and lower torso, instead of the other way around.
Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Spread your arms out to the sides of your torso, palms down. Keep this posture while bringing your knees back and feet up so that your bent legs make a 90-degree angle. Keep your legs at that angle while you lift and roll your hips back toward your rib cage. Your upper body and head should stay flat on the ground, with your outstretched arms balancing the weight of your legs. Take it as far as it will go without moving your arms or upper body, hold the position briefly, then slowly let your legs down.
Get it right:
- Don’t let your knees wobble out of line with your hips. More of the effort focuses on the abs than related muscle groups when the legs are centered.
Flat Abs Exercise: Bicycle Maneuver
A study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) compared the effectiveness of various ab exercises to the traditional crunch. The bicycle maneuver stood out among the 13 exercises tested by researchers at the San Diego State University Biomechanics Lab. Researchers used electrodes to measure activity in the muscles of people exercising. Compared to the traditional crunch, the bicycle maneuver produced about two and a half times as much activity in the rectus abdominis, and nearly three times as much activity in the obliques.