Best Exercises for Men’s Abs

Exercise is an important component of any healthy lifestyle. Focusing on strengthening the abdominal muscles not only makes you look great with your shirt off, there are also many health benefits as well. 

The abs are an essential part of core strength that keeps the body healthy and fit. Having strong ab muscles is good for general movement and trunk rotation. These muscles also provide strength and support to the rest of the body.

Exercises for Men’s Abs

There are countless ab exercises for men, and they all accomplish different things. The key is to identify what your goals are when working out your abs and do exercises that will help you achieve those goals.

Here are 12 time-tested ab exercises from beginner to advanced levels:

Beginner Abs Exercises

As with any new workout regimen, the key is to take it easy and slow at first, and then build up as your muscles get stronger. When starting to focus on your abs, it is best to do exercises that are low-impact. These four exercises do just that:

Beginner: High-tension plank.

  1. Lie face down on the ground, lift your upper body onto your forearms, and hold for 10 seconds.
  2. If you aren’t able to hold this position being on your feet, try with your knees.
  3. Perform three to four sets of 10-second holds.

Beginner: Deadbug.

  1. Lie on your back and bend your knees up to 90 degrees.
  2. Raise both arms to the ceiling.
  3. Keeping your lower back on the ground, slowly straighten and lower one leg at a time and touch the ground with your heel and raise back up.
  4. Perform 3 sets of four repetitions.

Beginner: Bear Crawl.

  1. Begin on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  2. Lift your knees an inch or two off the ground and look forward.
  3. Move forward at a comfortable pace using opposite arms and legs.
  4. Perform two sets of 30-second bursts.

Beginner: Loaded Carries.

  1. Pick up two kettlebells and let your arms hang by your side
  2. With your back straight, hinge at the hips, slightly bend your knees, and take five steps forward
  3. Lower kettlebells to the ground, turn around and walk five steps back
  4. Repeat eight to ten times

Continued

Intermediate Abs Exercises

As your stomach muscles begin to get used to working out, you can either increase the number of repetitions or length of time. The following four exercises, however, can add a nice variety to your abs workout:

Intermediate: Barbell Floor Wiper.

  1. Standing with your knees slightly bent, lift a medicine ball above your head and rise to your tiptoes.
  2. Throw the ball down to the ground, bending forward with your waist.
  3. Catch the ball on the bounce back up.
  4. Repeat eight to 10 times.

Intermediate: Side Jackknife.

  1. Lie on your side, head on the ground, and bottom arm outstretched in front of you. 
  2. With your other hand, touch your ear. 
  3. Lift your top leg up and meet it with your elbow.
  4. Do three sets of 25 lifts.

Intermediate: Cocoon.

  1. Lie on your back, legs straight, and arms above your head and on the ground.
  2. Lift your arms and head up while at the same time bringing your knees to meet them.
  3. Do three sets of 25 lifts.

Intermediate: Medicine Ball Sit-Up.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent pointing upwards.
  2. Hold a medicine ball above your head and do a sit-up.
  3. Do three sets of 25 lifts.

Advanced Abs Exercises

Now that you’ve strengthened the abs and feel solid around your core, you can take your exercise intensity up a notch with these ab-busting workouts:

Advanced: The Hollow Hold.

  1. Lie on your back, lift your legs and head slightly off the ground and hold for 10 seconds.
  2. Making sure your butt and lower back are touching the ground, raise your arms above your head and legs slightly higher and hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Bend your knees up to your stomach and hands towards the ceiling and hold for 10 seconds.
  4. Do three to four sets.

Advanced: The Corkscrew Hollow Rock.

  1. Lie on your back, lift your legs and head slightly off the ground and hold for 10 seconds.
  2. Making sure your butt and lower back stay touching the ground, raise your arms above your head and legs slightly higher, and hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Now, bring your left knee up towards your stomach and right elbow down to touch and hold for 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat step three but with the opposite knee and elbow combination.
  5. Do three to four sets.

Continued

Advanced: Superman Plank.

  1. Get in the plank position.
  2. Raise one arm off the ground, point it forward, and hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Repeat step two, but with the other arm.
  4. Do three to four sets.

Advanced: Dragon Flag.

  1. Lie on a workout bench and hold the end near your head with your hands.
  2. Slowly raise your outstretched legs to a 45-degree angle and hold. 
  3. Alternate kicking your legs as if you were swimming.
  4. Do three sets of 20 leg kicks.

Safety Considerations

Exercising is a great way to stay healthy and make you feel great. Exercise should not, however, hurt or cause pain. Before undertaking any workouts, be sure to understand where you are physically and what your body can and cannot take.

It is recommended that any new workout be done slowly and with caution until you are used to and comfortable with the movements and requirements of the exercise. Once you have that understanding, you can gradually build up to doing more repetitions, heavier weights, or longer time periods.

If you have any doubts about a workout, seek professional advice.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 05, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Harvard Health Publishing: “10 tips for exercising safely.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Core conditioning — It’s not just about abs.”

Mayo Clinic: “Core exercises: Why you should strengthen your core muscles.”

Men’s Health: “Abs Exercises:10 of the Best To Add to Your Workout.”

Men’s Health: “22 Workouts That Will Help Carve Six-Pack Abs.”

Men’s Journal: “The 10 Best Abs Workouts for Beginners.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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