Core Exercises for Six Pack Abs

The Best Abs Workout You've Never Done

Use this cutting-edge core routine to sculpt your six-pack

Stop Doing Crunches

If it weren't for dead guys, we'd probably never have started doing crunches. That's because for years, much of our knowledge of the way muscles work was based on the study of human cadavers. By looking at the anatomy of corpses, modern scientists figured that the function of our abdominal muscles must be to flex the spine. Which is exactly what you do when you perform a crunch, a situp, or any other move that requires you to round your lower back. As a result, these exercises were popularized as the best way to work your abs.

But the reality is that your abs have a more critical function than flexing your spine: Their main job is to stabilize it. In fact, your midsection muscles are the reason your torso stays upright instead of falling forward due to gravity. So your abs actually prevent your spine from flexing.

The upshot is that if you want better results from your core workout, you need to train your abs for stability. And the best part? You'll hardly have to move.

Your Hard-Core Training Plan
Fair warning: This workout may not feel like your usual ab routine. Because the exercises focus on spinal stabilization instead of spinal flexion, they don't create the same type of abdominal-muscle soreness you might feel from traditional core moves. But that doesn't mean they're not working. In fact, since I began using this method in my gym, my clients are seeing faster progress than ever. So don't worry—not only will this workout make your core strong and stable, it'll also make your abs pop. For the best results, do the workout that matches your training level—beginner (exercises 1-3), intermediate (exercises 4-6), or advanced (exercises 7-9)—twice a week. Simply perform the exercises below in the order shown, using the prescribed sets, reps, and rest.