Just because you’re new to working out (and your abdominals are hiding behind a layer of fat) doesn’t mean your abs workouts need to be relegated to a middle school regimen of situps. For one thing, crunches aren’t really doing anything for your six-pack. Abs-only routines aren’t a great idea, either—you can’t just spot-train your way to glorious washboard abs. So: If thousands of crunches aren’t the answer, then how the hell do you get a six-pack?
“For starters, sustaining a caloric deficit, training the whole body consistently with challenging intensities, eliminating booze, and sleeping more will have a bigger impact on the summer six-pack,” says Lucas Dunham, a performance specialist at EXOS. “Core exercises, however, can be catalysts for more frequent, intense training sessions.”
And when it comes to core exercises, it’s best to aim for compound exercises, which force your core to work in tandem with other large muscle groups.
The following 10 exercises are a mix of both abs-focused exercises (like the classic plank) and compound exercises that also work your abs (like the farmer’s carry). As long as you focus on engaging your abs throughout the move, you’ll feel that deep abdominal burn on your way to a concrete core. And once you become more experienced, you can put the finishing touches on your physique by focusing on the abdominal V, shredded obliques, and a carved serratus. Choose five moves, then mix and match to create abs workouts that’ll have your core quivering in no time. Try 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps.
Here are the 10 best abs exercises for beginners.
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