To get a visible six-pack, you need to hit your abdominals from different planes of motion and work compound moves into your workout mix. The following bodyweight routine, provided by Eric Salvador, personal trainer and head instructor at NYC-based gym Fhitting Room, capitalizes on those ideas and will help reveal your abs in no time.
The best part is that you can squeeze this workout in just about anywhere—the exercises are completely conducive to small spaces and time crunches. Fill the rest of your week with traditional weight lifting and training moves and don’t forgot: A good diet is essential.
Prescription: Do this workout 3 times a week on non-consecutive days. Complete 3 sets of each exercise for the recommended time, taking one minute of rest between each set.
1. Arch hold
How to do it: Lying on your stomach, extend your arms and legs, keeping your knees and ankles pressed together. With your head neutral (balanced over your spine and relaxed), bring your arms and legs off the ground and squeeze your glutes. Hold for 30 seconds.
2. Oblique V-up
How to do it: Sit on your left side so you’re balancing on the muscles along your glute, not your hip. Elevate your legs off the floor, leave your left arm planted for support, and bring your right hand behind your head. Raise both your legs and upper body until your right elbow touches your right leg. At the top of the movement, your body will look like a “V”. Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.
How to do it: Lie down on your back with your right foot flat on the floor, knee bent, and your left arm extended overhead. Place your right arm to your side, palm facing the ground. At the same time, reach your left hand and right foot up to meet in the air. Return to the floor for one rep. Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.
4. Leg raise into reverse crunch
How to do it: Lie flat on your back with your head and shoulders touching the floor. Relax your arms so they’re relaxed at your sides, palms facing down. Using your hands for support, raise your legs up to 90 degrees, then drive your hips and legs straight up. Slowly lower your legs under control for one rep. Repeat for 1 minute.
5. Hollow hold
How to do it: Lie on your back with your arms and legs fully extended, squeezing everything tight. Press your lower back into the ground and slightly lift your legs and upper back. If you’re a beginner, hold this position. If you’re more advanced, rock forward and back—holding the shape of a banana. Hold (or rock) for 30 seconds. (Build up to 1 minute.)
*This will serve as the starting position for the following two exercises.
How to do it: Lie on your back in a hollow hold. With your arms overhead and legs straight and elevated off the ground, press your lower back into the ground. To begin the movement, bend your knees and tuck them into your chest as you come up to a full situp, balancing on your glutes. Descend down in a controlled motion to complete one rep. Repeat for 1 minute.
7. No-hand flutter kick
How to do it: Lie down on your back starting in the hollow body hold position. Place both hands behind your head and extend both legs. While pressing your lower back into the ground, flutter your legs in a small motion keeping them straight. Do this motion for 30 seconds or 1 minute.
How to do it: Start in a high plank on your hands with your arms straight and feet shoulder-width apart. Bend one arm to bring the elbow and forearm to the floor. Bring the other arm down so you’re in a low plank position with your forearms on the floor (elbows on the ground directly under your shoulders). When you bring your forearms to the floor, your elbows should be placed where your hand was previously. Push back up to the start position, placing each hand where your elbows were. Repeat this movement, alternating which side you lower first, for 1 minute.
9. Superman plank
How to do it: Assume a plank with your hands directly under your shoulders. Begin to walk them out in front of you as far as you can. Press your palms and fingers firmly into the ground. Imagine pulling down on the ground in order to activate your arms. Squeeze your glutes. Keeping tight, hold your body off the ground and try to maintain this position for 1 minute.
How to do it: Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Raise your knees off the ground one inch. Then, pressing your left hand firmly into the ground, rotate your torso up, release your right hand off the ground, and shoot your left leg through. Return back to starting position and perform on the other side. Repeat for 1 minute.