One effective way to train your abs is not by direct ab work, but rather through execution of complex exercises. Working your large muscle groups like legs and back and chest, using squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses, will ensure that you are training the abs using their stabilizing functions.
Using compound movements, you’ll also stimulate the whole metabolism and ensure the production of fat burning and muscle building hormones.
This however doesn’t mean you should avoid any specific ab training altogether. If you really want to build an impressive six pack, you need to include a variety of specialized ab exercises to ensure the full development of the six pack.
The direct ab exercises I usually do include crunches/sit ups and leg raises an I usually do them after my deadlift or squat session.
1. Crunches or sit ups – 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions
This is a great exercise that can be performed in the gym or at home. The only difference between the crunches and the sit ups is that you only lift your upper back instead the whole torso when doing crunches.
As any other muscle, abdominal muscles need to be trained with sufficient intensity in order to grow and progress. So, after a certain period of time, when your abs get stronger, I recommend weighted crunches/sit ups instead of regular ones.
2. Leg raises – 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions
The leg raise is really a unique exercise that works the whole abdominal area and specially the lower abs. Leg raises will improve your flexibility and give you amazingly strong lower abs.
Engaging in leg lifts or leg raises not only targets the core but also effectively activates the muscles in the hips and lower back, making it a valuable exercise for enhancing overall strength. Unlike situps and crunches, which primarily focus on the abs, leg lifts involve additional stabilizing muscles, providing a more comprehensive workout.
The advanced version of the leg raises are hanging leg raises.
Remember, diet and cardio are a great part of getting a six pack. Only when your body fat percentage gets down to 11-15 % (11% for men and 15% for women) you will be able to see your abs.