The Best Exercises and Tips to Build Rock Hard Abs

The part of the body that most people want sculpted is their stomach, but there is one major problem – it is also the most difficult area of the body to tone because it is where a majority of our fat is immediately stored.

It also seems like no matter how hard most of us work on our abs, we still aren’t getting the results we want. There are two major reasons for this – most of us aren’t doing the right exercises enough and are also not on the proper diet to even allow them to take center stage.

In order to build abs, you must do a variety of different exercises to workout each of the different abdominal muscle groups. Here are the key muscle groups that make up your abdominals:

The key to building rock hard abs is to consistently workout each muscle group effectively and to eat the proper diet.

Ab Muscles
Key Muscle Groups: Upper & Lower Abs (rectus abdominis), Obliques (internal & external) and Deep Core (transverse abdominal)

We all know that the more you workout a particular muscle, the more it will grow, but there is more to it than that. You have to do your workouts right.  Some trainers believe you should only focus on 1 or 2 muscle groups per workout session and others will tell you that full body workouts are the most effective.

The truth is that you can do either one, but just make sure during your workouts that you include a variety of different exercises from each abdominal muscle group. Here is a list of exercises, along with which muscle group they work out.

The first step in trying to reach your ab goals is to always engage your abs during your entire workout. It takes practice but eventually it will become like second nature.

Pick 4 Different Exercises, 1 from Each Core Muscle Group

Lower Abs

  1. Straight Leg Raise
  2. Reverse Crunches
  3. Crunches
  4. Hanging Leg Lifts
  5. Jackknife Sit ups
  6. Mountain Climbers
  7. Slider Pike
  8. Roll ups
  9. Flutter Kicks
  10. Pike to Superman on Fitness Ball

Deep Core

  1. Free Weights
  2. Cable Crunches (upper & lower abs)
  3. Standing Cable Lifts
  4. Pull ups/ Pull up Bicycles
  5. Squats
  6. Push ups
  7. Deadlifts
  8. Planks
  9. Standing Military Press
  10. Weighted Ball Drops

Upper Abs

  1. Bicycle Crunches
  2. Full Body Combos on Cable Machines
  3. Rowing
  4. Toe Touch Crunches
  5. Ab Sprinters
  6. Fitness Ball Crunches
  7. Ab Wheel Rollouts
  8. Table Top Crunches
  9. Decline Situps
  10. Cable Crunches


  1. Side Planks
  2. Side Crunches
  3. Medicine Ball Throw
  4. Plate Twist
  5. Ab Twist Machine
  6. Side Jackknife
  7. Spiderman Press-up
  8. Woodchoppers
  9. Weighted Decline Oblique Crunches
  10. Side Plank with Hip Dips

Repeating the same workouts without increasing the weights or reps will not build out your abdominal muscles, it will only keep them in check. Challenge yourself each workout and change the intensity at least every 2 weeks.

If you generally focus on 1 or 2 parts of the body during each workout, try and make sure you are focusing on your abs at least 2x per week. For the others who generally focus on full body exercises, make sure you work out your abdominal muscles at least 4x per week and increasing the intensity every 2 weeks.  You can also rotate different abdominal exercises within each muscle group.

Don’t forget, diet also plays a huge role. You can workout all that you want, but if you aren’t eating right – your abs will never get to show.  A high-protein diet with low sugar, moderate carbohydrates and healthy fats will help your abs emerge. Keeping your calorie intake hovering around 1,500 to 2,000 calories is good, but may fluctuate depending on your size and the intensity of your workouts.

Share this article to help your friends reach their goals too and don’t forget to follow The Living Fit Blog for more posts!

Author: Kelly Turbett for The Living Fit Blog

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