Let me guess… you were wondering how to get a six pack without sit ups. Am I right? Trust me you’re not the only one who hates sit ups. I detest doing them as well and today I will be showing you not 1, not 2, but 11 alternatives.
First of all what’s your BMI? Generally people don’t have a six pack because they’re fat and/or have small abdominal muscles. If you fall in the former category then you should checkout this diet, but you don’t necessarily need to have a very low BMI for your abs to stand out. I’ve seen men with significant amounts of body fat who still had a six pack. This happens because their abdominal muscles are huge. If you follow a strict abdominal workout then you should be able to get a six pack even if you’re a little on the fatter side, so don’t obsess too much over weight loss. Building muscle is more important.
Now, performing different exercises will make the ab workout routine less boring for most people, so here’s a comprehensive list of abdominal exercises for you (in no particular order):
Probably not a good way to start with this considering it’s one of the more difficult calisthenics but I wanted to begin with an interesting and challenging exercise. The average man is not even capable of performing one of these, so it’s much more satisfying to perform this exercise rather than the usual boring sit up. What’s more, this exercise strengthens more than just your abs; it targets your entire core. To perform simply grab onto a pull up bar and lift your body up like a lever as shown here:The main targets here are the deltoids but the abdominals are worked out hard to hold the body straight (stability).
Just lie on your back and lift your legs up (while keeping them straight) until they are perpendicular to the floor. Bending your knees will lessen the pressure so it is important that you keep your legs straight for the workout to be effective. Also do not hold onto something with your hands because this will also reduce the efficiency.
Keep them at your sides and lift your legs up with your abs and leg muscles. Then bring them down and close to the ground as much as possible without touching it before doing another rep. This one is similar to the hanging leg exercise but more convenient since it can be done on the floor.
Bruce Lee used to do this and so did Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) in the famous boxing movie Rocky. It’s similar to the human flag exercise but focuses more on the abs and is very difficult to perform. It is also very similar to the front lever but is more convenient since it can be done without a pull up bar or gymnastic rings.
To do this simply lie on the floor, table or bench and grab onto something with your hands. Then lift your body up like a lever, starting from the legs, then the buttocks and the lower back until you’re standing only on your upper back. The pressure put on your core and abs with this is insane so be careful when doing it and start slowly. As you advance you can try doing several reps without touching the floor/table/bench.
Upside Down Sit up
Yes it’s a sit up but obviously it’s much more challenging and effective than the ordinary one, which is why I felt the need to mention it here. As the title says this exercise consists of holding onto a pull up bar with your legs and doing the sit up upside down. The gravity makes it much harder than the normal one and as you advance you can make it even harder by using a weighted vest.
Apart from being a great stress reliever, the sledgehammer swing will help you to build your abs and a lot of other muscles.The exercise is simple. Just find a used truck tire and hit it as hard as you can with your sledgehammer.Martial artists like this workout because it works strength and speed at the same time, so it’s also a great exercise for developing punching power.
The plate raise exercise consists of lifting and holding a weight disc (or something heavy like a filled bag) in front of you for as long as you can, or lifting it up and down repeatedly.
The arms experience the most pressure but rest assured that your abs are worked out as well. They produce the strength necessary to keep the body straight while you’re holding the weight.
Without additional weights this exercise is very simple but what’s great about it is that it focuses on the sides of your abs rather than the center as most of these exercises do. This and the bicycle crunch are the two exercise here which focus on the sides so you should pick at least one of them to go with the rest. Basically the torso rotation exercise consists of using a special machine or a resistance band and pulling while turning your torso to the side, like this:
Some people also do it by holding a weight on their hands (as in the plate raise exercise) and twisting their torso around, but this isn’t as effective to the sides as the others are because you’re not pulling anything, only lifting.
Hanging Leg Raises
This is another great core exercise you can do if you have a pull up bar or something to hold onto. To perform just grab onto a pull up bar and pull your legs up, like this:
When working on your hanging leg raises, always remember to:
- Keep your legs completely straight.
- Keep your legs parallel to the floor.
- Raise, don’t swing. Swinging your legs up severely reduces the impact on your core muscles that the hanging leg raise gives.
Rolling Banana Exercise
This exercise might look silly and easy but it’s actually pretty difficult to perform and puts a lot of pressure on the abdominals. As the name implies you must position yourself like a banana and roll over without touching your arms and feet to the floor, like this:
It’s a good exercise which can easily be taken up a notch with ankle and/or wrist weights.
The crunch utilizes the same posture of the sit up but while performing it you lift your upper body up while your lower back remains on the ground, thereby eliminating the involvement of the body flexors and putting more pressure on the abdominal muscles.
Due to its simplicity and effectiveness many fitness coaches say that the crunch is the best exercise to get a six pack.
This is similar to the crunch (hence the name) but harder. To do the bicycle crunch you must first assume the sit up position with your hands behind your head and then lift your feet up in the air so that your legs are in a crouched position as if riding a bicycle.
Then all you have to do is lift your torso up (as if doing a crunch) and touch your knees with your elbows. Left knee with your right elbow and your right knee with your left elbow, as shown in the picture above.
There are many more abdominal exercises but many are very similar to each other so it would be pointless to do them all. The aim of this list was to provide you with as much different six pack exercises as possible.