In today’s article, I’ll be breaking down the abdominal workout found in the above video. I’ll also add in some extra modifications, and provide tips for how to increase the difficulty (or decrease, depending on your level of fitness). 

Exercise 1: Extended planks

Regular planks are fine. They help strengthen and measure core stability, as well as develop & tone the abdominal muscles. Experienced personal trainers trust in them, and amateur personal trainers rely on them. But, extended planks are cooler. And coolness must always be factored in when selecting your workout routine; you do want to throw the videos onto your instagram page, right? 

How to:

  1. Assume a standard push-up position. Next, move hands 6-8 inches above shoulders(hands are still on the ground).
  2. Keep the body straight, feet on their toes, and hands on the ground in front of shoulders.
  3. Next, brace your stomach as if you are going to be punched and hold position for at least 30 seconds. This completes one set

Modification: Regular planks

Exercise 2: Hanging Knee Raises

Old school. Along with crunches and the “vacuum,” hanging knee/leg raises are the abdominal exercises that the greats most frequently (I think) utilized to develop their golden era physiques. I’d wager that the majority of us want to have similarly clean lines and sexy stomachs, all the definition without the protruding turtle bellies. As such, this exercise needs to be in your routine. Or feel free to continue doing only rope crunches and weighted decline sit-ups: turtle on, my friend. Turtle on.

Img. teenage mutant ninja turtles

How to:

  • Hang from a pull-up bar with your body straight, using an overhand grip (or if your gym has neutral grip parallel bars, those work too).
  • Bend your knees and use your lower abs to raise your legs until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then raise higher for full contraction.
  • Lower under control. 
  • That’s one rep. Go until failure.

Note: Oftentimes people fail to raise past parallel, and in doing so, they’re really just doing a hip flexor workout. It’s the last portion of the movement that really hits the lower abdominal muscles, since that’s when you’re actually getting the true contraction on them. You wouldn’t do only partials when performing barbell curls, would you? Of course not. Because then you wouldn’t be getting a full contraction. Obviously the only way to do barbell curls is to neglect the entire first half of the movement and perform cheat curls. Hanging knee raises are the same. Decide for yourself the percentage of snark in the above instructions.

Modification: Standing Alternating Knee Ups

Exercise 3: Lying Leg Raises (stage style)

A stellar exercise that improves core stability as well as the lower abdominal muscles, lying leg raises are a staple in any routine for seekers of aesthetic enlightenment. By making them into a stage-rep exercise, you can increase the difficulty, and test your mental fortitude. These are also a great exercise to compete with lifting partners on. See which of you can rep-on longer, and loser has to supply the post-workout Buck Feed (new flavors available).

How to perform the Lying Leg Raise:

  1. Lie on your back on a mat with hands under your lower buttocks on either side to support your pelvis.
  2. Legs straight out in front of you, ankles together and feet slightly off the floor.
  3. Thinking of the movement in thirds, keep your knees straight and raise your legs ⅓ of full ROM. Lower slowly, then repeat to ⅔ full ROM. Next, lower, then perform the leg raise with full ROM
  4. Return to starting position. That’s one rep. Complete for desired reps, or until failure.

Modification: Lying leg holds

Exercise 4: Russian Twists

I really have no idea why these exercises are called Russian twists, and I’m slightly suspicious that some cultural appropriation was in play when they got their name (not by me, I’d jus

t call them V-twists). That being said, they’re still a great exercise to sculpt the abs, striate the oblique muscles, and give your core a nice aesthetic.

How to perform the Russian Twist:

  1. Sit on your sit bones as you lift your feet from the floor, keeping your knees bent.
  2. Elongate and straighten your spine at a 45-degree angle from the floor to create a V shape with your torso and thighs.
  3. For beginners, the best way to hold your arms is in a sort of prayer pose, arms in front of you and elbows bent.
  4. Use your abdominals to twist to the right, then back to center, and then to the left.
  5. This is 1 repetition. Complete for desired reps or until failure.

Note: Once you get the movement down and can perform the exercise for 60 seconds with relative ease, you can increase the difficulty by adding weight. The easiest way to add weight while still keeping the basics of the movement the same is to use a dime (10lb weight plate). 

Modification: Bicycle crunches

Putting it all together.

Depending on your level — beginner, intermediate, advanced — or even your desired goals, you can vary up how you string the exercises together for your ab workout routine. 

Beginners: 

Do the exercises as listed, in straight sets and without weight. 

ExerciseSets & Reps (or duration)Rest Time
Extended planks3 x 30-60 seconds30-45 seconds
Hanging knee raises3 x 12-3030-45 seconds
Lying leg raises3 x 12-3030-45 seconds
Russian twists3 x 12-3030-45 seconds

Intermediate and above:

When you’re a little more advanced (intermediate), you can choose to perform the exercises in a circuit fashion, going from one to the next without rest in between to increase shredability, and cardiovascular endurance. Perform 3-4 sets. Your rest time between each set of the circuit will be between 1-2 minutes. 

For intermediates who are focused on building their abdominal muscles to increase the depth of abdominal grooves and valleys, try adding weight to each exercise, and performing each one as a straight set. Perform 3-4 sets. For exercises where time is the metric, shoot for 30 seconds. For rep ranges, go for 8-12. Rest about 60-90 seconds between each exercise.

And, for the advanced lifter, combine the circuit training with some weights. Best of all worlds. Just make sure to switch it up. Same things apply. 3-4 sets of the circuit. Rep ranges between 8-12 and exercise durations of 30 seconds. The rest time between circuit sets will be 90-120 seconds.

Maximize Your Abs Workout

To get the most out of your ab workout, be sure to indulge in your favorite addiction; pre-workout. But indulge responsibly, two scoops of WOKE AF or BAMF might push you past the edge of woke and into the realms of cosmically, interdimensionally warped. And, two scoops of BAMF, well…it could possibly induce a singularity within the subconscious. I don’t know what exactly that would look like, but I imagine a neural supernova to be a dangerous thing. So, yeah. Stock up on your Bucked Up, BAMF, BLACK, or WOKE AF, and indulge responsibly.

Drink some RACKED during your workout to increase your fat burning potential, and follow the abdominal gainz session with some all-natural, hormone free, and grass-fed Buck Feed (NEW FLAVORS AVAILABLE). 

Logan Peterson

Logan Peterson is an avid writer and an unprofessional, non-competitive bodybuilder. Logan has several degrees, all of which he made up to sound more credible (for obvious reasons, Legal said he can’t list them). In truth, he simply has an insatiable curiosity. After eleven years of obsessive research, he knows too much about fitness, nutrition, and supplementation for his own good. Despite all appearances, he’s fiercely nerdy. Outside of fitness, his passions are reading and writing; his genre interests run the gamut from litrpg to satire. Due to ADHD, he’s currently working on several novels, and will likely publish all of them at once. And yes, he wrote his own bio...in third person.

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