Just about every guy wants to build a ripped six pack to top off his muscular physique, but many lifters go about it the wrong way. You don’t need hundreds (or thousands) of reps everyday to build a great midsection, and in fact, some trainees have managed to construct really awesome abs without any direct belly exercise.
It may seem hard to believe, but if you work hard on big compound exercises and a handful of smaller moves, your abs will work hard, too.
Here are some of the exercises for OTHER bodyparts that can help you build a six pack.
(This post contains affiliate links to Amazon listings for the products being discussed.)
Squats are considered by many to be the king of exercises because you can move big weights and they target your thighs and hips, the most powerful muscles in your body. In order to squat safely, though, you need to tense your abs and other midsection muscles hard. This protects your spine and keeps you upright during the exercise. It also constitutes a pretty solid abs workout, especially as your poundages go up.
Chin-ups, where you grab an overhead bar with and shoulder-width, underhand grip work your back, biceps, and forearms directly. They also provide indirect stimulation for you chest and, especially, your abs. In this case, your midsection muscles must stay taught throughout to keep your legs from flopping all over the place and to keep your core stable.
Like squats, deadlifts require serious tensing of your midsection in order to stay safe. Since you’re bending over farther with deads, abs get even more of a direct hit.
Standing Military Press
The standing military press, where you push a loaded barbell from your shoulders to an arms-extended position over your head, is one of the best exercises you can do. Like deadlifts and squats, though, it requires you to maintain a strong and solid posture throughout the movement in order to keep your spine aligned properly and safe from sheering forces. The heavier you go and the longer you train, the harder your abs and spinal erectors must work to keep you in the groove.
Machine pullovers, such as those performed on Nautilus equipment, are not technically a compound exercise since they involve movement around just one joint — your shoulders. They do, however, directly target your lats, one of the largest muscles in your body. Pullovers also involve a long, full stretch followed by a complete contraction. Both of these strongly involve your abs, and your six pack will be plenty tired after a hard, to-failure set of pullovers.
And That’s Not All!
The truth is that just about every exercise you perform in the gym involves your abs to some extent. From bench presses to barbell curls to calf raises, your abs always chip in to help you move the weight or to stabilize your torso. It’s usually a good idea to train abs directly to give yourself a bit of insurance, but you can build a decent six pack just by training other bodyparts hard and keeping your bodyFAT levels low.
Before you do any exercise program, though, make sure to check with your doctor to see if you have any health or structural issues that might cause you problems. After all, you can’t build awesome abs if you’re sick or injured!