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The 3 Best Abs Workout You Need to Get Six-Pack Abs

The recipe for six-pack abs isn’t all that complicated: Crank out an abs workout, eat a nutrient-rich diet, and consume fewer late-night pizzas in a single sitting. The undisputed holy grail of men’s fitness is good for more than just an extra boost of confidence whenever you have cause to peel off your shirt, too. “The best way to avoid injury, whether in the gym, at home, or at the workplace, is by building a strong core,” says Edwin Wealth, NASM-CPT and trainer at Equinox. Want to do yoga better? Run faster? Squat heavier? Carry the groceries without wincing? It all begins with your core.

1. Hardstyle plank

Do it: Lying face down on the ground, prop yourself up into a forearm plank position. Make sure your elbows are aligned underneath your shoulders, and that your hands are balled up in fists. Your forearms should be parallel to one another. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds per set.

Trainer tip: You know planks, right? It’s easy to go through the motions here. Don’t do it. “The key is to squeeze your entire body—quads, glutes, core, back, and fists—as tight as possible while taking diaphoretic breathes throughout the hold,” says Wealth. No matter how many times you’ve done it, this exercise is as difficult as you’re willing to make it.

2. Dead bug

Do it: Lay face up on the floor with arms straight above your shoulders. To start, bring your knees directly over your hips and bend at the knee so that your calf forms a 90-degree angle with your thigh. Next, simultaneously lower your left arm above your head while straightening your right leg and sending it towards the floor. Pause, return to the starting position and then repeat on the opposite side. Do 14 alternating reps to complete one set.

Trainer tip: “Make sure your lower back stays in contact with the floor, and try to keep your breathing as regular as possible,” says Denzel Allen, a StrongFirst trainer in San Francisco. “I like this movement because it helps to train left-right coordination between the upper and lower extremities, which can help improve cognitive function, too.”

3. Dumbbell side bend

Do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing inwards towards the torso. Keep your back straight, activate your core, and then bend to the side as far as possible—but only at the waist. Hold for one second at the bottom of your range of motion, and return to start for one rep. Do between 12 and 20 reps for one set.

Trainer tip: “Be smart when you pick the weight,” says Wealth. “It shouldn’t feel impossible. Using reasonable weights will help you focus on keeping your abs tight during the exercise for maximum results. And keep that tempo nice and slow.” The real six-pack is not the lift itself—it’s the burning sensation you feel along the way.

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