The Six-Pack Workout To Build Bigger Abs

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The best beginner moves for building an impressive set of abs require no kit at all. That’s great news, because it means you can start sculpting a solid six-pack any time, anywhere. But after those initial results the returns can start to dry up and it won’t matter how many crunches you do – your bodyweight is no longer enough to keep the gains coming.

It’s at this point you need to increase the workload on your abs so they carry on growing both bigger and more defined. And one easy yet highly effective way to do this is to introduce extra resistance to your abs routine with dumbbells. Try this challenging but rewarding six-move session to get your six-pack back on track.

How to do the workout

This session is made up of six moves, split into two tri-sets – which means you do three exercises back to back with little or no rest between them. So you complete all the reps of move 1A, then the same for 1B and 1C. You get 10 seconds of rest between the first two moves, then a 60-second break after the third. You’ll do three tri-sets of moves 1A, 1B and 1C, then repeat this approach with moves 2A, 2B and 2C.

Pick a dumbbell weight that you can manage with good form for every rep. If it’s too heavy you’ll resort to using momentum to move the weight, but you need to maintain tension in your core muscles at all times to build a rock-solid set of abs.

1A Dumbbell crunch reach

Targets upper abs

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 10sec

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and a dumbbell held above your chest with arms straight. Crunch upwards, raising the weight as high as you can. Pause at the top of the movement, squeeze your abs, then lower back to the start.

1B Dumbbell side bend

Targets side abs

Reps 12 each side Rest 10sec

Stand tall, holding a dumbbell in one hand with a straight arm. Bend your other arm so your fingers touch your temple. Brace your entire core, then crunch towards the side holding the weight, then return to upright. Complete all the reps, then switch sides.

1C Dumbbell woodchop

Targets core

Reps 12 each side Rest 60sec

Hold the dumbbell in both hands above your head to the right of your body. Keeping your entire core braced, swing the weight down and across your body to finish outside your left shin, bending from your hips. Reverse the move to the start. Complete all the reps, then switch sides.

2A Dumbbell T-raise

Targets core

Sets 3 Reps 6 each side Rest 10sec

Start in a press-up position with a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your core tight, lift one weight and rotate your torso to point it to the ceiling. Your head should follow the path of the weight. Reverse back to the start, and alternate the lifting arm with each rep.

2B Standing dumbbell Russian twist

Targets side abs

Reps 12 Rest 10sec

Stand tall with your arms parallel to the floor holding a dumbbell. Keeping your hips facing forwards, rotate your hands to one side, then the other side, then back to the middle. That’s one rep. Keep the reps smooth and your arms straight.

2C Dumbbell windmill

Targets side abs

Reps 12 each side Rest 60sec

Stand tall, holding a dumbbell in one hand overhead with a straight arm. Brace you abs, look up at the weight and, keeping that arm straight, bend down so your free hand travels down the outside of your leg. Reverse the move back to the start. Complete all the reps, then switch sides.