Abs and Core Exercises

The Core Workout for Maximum Results in Minimum Time

A strong core is essential to your overall fitness. You might as well get six-pack abs in the process.

by
Plank
Paper Boat Creative / Getty
Paper Boat Creative / Getty
Duration 45 min.
Exercises 6
Equipment Yes

Having a six pack is the fitness equivalent of “making it.” Muscular powerful and racehorse endurance are great, but no physique-focused lifter is completely satisfied with their body composition unless they have chiseled abs.

There’s a problem with that approach, though—and it has everything to do with why we don’t see many people with visible, three-dimensional cores. Millions of people are willing to stay up all night Googling quick fixes for six-pack abs, but few are willing to put in the work. This has brought savvy hucksters out of the woodwork, schilling all kinds of awful, misleading, and downright detrimental information. Some say you need to do certain exercises to get that dream body. Some say it’s all about eating certain foods. Some advise you to take magic pills that will get you those “washboard abs in no time.”

In fact, developing six-pack abs comes down to two key things:

  1. Developing your core muscles
  2. Shedding the fat hiding those muscles.

Truth is, everyone has a halfway decent set of abs under all that “padding.” And while you can’t directly target belly fat (no matter how many ads would lead you to believe otherwise), if you get on a proper nutrition program and train hard, you can shave off the cushy belly fat hiding those abdominals.

Don’t let the “minimum time” aspect of this workout fool you—you’ll need to do proper training at least twice a week. The goal here is to optimize your results during your efficient training. The abs are like any other muscle on the body: They need to be challenged to grow and develop. Now, let’s get to work.

The Core Workout for Maximum Results in Minimum Time: Quick Tips

  • You'll notice many of the exercise sets are prescribed with varying rep ranges. This is so you can properly stimulate the various types of muscle fibers in different ways, shocking them and bringing growth and development.
  • Choose weights that will enable you to complete each set with 1 or 2 reps left in the tank. (Because some of the sets change reps, you will likely want to change the weights as necessary.) We want to shock the body, but not to the point that it can’t recover for the next workout.

Exercise-specific Tips:

  • Cable Crunch: This is not a straight-arm pull-down or some kind of reverse deadlift. Your hips shouldn't move and your legs shouldn't come into play. The only thing that should move is your upper body, specifically your core. Make sure to fully contract your abs with each rep, slowly lowering to the starting position while keeping strain on the abs.
  • Captain’s Chair Straight Leg Lift: Use no momentum, solely use your abdominals to perform each rep.
  • Side Plank: Contract your core hard with each repetition, keeping tension on the muscle throughout the set.
  • Hyperextension: Keep legs locked and in place and keep all focus on the lower back.
  • Plank: Alternate between planks on your forearms and in the pushup position to target the inner muscles differently and keep them guessing.

Get the Upper-Body Workout for Maximum Results in Minimum Time and the Lower Body Workout for Maximum Results in Minimum Time

Warmup

Exercise 1

Treadmill Run
exercise image placeholder
-- sets
-- reps
-- rest
Power walk or jog for 10-15 minutes at a decent pace to get the blood pumping.

Exercise 2

Cable Crunch You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment How to
Cable Crunch thumbnail
2 sets
13-15, 10-12 reps
30 sec. rest
Use a lighter weight for the warmup.

Exercise 3

Hyperextension
exercise image placeholder
1 sets
12 reps
-- rest
Use a lighter weight for the warmup.

The Core Workout for Maximum Results in Minimum Time

Exercise 1

Cable Crunch You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment How to
Cable Crunch thumbnail
4 sets
26-30, 21-25, 16-20, 13-15 reps
45-60 sec. rest

Exercise 2

Captain's Chair Knee Raise
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
13-15, 10-12, 7-9 reps
45-60 sec. rest
Keep legs straight.

Exercise 3

Side Plank You'll need: Medicine Ball How to
Side Plank thumbnail
2 sets
60 sec. reps
45-60 sec. rest

Exercise 4

Hyperextension
exercise image placeholder
2 sets
To failure reps
45-60 sec. rest
Hold a 25-45 lb. plate at your chest.

Exercise 5

Plank
Up-Down Plank thumbnail
2 sets
Timed until failure reps
45-60 sec. rest
Try to increase the time each week.
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