The Greatest Ab Workout in the World

Can we be honest for a minute?  When most of us are working out, what is the one area that we want to effect the most?  The answer is almost always, the abdominals.  After all, who doesn’t want a nice six-pack to show off?  With warm weather on the way, and skimpier clothing following suit, we’ll finally get to see what everyone has been working on (or not working on) this winter.  The good news is, if you’re reading this today, you still have more than enough time to develop a tight and toned mid-section.

Let me back up a second, you still have enough time if you break free from the same ab crunches and other similar core exercises you’ve been doing sporadically over the past however many years.  While they have their place for sure, they need to be intermixed with more complex abdominal exercises to maximize their effects.  After a while of trial and error, and seeing what works and doesn’t, I’ve developed what I believe to be the greatest abdominal workout you’ve ever attempted.  Before we jump into the routine, there are a few things we need to address.

  • All the ab work in the world isn’t giving you a six-pack if there is a layer of fat covering your abdominal muscles.  Diet + cardio work are the two most important things.  Get these two things right and use this routine to develop the muscles in your core.  Unlike other abdominal routines, this workout incorporates intense cardiovascular work that burns fat but also targets the core.  Two birds, one stone.
  • Your “six pack” is actually the Rectus Abdominis muscle.  It is ONE muscle.  Sometimes you’ll hear people say, “Oh I need to work my lower abs because they’re really lacking”.  Well, as hard as they want to try to train their lower abs, they really are still working the Rectus Abdominis muscle.  A vital part of developing beautiful abdominal muscles is making sure to use compound abdominal exercises which hit larger portions of the Rectus Abdominis, rather than isolating specific parts of it.
  • Include these workouts into the rest of your workout routine.  There is much debate about whether or not working the abdominals every day is appropriate.  It is my belief that while you can work the abdominals more often than other muscle groups since they are more accustomed to stress (keeping you upright, supporting your bodyweight, etc.) than say your biceps, I still feel they are a muscle and need to be given adaquate rest time.  Aim to complete this routine no more than 3 days a week, with about 48 hours rest between workouts.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way… lets move on to the workout that is going to completely change the way you look at core work forever.

As mentioned above, add days 1 and 3 to your current workout routine; try adding them to the end of a workout day.  Complete day 2 on its own.  If you are on a 5 day a week exercise program, either substitute day 2 of this workout for one of those days, OR (preferably) complete the day 2 workout over the weekend.  If you don’t currently have a workout routine, check around the blog for some pretty killer total body workout programs.

Day 1 – Strictly maintain rest times listed after each set.

  • 4 x 20 Decline plate sit-ups – On a decline bench, and holding a plate against your chest, sit up while slightly twisting your torso to the left.  Lower yourself, then repeat, this time, slightly twisting to the right.  Repeat this for the prescribed number of reps/sets. 30 seconds rest between sets.
  • 3 x 20  Eagle sit ups – 30 seconds rest between sets
  • 3 x 30 V-sits on bench – 30 seconds rest between sets
  • 3 x 15 Hanging leg raises – If this is too difficult, feel free to bend your legs and bring your knees to your chest.  If hanging from a pull up bar is too hard, use a dip machine, like this.  20 seconds rest between sets.
  • 3 x 30 Russian Twists with weight – Complete a full rotation, side-to-side.  Hold a dumbbell, medicine ball, plate, or other weighted object.  30 seconds rest between sets.
  • 4 x 25 Cable crunch – 30 seconds rest between sets.

Day 2 – Day 2 is going to incorporate cardiovascular movements that also hit your abs, giving you a double-dose of six-pack buildling goodness.  This should be a complete workout routine by itself, i.e., 45-60 minutes in length.

  • 4 x 15 Burpees/4 x 20 crunches – Perform 1 set of burpees immediately followed by 1 set of crunches (follow this format for all exercises below). Rest 45 seconds.  Repeat.
  • 4 x 30 Mountain climbers/4 x 100 pilates hundreds – 45 second rest between sets
  • 4 x 30 Horizontal jacks/4 x 40 Hip dips (20 per side) – 45 second rest between sets
  • 4 x 30 Speed skaters holding a plate – If you can’t make your way up to holding a plate, no problem.  Go without the plate until you feel able.  30 second rest between sets.
  • 5 x 1 Running high knees in place – 30 second rest between sets.
  • 5 x 25 Reverse crunches – 30 second rest between sets.
  • 4 x 15 burpees/4 x 25 crunches
  • 10 minutes HIIT sprinting (:30 sprint/1:30 jog)

Day 3 – So, in Day 1 we really used heavy weights to bring your Rectus Abdominis to complete exhaustion; you should have felt a deep after burn following this workout.  In Day 2 we incorporated a cardio element and utilized compound supersets to help build your abdominal muscles while burning the layer of fat covering them.  In Day 3, we are going to up our repetitions so your muscles don’t know what the heck is going on.  Take a deep breath, put your seatbelt on, and get ready to’s the final part of this workout…

  • 2 x 50 bicycle crunches – 20 second rest between sets.
  • 2 x 50 Flutter kicks – 15 second rest between sets.
  • 2 x 40 Feet up crunch – 30 second rest between sets.
  • 2 x 100 heel touches – 15 second rest between sets.
  • 3 x 15 Pike ups – 30 second rest between sets.
  • 2 x 40 Windshield wipers – 30 seconds rest between sets.
  • 2 x 1 minute planks – 30 seconds rest between sets.
  • 10 x 15 Crunches – 10 seconds rest between sets.

There you have it guys.  To recap, we’re going to fully burn your abdominals out on Day 1 with a focus on weighted exercises.  Day 2 is going to introduce cardio exercises and compound supersets to kill your core and blast fat.  Day 3 utilizes high repetitions and shorter rest times to completely confuse your abdominals.  This three-pronged approach, using the exercises above, has proven to be extremely effective for real-life clients and remote clients alike.  Stick to the plan, include extra cardio if you could use it (realistically, almost all of us can), and eat a clean and well-balanced diet.  Remember, 60% of the battle for that six-pack will be accomplished by your diet and burning the fat covering your stomach through the use of high-intensity cardiovascular work.   As always, if you guys have any questions or need clarification, feel free to leave a comment.

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32 thoughts on “The Greatest Ab Workout in the World”

  1. ill be lying on a beach in mexico the end of may and hopefully this looks like what i need to finish off my abs lost the fat now i need to really pop those muscles out do ya think this will work by then thanks

    1. I’m going to guess you have about 6 weeks until you leave for Mexico. 6 weeks is a heck of a lot of time if you are putting in consistent work. Don’t miss workouts, continue with your regular routine, and do this workout exactly as prescribed and I would all but guarantee you will have some very nice abdominal definition by late May. Keep in mind, eliminating body fat is the fastest way to make those muscles pop. Make sure to keep up your cardio so you don’t regress. Good job on the progress so far though!

      If you wouldn’t mind, do you think you could provide us some before/after shots? We’re always looking to our users to provide us some pictures of themselves beore and after our workouts. We can crop your face out so its totally anonymous if you’d prefer. If not, no worries. Have fun in Mexico!

      1. ill see what i can do i took a couple last year before i started changing up from just hiit training that really helped my endurance ill be 47 this year am an ex smoker and have hypothyrioidism and i am not ashamed to say i look better and feel better than when i was 20
        ill take a couple photos today to thanks for your helpful replys i enjoy reading your blog has really helped with my strength training also now if i could a few pullups that would help with my upper body strength any suggestions on how thanks

      2. ok so today i did a 1mi jog at 5 on an incline then day 1of above and day 2 of 8 wks bikini legs and butt i dont usually have that much time so did what i could today i feel my hip flexors giving out on me for the v-sits thoughreally hindered i have to work all day tomarrow so probably a tabata hiit routine and soome bicep work

  2. I would just like to say that I am so grateful to have come across your site recently. So far everything I have seen regarding régimens have been what I have been.looking.for and they are obviously for those who are serious about getting with it. I would like to ask……can these be done consecutively or do I need a day or so of rest in between??? lol…I am going to die happily on the first day… .Thanks for sharing all of this wealth of knowledge!!!!

    1. Harriet –

      So glad to hear you are enjoying this workout and our blog. Comments like yours are what makes doing this so fulfilling. The workouts and advice we give definitely aim to separate from the rest of the generic advice you’ll find around the web. We put together workouts that actually work, not ones that are simply easy to follow and therefore more appealing to the masses.

      In regards to this workout, I would definitely recommend giving yourself a full day or two rest between these workouts. Recovery is just as important for success as is the workout itself. Give your body time to recuperate and your gains will keep coming. If after a while, you feel you are able to do more work on a given day, try increasing sets, so you are doing more total repetitions.

      f you like this plan you should head over to and leave us an email address. We’re launching our full site this month and we’ll be able to send you a promo code for a free premium membership which will give you access to not only more workout plans, but a full library of OnDemand video fitness classes and virtual training sessions. Thanks for your support and feel free to send over any other questions as they come up.


  3. would you do this on consecutive days or M-W-F for example? Looks like a great workout and I love your website so far!

    1. Hi Marielle,

      I think a MWF schedule for this ab routine would be perfect.  As the article noted, I would simply add Day 1 and 3 to the end of your standard workout you do on Monday and Friday.


  4. You have shared great information about Abs workout. I was not aware with these exercises. I will keep this information in my mind  and try to do these abs exercises. It is a nice post and i am impressed with it.

  5. Well be happy to remove this picture. For what its worth this pictire is all over various fitness forums and was simply pulled from there. Weve made no claims this woman used our program…simply showing someone with nice abs for motivation. Try not to be such an angry person 🙂

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  7. If one doesn’t have a gym in their apartment, and there isn’t one around, are there any alternatives to the workout plan’s equipment? If so, what could they be? Would you recommend us just sticking to the things that we can do and doubling it up?

    1. No gym access isn’t a problem. Do yourself (and your abs) a favor and invest ~$7 in an ab wheel. Seriously, this is going to change your life. There are many types of exercises you can do on an ab wheel. Gym or not, its hard to find something that will tear up your core more than an ab wheel will. Only reason it wasn’t included in this workout was the fact a lot of the gym machines were used..which would make this too intense if you were using an ab wheel in addition. Aim to increase your time on the wheel as you progress…2 minutes non-stop rolling to begin is a great starting point.

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  9. Hi Matt, I see comments are 1 year old, but just saw this and will give it a try. Quick question for the pilates hundred, how do you count a rep? is it 1 cycle of 5 breaths in or 1 breath?

  10. Icame across this information about 2 months and just started implementing into
    my work out. I am really out of shape and have a difficult time completing the
    entire routine. Would you recommend cutting the reps or sets in the beginning
    until I can get thru the workout? I have cut the sets in half, and can definitely
    feel the “pain” by doing that. But wanted your opinion.

    Also, I am not doing the 10 minute HIIT on day 2 because I do a 30 minute HIIT on the
    treadmill on my opposite days of this routine (Tu, Th, and Sat).
    Look forward to hearing your comments, and thanks again for the information!!

    1. Hey Carree! You nailed it – cut the reps/sets (but still make it challenging!) in the meantime. Every few workouts, make a point to increase the reps/sets, so you’re working harder over time. This should help you ramp up your intensity and build strength.

      I would agree with you about the HIIT as well – you don’t want to overdo it. Limit the HIIT to your three 30 minute sessions a week and just go hard on your strength training days. You do that, and you should experience some nice results. Hope that helped answer your questions!


  11. Hi Mat,

    Do you have an app for this workout? That would help beginners like myself get familiar with the different exercises & the routine.

  12. hi. I am a 24-year-old girl and I have problem with my abs. how many years will it last to get a 2-pack abs at least? I do fitness workout but I’m not satisfied. should I consume energy-increasing powder??????

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