6 Exercises That Will Actually Transform Your Belly Into A Six-Pack

Who hasn’t dreamt of waking up with perfect six-pack-abs? We’ve all been there - in an “It looks so good but hurts so bad to get there” sort of way. Maybe that’s why there seems to be a new ‘secret way to gain abs overnight’ - article every day. Wouldn’t you just LOVE it if they actually worked?

The good news is that getting a defined core is absolutely doable. The bad news, however, is that you will need to push through some pretty straining and painful moments to get there. But don’t worry, we are going to show you a workout routine that is great for newcomers as it includes a lot of movements that you can jump right into. There’s no need to have any prior experience of how to do these. And the best thing is, this workout routine can be performed wherever you might find yourself and requires zero equipment - so there’s absolutely no room for excuses, eh?

Before we jump into the exercises, remember that it’s important to strengthen your whole core and not just your abs. If you need a refresher on which muscles constitute the core and what they do, have a look at this article.

Here’s everything you need to know about our simple yet powerful workout routine and muscle-building tactics to get off on the best start to building a six-pack.

High knees

Are you ready? Our first exercise is going to be a cardio-intensive exercise known as high knees. This workout will get your whole body going, increase your heart rate and engage your core. Make sure you regulate your breathing and this will be a walk in the park (or on the spot, literally).

Targets: core, legs & glutes

  • Stand with your legs hip-width apart
  • Start by jogging on the spot, raising your legs up high
  • Keep the spine neutral & your core engaged
  • Repeat for 45 seconds
  • Rest for 15 seconds
  • Repeat this exercise for 3 rounds

high knee starting position

high knee right leg up

high knee left leg up

Dedicating just a few moments to high knees enhances the impact the following exercises will have on your overall training results as your body will be all fired up.

Chair Sit-ups

Now that we have warmed up our bodies for the more intensive exercises coming up, we are going to focus on our abdominals with chair sit-ups. Also known as knee raises, this exercise is a great alternative to regular sit-ups as it is more gentle on the spine and allows for a wide range of variations and progressions.

Targets: upper & lower abs

  • Lay flat on your back with your legs in the air
  • Bring your knees in line with your hip
  • Place your hands behind your head
  • Keep your core engaged & regulate your breathing
  • Raise your neck, chest and arms off the floor
  • Reach for your knees
  • Exhale & slowly come back down
  • Repeat for 10 rounds

chair sit-up engaged core

chair sit-up starting position

Make sure not to strain your neck during this exercise and keep your legs sandwiched together for the entirety of the exercise. Aim for slow and controlled movements over rushing through this exercise as this will ensure your abs get contracted in an optimal way.

Toe Touches

How did you get on with the chair sit-ups? Are you feeling the burn yet? Take a moment to focus on your breathing before getting into the next exercise.Toe touches, also known as pikes, is an exercise that focuses on strengthening your core, especially the upper abs region. It engages the rectus abdominis muscle. Not sure where that is? Don’t worry, you’ll feel it in a minute.

Targets: upper abdominals & back

  • Lay flat on your back
  • Extend your legs straight up in the air
  • Tighten your lower abs to stabilize yourself
  • Extend your hands over your shoulders
  • Stretch your body & core
  • Inhale & lift your head, neck & shoulders off the floor
  • Reach towards your toes
  • Exhale & come back down in a slow & controlled movement
  • Repeat for 10 rounds

Tip: You can bend your knees slightly if you are struggling to keep them straight

toe touch starting position

toe touch engaged core

Toe touches strengthen the centre of your stomach, your rectus abdominis from your rib cage down to your pelvis and practises the flexion of the upper body. For optimal results, make sure not to round your back, tuck your chin under and keep your legs together.

Star Crunches

Also known as the starfish crunch, you might be tempted to underestimate this cutesy sounding exercise. Pay close attention to this exercise as it’s a highly underrated movement to tone your core and strengthen your abdominal muscles. It’s an excellent abs workout as the movement patterns compliment how the rectus abdominis is meant to move. Make sure you have plenty of space for this exercise and let’s get right into it.

Targets: upper & lower abdominal, right & left obliques

  • Lay down on your back with your arms and knees spread out
  • Keep your spine neutral and regulate your breathing
  • Tighten your core and lift your upper body

Version 1:

  • Raise one leg and reach it with your opposite hand
  • Exhale & slowly come back down
  • Repeat exercise for the other side
  • Repeat for 10 rounds

Version 2:

  • Raise both legs and arms
  • Reach your knees with your fingertips with your legs remaining spread
  • Exhale & slowly come back down
  • Repeat for 10 rounds

star crunch left hand to right leg

star crunch right hand to left leg

If you are following version 1, make sure to keep the hand and leg opposite to the ones you are lifting off the floor. With both versions, it’s important you do not raise your neck too high or over exhaust yourself. Always make sure to regulate your breathing and aim for slow and controlled movements. When done correctly, star crunches increase the growth of muscle cells.

Back kick crunch

Let’s take it up a notch with this exercise that tones your core, glutes and arms! The back kick plank puts a spin on the common plank. It helps strengthen your upper body and promotes muscular endurance. It also boosts your posture and balance! Keep that in mind when you feel your glutes and core burn.

Targets: abdominals, lower back, shoulders, glutes

  • Begin this exercise in a plank position
  • Lift your left foot off the ground, bend and reach your knee towards your chest
  • Tighten your core & flex your left foot
  • Hold this pose for a few seconds
  • Exhale & kick your right leg back behind you
  • Repeat with your left leg
  • Repeat exercise for 10 rounds

Tip: Keep your muscles engaged for optimal results

back kick crunch starting position

back kick crunch knee touching chestback kick crunch leg kicked back

Avoid arching your back, keep your feet vertically to the floor as this will ensure your legs also get toned by this full-body move. Keep your arms strong to maintain a plank position. Add this exercise to your usual warm-up routine to take any workout to the next level.

Elbow Plank

We are going to wrap up this ab workout routine with an isometric exercise: the elbow plank. It's an excellent complementary exercise to any strength or cardio programme. The elbow plank is a static exercise that improves core strength and scapular stability.

Targets: abdominals, lower back, shoulders, neck, chest, triceps

  • Rest your body on your forearms and knees
  • Push your knees off the floor & take a step back
  • Keep your abdominals engaged & avoid raising your booty
  • Hold this pose as long as you can

woman performing an elbow plank on an exercise mat

Planks are excellent for working the abs, and the elbow plank works the abs more effectively than the conventional plank in push-up mode. When done correctly, the elbow plank will put your entire body to the test.

Wrapping up

There you have it. 6 effective exercises that get your body warmed up and work your core, back, shoulders and legs! Regularly following this workout routine in combination with a balanced diet will not only build toned six-pack abs but will also improve your balance, stamina and overall health.

Why don’t you mix up your workout routine with some of our other exercises designed to tone and strengthen your core? Check out our cushioned exercise mat for some additional support and comfort whilst pushing through these floor exercises and you will reach your fitness goals in no time. Was this the first time you followed one of our routines? How did you get on with it?