Hit the Bench for Sculpted Six-Pack Abs

Key Points

  • The abs bench workout is effective at providing a comprehensive abdominal workout.

  • Various exercises can be performed with a bench to improve abdominal strength and tone.

  • The abs bench workout can be used in combination with other equipment for optimal results.

Are you tired of wearing baggy sweaters, blazers, and coats when stepping out on the town? Is the thought of another summer in beach coveralls putting a damper on hot weather and vacation plans? Consider a simple-yet-effective abs bench workout to reach your goals.

The versatility of an abs bench workout allows you to revitalize your passion for strong, sleek abs and turn those dreaded crunches into something you love. It won't be long before you see the six-pack abs you've long dreamed about.

What Are Six-Pack Abs?

The term "six-pack abs" refers to the visible rectus abdominis muscle, which has a distinct shape that causes heads to turn at its first sighting. This muscle is located in the front of the abdomen and can be developed through a combination of exercise and excellent nutrition.

Woman with sculpted six-pack abs

That's easier said than done, right?

Achieving those Adonis-like abs generally requires a low body fat percentage. Most people have a layer of fat perched on top of muscle. How much fat is the difference between a "keg" and a "six-pack."

Specific exercises and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle bring out these shy, elusive muscles.

Starting From Scratch

Even if you've never done an abdominal exercise in your life, starting on the road to a strong, stable core is possible for just about anyone.

It's common to associate the term "core" only with abdominal exercises. In reality, your core muscles are active and engaged all day long.

The muscles in your midsection play a role in maintaining stability and support in various daily activities like walking, stretching, balancing, or simply standing in place. This is why developing a strong core is crucial.

Essential muscles needed for a strong core include the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, pelvic floor muscles, and internal and external obliques. These muscles work together to support the front of the abdomen, provide stability to the sides and spine, and maintain proper posture.

Making a conscious effort to activate your abdominal muscles during any exercise turns it into a "core workout." Adding an abdominal protocol to your exercise routine has more benefits than just developing a set of killer abs.

Easier Time With Daily Tasks

A strong core makes performing daily tasks easier. Lifting heavy objects, carrying groceries, or simply getting up from a chair takes less effort when core muscles are strong and stable.

These muscles work together to provide stability and support to the spine and the rest of the body. When your core is weak, every activity can be downright painful and result in injuries to various body parts.

Improved Posture

Strong abdominal muscles improve posture and reduce the risk of back pain and injury. Poor posture leads to chronic back and neck pain, headaches, and other joint issues. All of these problems improve as you work your core to develop muscle strength, thus improving balance and stability. 

Improved Athletic Performance

Exercise is a crucial part of keeping core abdominal muscles strong and healthy. Strengthening your core leads to improved athletic performance, making it much easier to run, jump, and play both recreational and professional sports.

Amped Up Appearance

Developing strong abdominal muscles is one way to boost confidence. A toned midsection creates a lean, athletic look. Whether wearing a barely-there swimsuit or form-fitting shirt and jeans, a strong core simply feels more attractive. 

If Wishes Were Fishes…..

If you were to ask the average guy or gal on the street, few would say they were pleased with their midsection. What would you say?

As much as people wish for stronger, leaner, flatter abs — the coveted six-pack — many haven't the first clue as to how to achieve that objective. If only you could just wish that abdominal flab away!

Several exercises develop strong core and abdominal muscles. Paying attention to the front, back, and sides of your core will yield the most significant workout results.

Delve into a few of the most popular exercises to strengthen the core and blast away stubborn subcutaneous abdominal fat.

Are Sit-Ups Good Enough for a Six-Pack?

The tried-and-true sit-up was once the gold standard, the ab exercise of champions, sculpting and toning midsections for everyone from once-in-a-while exercisers to dedicated professional athletes to the brave folks in the military. It is still one of the basic exercises for strengthening your core — but by no means is it the only weapon in the arsenal.

Man doing ab exercise

Amazing abs are not achieved by sit-ups alone. The movement of a sit-up is only one isolated function of your core. Even if you increase resistance by adding weights and decline positions with your ab bench, you are still only providing a one-dimensional workout and neglecting other functions and ranges of motion of your abdominal and core muscles.

What other functions can your talented abs perform in the gym and daily life activities? These impressive activities are just a few things you can do when working on your core.

#1: Flexing Upper Body, Isolating Lower Body

Exercises such as the sit-up, ab crunch, abdominal pulldown, and inversion crunch flex your upper body while isolating lower body muscles. These muscles provide the upper tier of abdominal work, targeting the muscles just below and across the bottom of the ribcage.

#2: Flexing Lower Body, Isolating Upper Body

Flexing the lower body and isolating the upper body strengthens lower back muscles and the middle of the abdominal girdle. These muscles stabilize you, make you more mobile, and make you less injury-prone. Exercises great for this group of muscles include the hanging leg raise, lying leg raise, knee-to-chest exercises, and ball crunches.

Using bench for ab exercises

#3: Twisting Upper Body, Isolating Lower Body

Bending, lifting, stretching, and simple household chores all use the muscle group across the middle band and sides of your core. Improving your mobility across this area of your abdominals will protect the muscles around the spine and add extra stability and proper posture to every movement. Exercises ideal for working this twisting motion include the Russian twist and the woodchopper.

#4: Twisting Lower Body, Isolating Upper Body

If you have lower back or thoracic spine issues, mastering this abdominal function and movement is essential to your return to health. Muscles in the lower abdominals work in tandem with the lower back, hips, and spine to protect vital structures in this area and improve balance and movement with every exercise. The windshield wiper and rotating leg raise exercises are excellent for the lower pelvic region.

#5: Bending the Torso From Side to Side

Working the lateral obliques — the muscles along your sides that are connected to your abdominal muscles — is a great way to trim and tone your waistline. Dumbbell oblique crunches, lying oblique crunches, and weighted side bends are all excellent ways to shave inches off your midsection.

#6: Isolated Resistance

Isometric resistance exercises are some of the most effective exercises for tightening, strengthening, and providing greater stability to core muscles. Any compound movement that demands greater strength and isolation of ab muscles adds serious strength gains. Excellent isolating exercises include planks, side planks, farmer walks, squats, and deadlifts.

Because your core is so complex, it makes sense to include several abdominal exercises in your core routine to address simple and compound functions. Your abdominal muscles are a formidable group of resilient fibers, able to take daily use and stress while performing their intended movement.

Add some of these fitness industry favorites to address all movements and muscles in your girdle.

Body Weight Abdominal Exercises

Even if you don't have a state-of-the-art home gym or gym membership, you can begin whittling that waistline and carve out your unique abdominal expression in the comfort of your living room. Try these bodyweight ab exercises to see and feel results.

Forearm Plank

Holding a forearm or extended arm plank takes tremendous strength in your back and abdominals. The plank is easily one of the most efficient exercises for core work, yet it also targets the hamstrings and glutes. The beauty of the plank is that it engages the entire body and creates tension and isolated resistance that produces true core strength.

Forearm plank ab exercise

Russian Twist

The Russian twist targets muscles in the center and upper abs while isolating lower abdominals in the most extreme versions of the twist. Consider elevating this move up on an ab bench if you feel your balance is exceptional, and hold a dumbbell to leverage your results. Make sure you can handle the extra weight!

Butterfly Sit-Up

Putting your feet together and letting your knees splay in a butterfly position prevents you from using your hip flexors, forcing good form and plenty of focus. Converting this to a butterfly leg raise targets the lower abs, as well.

Lying Oblique Heel Taps

The lying oblique heel tap is perfect for those with lower back and neck issues. Providing a stable base for working the muscles on your sides, you can easily twist and turn your way to a smaller waistline. As you get stronger, focus on lifting your head and shoulders off the ground while reaching for your heels, alternating on each side.

Next-Level Ab Bench Exercises

Adding an ab bench to your abdominal workout increases its effectiveness by giving you a wider range of motion and additional resistance options. An ab bench can be adjusted to different angles, letting you target specific muscle groups and increasing the intensity of almost any exercise.

Consider adding a few ab bench exercises to your body weight repertoire to round out your routine and slim down your physique.

Bench Crunch

The bench crunch is a more efficient variation of the floor crunch. Use the bench to isolate good form as you focus on contracting the abdominal muscles. Get the burn going by adding resistance bands or a dumbbell up by your collarbone as you crunch.

Can you hear those tiny screams of exhilaration yet?

Man on bench with six-pack abs

Knee Tuck Ups

This ab burner, also called the "in-and-out" exercise, is excellent for working core muscles and targeting flab below the belly button. For those that have mastered the tuck, challenge yourself by balancing on your tailbone with arms outstretched, adding an element of balance to your in-and-out motion. 

Incline Leg Hip Raise

Focus on the deepest layers of abdominal muscle with the incline leg hip raise. The steeper your bench angle, the more challenging this comprehensive movement will be. Play with different starting positions and degrees of leg extension as you progress in your strength-building process.

Side Plank With Leg Extension

Side plank modifications with an ab bench are even more effective with the need to balance as you perform the movement. The plank with leg extension also effectively targets muscles in the hips, glutes, and upper thighs, making this a great addition to your already vigorous workout routine.

The Missing Component for Visible Abs

Now that you've designed a comprehensive, effective ab workout for sculpting, tightening, and toning your core, take a well-deserved rest on your hard-earned laurels after a vigorous sweat session, right? Wrong!

Even with the best cardio and strength training workouts present in your routine, those ripped, rock-hard muscles need proper nutrition to entice them to pop up and be noticed.

Eating for Six

Fitness fanatics and health experts universally agree the single-most-important factor in achieving a beautiful six-pack is diet.

Men don't ever have to worry about "eating for two." However, if you want a male model middle, you need to "eat for six" — that abdominis gang called a six-pack.

The late Jack Lalane, a fitness and nutrition expert who died in 2011 at the age of 96, advocated the powerful combination of physical activity and eating well:

"Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you've got a kingdom."

Having and using proper nutrition strategies while following an abdominal strength protocol yields results faster and much more visibly, allowing you to shed belly fat and reveal lean, sculpted muscle.


Figuring out your daily calorie intake is integral to weight loss and ab-shredding success. Most people on a weight loss and workout plan begin losing body fat at a rate of about 13 calories for every pound of body weight.

As your body adjusts to higher levels of activity and better nutrition, you'll have to fight harder to peel away subcutaneous fat layers. Engaging in caloric cycling temporarily confuses your metabolism, stoking the fire and burning a few more calories when you need it most.


The next step in achieving six-pack ab perfection is to ensure that you have adequate protein intake. Consuming a high amount of protein raises your metabolic rate, prevents a loss of lean muscle mass, and reduces feelings of hunger.

When reducing your caloric intake to nine calories per pound of body weight, a higher protein content in your diet offers welcome relief from hunger pangs.


Despite what you may have heard from various diet advocates, carbohydrates are not inherently evil. Carbohydrates are an important part of a diet needed to create metabolic confusion that leads to more dramatic results, provided you accurately track and measure your macronutrients. By strategically raising and lowering your carbohydrate intake, your body burns more fat and reduces water retention, making you appear leaner.

To keep metabolic fires stoked, plan for a high-carb weekend every month. During this time, increase your carb intake while keeping protein levels consistent to avoid gaining back fat. This short boost is just what your body needs to burn additional calories for three to four days after your "binge weekend." 

Don't Forget the Fat!

Remember the fat when working toward your six-pack physique. A few grams per meal, sourced from healthy options like flax seeds, oils, nuts, and fatty fish boosts metabolism and protects muscles and joints from excessive wear and tear during workouts.

Healthy foods for six-pack abs

Don't eat anything immediately before and after your workouts, as it slows digestion. Between four and seven grams of fat during meals and snacks is ideal for optimizing your core results.

Your Core Results

Make your fitness goals a reality by incorporating good diet and exercise strategies into your daily routine. Building strong core muscles and following a proper nutrition plan is essential for achieving those six-pack abs you've been craving.

Proper nutrition regulates metabolism and energy levels. Targeted core exercises refine the abdominal area for maximum definition.

Take action now and look forward to uncovering sleek, sexy, six-pack abs!

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