Forget the six-pack obsession! Building a strong core is about more than just washboard abs. It’s the foundation for a powerful body, protecting your spine in everyday life and taking your workouts to the next level.

This isn’t your average ab routine. We’ve compiled 11 core exercises you can mix and match to create a customized workout that crushes your goals. From bodyweight blasts to equipment challenges, there’s something for everyone. Get ready to fire up your core and unlock hidden strength!

Why Core Strength Matters:

A strong core isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s the powerhouse that keeps you stable and supported, whether you’re lifting weights, chasing after the kids, or simply carrying groceries. By engaging your core effectively, you can:

  • Reduce Back Pain: A strong core takes the pressure off your spine, preventing injuries and aches (1).
  • Boost Performance: A solid core improves balance, coordination, and power, making you a more effective athlete in any activity (2).
  • Improve Everyday Movement: Core strength translates to better posture and support in daily tasks.

Ready to Build Your Core Empire?

Dive into our list of 11 core exercises, complete with exercise descriptions, suggested reps and sets, and modifications for different fitness levels. This guide is your blueprint for a stronger, more capable you!

The Best Ab Workouts for Men

Ab workouts for men at home

Getting a Six-Pack – Ab Workouts for Men

Getting a Six-Pack - Ab Workouts for Men

Let’s face it, the question we ALL have is: how do I get those shredded abs? But the truth is, the answer might not be what you want to hear. Building visible abs is a two-pronged attack: getting lean and building serious core strength.

That means shedding some weight by burning more calories than you consume (hello, delicious, healthy meals!), and incorporating targeted exercises to sculpt a strong core.

Now, before you embark on a quest for the perfect six-pack like your favorite celeb, here’s a reality check: genetics play a huge role, and achieving that magazine-cover look might not be realistic for everyone. But fear not! There’s a silver lining!

Building a rock-solid core, regardless of visibility, has amazing benefits that go way beyond aesthetics. We’re talking about improved posture, overall strength, and a body that feels fantastic!

Ready to ditch the six-pack hype and build a core that’s truly powerful? Let’s dive into a comprehensive ab routine that will have you feeling the burn (in a good way) and reaping the rewards!

11 Best Ab Workouts for Men

11 Must-Do Ab Workouts for a Six-Pack

You should aim to complete the following routine 2-3 times per week. This will give your muscles plenty of time to recover. Working your abs too often will lead to suboptimal results and it may even cause injury. 

If you don’t have the right equipment for any of the following exercises, fear not! You can make modifications to any exercise plan to fit your needs.

1. Toes to Bar

Toes to Bar ab exercises

The toes-to-bar movement is a favorite of many CrossFitters. This exercise requires tons of core strength in addition to grip capability.

If you don’t have a pull-up bar, you can do this move lying on your back on the floor, performing the same motion.

How to Perform:

  • Grasp the pull-up bar with an overhand grip (pronated).
  • Slowly, bring your toes up toward the bar while keeping your legs as straight as possible.
  • Then, gradually bring your legs back into the starting position, aiming to limit your sway as much as possible.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

2. Planks


Planks are an isometric exercise. This means that your joints don’t change angles during the movement. Rather, you maintain the same position, keeping your muscles tensed the whole time. Isometric exercises, such as planks, are great for building muscle endurance and strength.

How to Perform:

  • Place your forearms and toes on the floor, keeping your back flat.
  • Tighten your abs and glutes as hard as you can.
  • Hold this position for 3 sets of 30 seconds to 1 minute to start. As you get stronger, continue to increase your time spent in the plank.

3. Bird Dogs

This movement is extremely challenging for many people due to the unique balance demands inherent in the exercise. To properly perform the bird dog, you need to have strong stable muscles all throughout your core.

But if you don’t have much strength in this area yet, you’ll build it up quickly by simply working on your bird dogs regularly.

How to Perform:

  • Start on your hands and knees, with your knees right below your hips and your hands right below your shoulders.
  • Reach your right arm out in front of you as you simultaneously extend your left leg back behind you.
  • Hold this position for three seconds, then return to the starting position and complete on the opposite side.
  • Complete 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions per session.

4. Hollow Holds

Hollow Holds

Much like planks, hollow holds are an isometric exercise. A slight variation of this move is also seen in yoga classes, but in that setting, it is known as the “boat pose”.

How to Perform:

  • Lie flat on your back with your legs out straight and your arms extended all the way overhead.
  • Next, lift your legs a few inches off of the ground as you simultaneously flex your trunk off of the floor.
  • At this point, you should be in a slightly curved position, with your low back and hips on the ground and everything else held up.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times per session.

5. Windshield Wipers on Pull-Up Bar

Once again, you will need a pull-up bar to complete this exercise as it is described below. However, if you can’t access one, this move can be performed easily on the ground while lying on your back.

How to Perform:

  • Grasp the bar with whatever grip is most comfortable for you.
  • Keeping your knees straight, bring your toes up to the bar.
  • Then, allow both of your legs to fall to the right side while keeping your hips flexed.
  • Next, flip your legs up and to the left side.
  • Alternate between the left and right sides, mimicking the motion of a windshield wiper.
  • Complete 10 reps on each side for 3 sets per session.

6. Side Plank with Leg Raise

Side Plank with Leg Raise

This exercise provides an isometric stimulus for the oblique muscles. Furthermore, this move can improve balance by forcing you to stabilize on a narrow surface: one arm and one foot.

How to Perform

  • Lie on your left side, with your right foot stacked on top of your left.
  • Next, place your forearm on the floor.
  • Lift your hips and trunk off of the ground so that you are holding yourself up, in a straight line, using only your left foot and your left forearm.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times on each side per session.

7. Teapots 


Teapots provide a great stimulus for increasing oblique strength. This move uses an asymmetric setup in order to increase the activation of your core muscles.

How to Perform:

  • In standing, hold a weight in your right hand.
  • Next, tip toward your right side.
  • Then, stand back up straight by tightening your core muscles.
  • Complete 10-12 reps per set for 3 sets per session.

8. Back Squats

back squats ab exercises

Back squats require a barbell. That being said, you can simply perform bodyweight squats to get a similar result from this exercise.

How to Perform:

  • In standing, with your feet about shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and sit backward until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Then, straighten out your knees and bring your hips back forward in order to return to standing.
  • Complete 10-12 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

9. Pot Stirrers on Swiss Ball

If you don’t have a swiss ball at home, you should strongly consider investing in one. They are extremely cheap and very versatile. Movements like pot stirrers can completely transform your core workouts!

How to Perform:

  • Place your toes on the ground, spaced about hip-width apart.
  • At the same time, carefully balance the swiss ball with your forearms and hands.
  • Next, perform a clockwise motion, essentially “stirring” as if you were standing over a large pot of soup. 
  • Perform 10 clockwise rotations, then reverse the motion and complete 10 counterclockwise rotations. Complete 3 sets in each direction per session.

10. Plyo Sit-Ups with Med Ball

Plyometric ab exercises can build both power and strength throughout your core. This move is great for athletes, but can help anyone improve performance and strength!

How to Perform:

  • Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Your toes should be touching a firm, stable wall.
  • Hold a medicine ball in both hands, cradling it to your chest.
  • Next, perform an explosive sit-up and throw the ball at the wall as hard as you can.
  • Catch the ball and safely fall back into the down phase of the sit-up, completing the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, for 3 sets per session.

11. Battle Ropes: Double Rope Slam

Battle Ropes: Double Rope Slam

Last but not least, I recommend you include this power exercise in your routine. This will provide both cardiovascular exercise and a core strengthening stimulus all in one, neat movement.

How to Perform

  • Grasp the battle rope with both hands.
  • Raise the rope up high over your head, then slam it down to the ground as hard as you can.
  • Then, immediately raise the rope back up, and repeat the motion described above.
  • Complete 10-15 reps for 3 sets per session.

The Bottom Line On Ab Workouts for Men

Six-pack abs are hard to achieve, but they are not impossible to achieve! With the right diet, commitment to an effective program, and patience, you can develop great abs. Try this routine out and see what you think!

Works Cited

  1. Oliva-Lozano, J. M., & Muyor, J. M. (2020). Core Muscle Activity During Physical Fitness Exercises: A Systematic Review. International journal of environmental research and public health17(12), 4306.
  2. Rathore, M., Trivedi, S., Abraham, J., & Sinha, M. B. (2017). Anatomical Correlation of Core Muscle Activation in Different Yogic Postures. International journal of yoga10(2), 59–66.

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