Fit and muscly man and woman standing next to each other in black and white

You've heard of the six pack. You may have even heard of the eight pack.

But about the ten pack?

Is such a thing possible?

Yes. Yes it is.

In fact, so much so, that you actually already have one. The difficulty comes in making it visible.

So, where to begin?

Firstly, let's go through the common training myths when it comes to developing your abs.

Ab training myths:

  • Core work should be done everyday – when it comes to training your abs, you should be approaching your training regime in the same way as you do any other muscle. Ever set out to do 1,000 bicep curls in one go? Of course not. And the same goes for your abs. So many people do core work as a daily add-on. However, it's about quality not quantity. Do fewer reps and increase the intensity to get a more valuable workout.
  • Ab work flattens your stomach – unfortunately you can't target fat reduction. Everyone has abs before you even start working out. Specific muscle building type training will help to make them more visible, but the only way to get completely ripped is to cut down on carbs and reduce your calorie intake to lower your body fat percentage.
  • Everyone can get ripped – technically this isn't a myth, but some people will find it harder than others. Naturally, women have a higher body fat percentage than men so already, showing off those rectus abdominis muscles is going to be no mean feat. Other factors include age, genetics, hormones and body type.

So, already you can see how much goes into obtaining that all important V-cut and how many factors need to be considered. However, that doesn't mean it's not something to work towards. Just remember your main target here is to build strength, develop muscle and get a good quality workout that balances your core.

Ready to get started?

Lower ab workout using a weight bench

Our ab workout has focused on using a weight bench. Most of us are used to training on a gym mat. But by using the bench as a platform, you get the option of decline and deficit work – vital for training the lower part of your core.

The exercises:

Knee to chest crunches

How to do them: Sit up on the weight bench longways, with your knees bent. Angle your back to around 45 degrees – or lower if you prefer – and keep your spine straight. Lift your feet off the ground and straighten your legs out in front of you. Then, bring your knees into your chest, making sure you squeeze your abs as they get to their farthest point. Bring your chest towards your knees as you do so. Then return your upper body to its 45 degree angle and straighten your legs back out.

How the weight bench helps: Controlling this exercise can be difficult so many people end up not getting the most out of their workout when they do it on the floor. By performing these on the weight bench, you can grip onto the sides which allows for a more stable workout.

Young man doing knee to chest on a weight bench

Russian twists

How to do them: Sit up on the weight bench (longways) and hold a weight (such as a bumper plate, medicine ball or dumbbell) with both hands. With bent knees, lift your feet off the ground and lean back slightly into a 45-degree angle while keeping your back straight. Move the weight from side-to-side to a level that's below your hip bone.

How the weight bench helps: By doing this exercise on the weight bench, you can lower the weight farther than if you were just training on the floor. This allows for a greater extension so you can target all the way down to the lower parts of your obliques.

Young man doing russian twists on a weight bench with a weight plate

Reverse crunches

How to do them: Lie down longways on the weight bench. Grab the bench with your hands either side of your head. With your legs out straight, bring your knees into your chest while keeping your back flat on the bench.

How the weight bench helps: Holding on to the weight bench will help not only with stability but with ensuring this exercise is done efficiently.

Young man doing reverse crunches

Bicycles

How to do them: This exercise is usually done by cycling your legs round as if on a bike with your elbows meeting the opposite knee on each cycle as you crunch inwards. This of course is a great exercise. The difference here however is that instead of getting your arms involved, you lean back and hold onto the weight bench for stability.

How the weight bench helps: By leaning back and holding onto the bench, you automatically target the lower abs. This is because you've creating a more obtuse angle, forcing your lower core to engage and support your weight.

Young man doing bicycle crunches on a weight bench

Knee to elbows

How to do them: Get into a press up position with your feet on the bench and your arms on the floor. Lift your hips slightly and bring your arms in closer to the bench so you are in a more triangular type shape. Keep your arms straight. Start with your right leg. Keeping it straight, lift it up towards the ceiling to engage your glutes and then bend it down towards your left elbow. Straighten it back out and down. Then do the same on the opposite side, using your left leg and bring it down to your right elbow.

How the weight bench helps: The weight bench not only provides a stable platform for you to do these but having a decline option allows you to focus your whole core – including your lower and upper rectus abdominus muscles, but also your posterior chain.

Young man doing knee to elbows on a weight bench

Leg raises

How to do them: Lie on the weight bench longways keeping your body straight. Grip onto the bench with your hands either side of your head. Keeping your legs straight, lift them both up at the same time until they are at a right angle with your upper body. Lower them back down again in a controlled manner. You can do this same exercise but with your hips at the edge of the bench so your legs start off on the ground.

How the weight bench helps: The weight bench in this instance is not only for stability as you work out but also to provide a deficit for greater extension and more emphasis on your lower abs.

 

Young man doing leg raises on weight bench

These are all fantastic exercises for targeting your lower abs. When looking to focus this area, many of the exercises involve fewer crunches and more leg raises. Because of this, you can intensify your workout by wearing ankle weights.

Exercises such as hip lifts, decline planks, decline mountain climbers and decline jack planks will also really benefit your lower abs.

 

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