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05,Sep reviewed by Daniel Taylor
Developing strong, sculpted abs is a goal for many gym-goers. Thankfully, a variety of effective equipment at your gym can target the abdominal muscles and take your core strength to the next level.
Resistance bands are extremely versatile for working the core. Attach bands to a rack and perform standing crunches, rotations and anti-rotation holds that challenge your abs isometrically. You can adjust band tension to modify difficulty. Bands are also highly portable so you can train abs almost anywhere.
Slamming medicine balls into the ground powerfully works the entire core to resist rotation and decelerate the ball. Perform overhead slams, sideways throws and chop patterns to hit the abs in multiple planes of motion. The instability of medicine balls also engages many stabilizer muscles for balance.
Grab a light weight plate and perform timed sets of plate crunches, side bends, seated twists and other moves. The added resistance challenges the abs without heavy loading on the spine like weighted crunches. Start with a 5-10 lb plate. This simple, cheap equipment targets abs through their fullest range of motion.
Battle rope waves are an intense ab and full-body workout. Keeping the ropes moving smoothly requires bracing the core repeatedly to resist rotation. The faster you can churn the ropes, the quicker it torches calories and strengthens the entire core.
The unique instability of a BOSU ball makes any bodyweight ab exercise more challenging. Put feet on top of the dome to perform planks, mountain climbers or knee tucks. Or place hands on the platform for decline pushup variations. The BOSU forces core muscles to fire for stabilization.
TRX Suspension Trainer
TRX is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment for abs. The straps allow your body to lever in multiple angles and planes to fully work the rectus abdominis, obliques and transverse abdominis through their fullest ranges. Planks, pikes and atomic knee raises burn out the core.
Ab Wheel Rollout
This inexpensive piece of equipment works the abs through an often weak range of motion - full extension. Rolling out while stabilizing challenges the core dynamically. Progress slowly to avoid lower back pain. 3-5 rollouts with perfect form strengthens the core tremendously.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exercises work lower abs the most?
Decline crunches and leg lifts primarily target the lower rectus abdominis. Hanging knee/leg raises, reverse crunches, weighted decline crunches and ab wheel rollouts are very effective.
How many days a week should I train abs?
2-3 focused ab sessions spaced out during the week is optimal. Ensure 48 hours recovery between sessions. Abs can be trained more frequently than other muscle groups.
How long does it take to get 6-pack abs?
Visible 6-pack abs takes consistent training and a low body fat percentage. Most men need 10-12% body fat or lower to reveal a 6-pack - which can take 12+ weeks of dieting and training. Genetics also plays a role.
Should I do abs before or after a workout?
You can perform ab exercises before or after your workout with equal effectiveness. Some people fatigue their abs first so they remain tense during compound lifts. Others prefer training abs at the end. Do what feels best for your routine.
What makes abs show more?
The main factors are low body fat percentage, well-developed ab muscles, and genetics. Stay patient through fat loss plateaus. Consistently challenge your abs with progressive overload and they will pop eventually.
The road to 6-pack abs starts with torturing your core with the right gym equipment. Bands, balls, ropes and more can be be used to fry your abs through full ranges of motion and multiple movement planes. Combine smart core training with proper nutrition to finally achieve the washboard abs you desire.