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The Ultimate Ab Workouts For Men: The 8 Best Exercises For Sculpted Abs

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We all want to have a strong core.  

Core strength is vital for helping maintain proper posture, preventing low back pain and other injuries, improving movement mechanics, and optimizing athletic performance.

For this reason, beginners to advanced weightlifters alike often seek out good core workouts to help build core strength and definition.

But, what are the best ab exercises for men? 

In this article, we will provide step-by-step instructions for some of the best ab exercises for men so that you can put together the best ab workouts for men and get the sculpted and strong core you have always wanted:

A man with strong abs.

Let’s get going! 

The Best Ab Workout for Men

Here are some of the exercises you should include in the best ab workouts for men:

#1: Kettlebell Dead Bug Pullover

The dead bug is one of the best beginner-friendly core exercises to help strengthen the deep muscles of the core and improve spinal stability.

You can progress this exercise by adding a kettlebell or dumbbell and doing a pullover with the weight.

The external resistance will transform the bodyweight exercise into a more effective core muscle-building exercise.

Here are the steps to perform this functional anti-rotation ab exercise:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent to 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor, and arms pointing straight up towards the ceiling, holding a kettlebell.
  2. Inhale, engaging your abs, then slowly lower one foot towards the floor until your toe nearly taps down while simultaneously extending the kettlebell straight back behind your head towards the floor without touching it.
  3. Keep the other leg and arm steady at the starting position.
  4. Raise the leg and kettlebell back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.
  5. Complete 10-15 total rounds of both legs.

#2: Single-Leg Pallof Press

The best abs workout for men includes anti-rotation core exercises because one of the key functions of the abs and core is to stabilize the trunk and spine while the limbs are moving.

The single-leg Pallof press improves functional core strength because you are reducing your base of support, which requires much greater activation of all of your core muscles, as well as the stabilizer muscles in your hips and ankles.

Do not allow your arms to be pulled inward toward the anchor point.

Here are the steps for this ab exercise:

  1. Secure a resistance band with a handle to an anchor point at chest height. 
  2. Position yourself so that your body is angled 90 degrees from the band.
  3. Hold the handle of the band at your sternum. You should be far enough away from the band’s anchor point so that there is significant tension on the band in the starting position such that it’s trying to pull you in towards the anchor.
  4. Stand on the one leg closest to the anchor, lifting the other leg off the ground.
  5. Engage your abs and glutes as you press the handle straight out in front of your sternum. 
  6. Complete 15 slow reps and then switch sides.

#3: Rotational Pulse

This core exercise is similar to the Pallof press in terms of positioning, but instead of pushing the band straight out, you’ll begin in the end position (arms straight out from your chest) and then make small pulses to the opposite side, pulling away from the anchor point.

Keep your core tight, and use your obliques to prevent your trunk from twisting while your arms are rotating.

Your elbows should stay straight the entire time.

Complete 25-50 pulses and then switch sides.

#4: BOSU Tilts

This one of our best ab exercises for men (and everyone) targets your superficial and deep core muscles. It especially activates the rectus abdominis and lower back stabilizers.

To perform this ab exercise:

  1. Get in a forearm plank position with your forearms on the flat side of a BOSU ball with the bubble side down on the ground. Make sure to keep your hips up and glutes engaged. Your whole body should be in a straight line from the top of your head to your feet.
  2. Press into your forearms as you tilt the BOSU all the way inwards towards your chest and then all the way away from your body.
  3. Go slowly back and forth (the slower, the better) 20 times.

#5: Three-Way Hanging Leg Raises

The best abs workout for men includes ab exercises like this one that works all fibers of the rectus abdominis, especially the hard-to-target lower abs, along with the internal and external obliques.

Make sure to only use your abs to lift your legs. Do not swing your body or use momentum to help you.

Here are the steps for this abs exercise to include in the best core workouts for men:

  1. Grab onto a pull-up bar or the bar at the top of a squat rack with your palms facing forward. 
  2. Hang in the fully extended position, holding your upper body and torso as stationary as possible.
  3. Use your abs to draw your knees up to your chest in a tuck position. Advanced athletes can keep their knees straight and pull their legs up so that their body forms the letter L.
  4. Hold your legs up for 2–3 seconds, and then slowly lower your legs.
  5. Then, complete the same movement, but instead of bringing the knees or legs straight up the middle of your chest, angle them towards the right shoulder.
  6. Slowly lower and then lift towards the right shoulder.
  7. All three directions together constitute one rep.
  8. Complete 12-15 reps.

#6: Cable Kneeling Crunches

The kneeling cable crunch is an effective ab cable exercise for men. The cable machine provides tension throughout the range of motion to strengthen and sculpt your abs.

Here are the steps for performing this cable ab exercise for the best core workouts for men:

  1. Set the pulley to the highest setting and secure the rope attachment.
  2. Kneel down about 3 feet in front of the cable machine, gripping the end of the rope in each hand as you get into position. Make sure your back is straight, your chest is up, your shoulders are relaxed and down, and your core and glutes are tight.
  3. Contract your abs as hard as possible as you crunch your torso and head down toward the floor.
  4. Hold the bottom position, squeezing your abs for 3-5 seconds.
  5. As slowly as possible, return to the starting position, resisting the pull of the weight stack.
  6. Perform 8-15 reps, depending on your fitness level and training goals.

#7: Weighted V Ups With Reaches

V ups are one of the best lower abs exercises for men. You can add ankle weights and hold a dumbbell or medicine ball to increase the intensity to build ab strength and definition. 

The reach portion further activates the deep core muscles and the entire length of the rectus abdominis. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended over your head, holding a dumbbell or medicine ball between your two hands and ankle weights on your ankles.
  2. Use your abs to simultaneously lift your legs and upper body off the floor, folding your body at your hips into a letter V. 
  3. Then, push further, reaching the weight in your hands up towards your toes.
  4. Pause and then slowly lower your body back towards the floor without fully touching it before initiating the next rep.
  5. Complete 10-15 reps.

#8: Split Squat Rotational Wall Ball Tosses

To strengthen your core, lower body, and shoulders, try this medicine ball exercise in your ab workouts.

You will have to hold an isometric contraction in your lower body as you hold the lunge, which will get your quads and glutes on fire while your torso and arms are dynamically moving.

This disparity challenges your stability and core strength.

Here are the steps to perform this total-body functional core exercise:

  1. Hold a medicine ball in at your sternum with your elbows tucked in towards your sides.
  2. Step about 3 feet away from the wall and turn your body 90 degrees from the wall.
  3. Drop down into a split squat position, bending each knee 90 degrees.
  4. Straighten your arms so that the ball is straight out in front of you. 
  5. Then, sweep your arms towards your outer hip, moving in a downward arc while keeping your arms straight.
  6. Engage your abs and obliques to forcefully rotate your torso only, keeping your static lunge position planted while you bring your arms up and towards the wall thrusting the ball to the wall.
  7. Catch the ball on the rebound and control the momentum as you guide your arms in the arc back towards your opposite hip. Keep your core and glutes engaged the entire time.
  8. Complete 15 to 20 rapid reps, moving as forcefully as you can, and then switch sides.

There you have it! Our very best exercises to put together your best ab workouts for men.

To optimize the functional strength of your core, try to pick a handful of exercises that target different muscles of the core in your ab workouts. If you are doing ab workouts several times per week, choose different exercises, if possible, on different days.

For more core workout ideas, check out our guide here.

A leg lift in a ab workout for men.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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