If you are looking to build a stronger core and develop all of your abdominal muscles so that you can achieve that much sought-after six-pack, you will probably know that it is hard to achieve this goal in a short space of time.
That’s because you need to reduce your body fat percentage first and foremost, which itself can take quite a long time, before doing lots of abs workouts (or lots of compound exercises that also happen to work your abs) in order to get plenty of muscle definition.
However if you are already fairly lean and looking to achieve fast results, Jeff Cavaliere, the highly respected trainer and physical therapist who came up with the Athlean-X Training System, has come up with this 22-day abs workout challenge that is designed to hit your abs hard:
This workout is suitable for people of all fitness levels because you can do each exercise to extinction and continue doing extra rounds as you start to progress (resting for 10 seconds between each round), and although it only consists of six core exercises, these exercises compliment each other perfectly because they will hit all of your core abdominal muscles.
Plus the real benefit of this workout is that it doesn’t require any equipment at all, which means that you can easily do it in the comfort of your own home if you so wish.
You should aim to perform this workout for 22 straight days with no rest days at all, which may sound counterproductive, but as Jeff points out, the abs are built for high volume and can easily handle regular training sessions.
You will see that some of these exercises may be familiar to you, but there are others that are not commonly included in many abs workouts.
So let’s take a closer look at all of the individual abs exercises that are included in this workout:
Heels To The Heavens
The first exercise primarily targets your lower abs because by starting off by lying down on the floor, you will be raising your legs upwards and pushing your heels up towards the ceiling in one movement, lifting your hips off the floor as you do so.
The next stage is to lower your legs back down to the floor, but prevent them from actually touching the floor so that your abs are really engaged, which is the really challenging part. As Jeff points out in the video, if you are a beginner who finds this difficult, then don’t lower your legs as much and start off from a slightly more elevated position instead.
You should aim to do this exercise for 45 seconds, or until you reach extinction level. If you are capable of doing more, rest for 10 seconds and then repeat it again and again until you cannot complete any more rounds, which applies to all of the following exercises as well.
Step Through Planks
Next up is the step through plank, which is a more challenging version of the conventional plank. With this move, you will start off in a plank position and then push each leg underneath the other one and out to the side, rotating your hips as you do so.
The important point here is to keep your shoulders, forearms and upper body in a fixed position so that you are only moving your legs and rotating your hips with each rep.
You should aim to continue doing these step through planks for 45 seconds or until extinction, as explained above.
X Man Crunch
The next move is a dual movement that brings the upper and lower body together to really engage your core abdominal muscles. This has been named the X Man crunch because you are required to lie on the floor in an X position with your arms and legs spread out, before raising both your upper and lower body together and touching your legs with your hands as you do so.
To get the most out of this move, you should avoid dropping your arms and legs to the floor on the downward movement to engage your abs even more and make it a lot more effective.
You should aim to do one round of 12 reps and continue to extinction.
Alternating Thread The Needle
The next phase of this workout targets the obliques and is one of the more complex movements because you are required to start off in a plank position, reach up to the ceiling with your arm, bring it back underneath your body and then reach up to the ceiling once again to complete one rep.
It looks fairly easy, but this is one of those exercises that may require a little bit of practice if you have never done it before.
With this particular exercise, you should aim to do 10 reps on each side to complete one round, and then continue to extinction.
Jackknife in this instance refers to the act of moving your body into a bent up position, and is not that difficult to perform because you are required to lie on the floor, lift your upper body upwards, and raise each leg one after the other with each repetition.
It is made more difficult (and more effective) by the fact that your head, shoulders and feet should remain off the floor at all times.
You should aim to continue doing this particular exercise for 45 seconds and continue to extinction.
The final move is a variation of the classic bicycle exercise that is commonly included in many abs workouts. This has always been one of the most effective abs exercises, but this version is even more effective because it makes sure that you are actually contracting your abs with each rep.
That’s because your lower body remains stationary at all times, hence the name. Therefore you can focus entirely on fully contracting your abs as you bring one elbow to the opposite knee. You just need to make sure that you are not pulling your head or your neck with your hands because this could easily cause some degree of neck pain.
With this final exercise you should aim to do one round of 30 seconds and continue doing further rounds until you cannot do any more, as with all of the previous moves.
If you keep doing this entire workout every day for 22 days, you should find that your core will slowly get stronger and you will be able to do more rounds as time goes by, which should ultimately lead to some impressive looking abs at the end of this period.
Of course there are other abs workouts available. For example, there are plank challenges that will strengthen your core over 30 days, but this workout already includes a more effective variation of the plank exercise, and will hit all of your core abdominal muscles.