Whether you’re a powerlifter, bodybuilder, Crossfitter, or gymnast, you should develop your abdominal muscles to boost your performance. You’ll see countless exercises on the web for building six-pack abs, but I’ll share the only ten advanced ab workouts for experienced fitness enthusiasts who want to maximize their core strength.
Maximizing core strength and exposing six-pack muscles can be challenging, but with a proper diet and the best exercises, you’ll be able to achieve them.
Getting beefy six-pack abs depends on multiple things, such as workouts, nutrition, and recovery. And if you manage these things properly, you’ll make your abs muscular, ripped, and defined.
Best Advanced Ab Workout To Build Sturdy Core
The best ab workout for advanced bodybuilders needs to be challenging but must not put any excessive strain on the hips and lower back. Advanced bodybuilders can achieve the ripped six-pack abs with these effective and advanced ab workouts.
- Toe to Bar
- Dragon Flag
- Extended Plank
- Weighted Hollow Hold
- Hanging Windshield Wiper
- Hanging Knee to Elbow
- Weighted Leg Raises
- Ab Wheel Rollout
- Sliding Knee Tuck
You can do most of the advanced ab exercises at home, but to perform others, you may need to be in the gym.
The V-up is one of the best movements to scale you up for the hardest ab exercises. It strengthens the entire core muscles, particularly the rectus abdominish.
It helps thicken your six-pack abs muscles, improve mobility, and maximize athletic performance.
Let’s see how to do it step-by-step:
- Lie on the floor and extend your arms behind your head.
- Lift your legs slightly off the floor.
- Keeping your knees and elbows straight, bring your feet and hands toward each other until your fingers meet your toes, so your body forms a “V” position.
- Contracting your abs, pause for a couple of seconds, and then return to the start. That’s one rep!
- Do it as many times as possible.
2. Toes to Bar
The toes to bar is primarily a calisthenics abs workout. However, every fitness enthusiast who wants to sculpt their abdominal muscles can do it. Besides the core, it engages multiple muscles throughout the body, such as arms, back, and legs.
It is one of the best abdominal workouts you can do to build up your whole abdominal area. Additionally, it helps you improve your balance, speed, and grip strength, as well as boost your confidence and motivation.
To perform a toes-to-bar: Grip the pullup bar with an overhand grip and maintain at least shoulder-width distance between your hands. Keep your legs straight and together, and brace your abdominal muscles. Raise your legs in front of you until your toes touch the bar. Pause and return your legs to the start as you brought it up.
The standard tips you can consider while doing a toes-to-bar.
- Keep your face forward, do not look up.
- Wrap your thumbs to grip the bar firmly.
- Avoid excess swinging by doing it in a controlled fashion.
3. Dragon Flag
When it comes to building a perfect six-pack, it’s not enough to just do crunches. A well-designed training program must include advanced ab exercises like the dragon flag.
The dragon flag is one of the hardest ab exercises you can do to forge your entire core muscles, such as rectus abdominish and obliques.
How to do it:
- Lie on the flat gym bench and bend your elbows to grab its edge with your arms beside your ears.
- Brace your core, thigh, and glutes, and contracting your core lift your legs as high as possible. Try not to bend your knees throughout the movement.
- Now, slowly lower your legs in a controlled manner without loosening your body or letting any part of your lower body touch the bench.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps and sets.
It is one of the toughest abs workouts, so please take your trainer’s help before executing it.
4. Extended Plank
The standard plank is an excellent abdominal exercise. But advanced muscle builders should be doing more to forge the abdominal muscles effectively.
You can modify your plank to make it more effective. The extended plank is one of the modified variations of planks that sculpt your abs and build a powerful core.
Besides strengthening the midsection, the extended plank also improves balance, endurance, and focus.
How to do it:
- Sit on your knees, extend your arms in front of you, and place your hands on the floor.
- Kick your legs behind and keep only your toes on the ground.
- Brace your core, slightly lift your hips up, and maintain a flat back. Stay in that position for long as you can hold.
To make it more challenging, you can put weight on your back.
5. Weighted Hollow Hold
The weighted hollow hold is one of the best isometric core workouts. It strengthens the entire abdominal muscles, including the deeper abs, and helps build a defined midsection. It will make your core burn in just 10 to 15 seconds.
There’s no doubt that it’s an excellent movement. However, the form is essential to perform it efficiently.
Below you can see how to do it stepwise.
- Holding a weight plate, lie on the floor with your legs straight.
- Extend your arms behind your head and hold the weight firmly.
- Slightly lift your legs and upper back off the floor.
- Keep your abdominal muscles and legs tight.
- Hold in this position for as long as possible.
6. Hanging Windshield Wiper
If you want to maximize your core strength, you may want to try some of the challenging advanced ab workouts, for example, hanging windshield wiper. A hanging wiper is an absolute workout that works on multiple muscles simultaneously, such as lats, arms, hips, and especially rectus abdominish and obliques.
Whether you want to build a solid core or scale your fitness to the next level, the handing windshield wiper can be an excellent workout. You can do it with and without weight, depending on your fitness.
Here are the steps to do it:
- Grab a pullup bar with an overhand or neutral grip, hands shoulder-width apart.
- Lifting your legs straight and together, lift them up until your heels face the ceiling.
- Brace your core, thighs, and glute. That’s the start.
- Lower your legs to the right about 90 degrees, and then bring them all way to the left.
- Continue doing it as long as you maintain proper form.
If you use a pullup bar to perform advanced ab exercises, you can check out as many as sixteen pullup core workouts.
7. Hanging Knee to Elbow
For heavy lifters, the biggest challenge is keeping the abdominal muscles strong and tight. A powerful core helps maximize your lifting and athletic performance and reduce the risk of injuries.
You can do multiple weighted exercises to power up your core strength. But bodyweight abs exercises like hanging knee-to-elbow is an excellent way to bolster your abdomen muscles while improving your grip strength and body balance.
To perform this exercise:
- Get onto the pullup bar with your arms straight and hands shoulder-width apart.
- Lift your legs and bring your knees to touch your elbows. You’ll feel the full contraction in your core.
- Contracting your abs, pause for two seconds, and then return your knees to the start.
8. Weighted Leg Raises
Targeting the lower abs is important for all bodybuilders. But to convince these stubborn muscles to grow, you have to throw them in the fire. And the best way to hit your lower abs is through leg lifts or raises. Leg raises strengthen and tone lower abdominal muscles and help expose six-pack muscles.
A study has also shown that the leg raises elicit higher activation in the rectus abdominis than the plank.1 Park DJ, Park SY. Which trunk exercise most effectively activates abdominal muscles? A comparative study of plank and isometric bilateral leg raise exercises. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2019;32(5):797-802. doi: 10.3233/BMR-181122. PMID: 30856100.
You can do weighted leg raises with a dumbbell or cable machine, whichever equipment you use.
Here’s how you can do a dumbbell leg lift:
- Lie on the floor with your face up and legs straight.
- Clamp a dumbbell between your feet and keep your hands under your glute for support.
- Slightly lift your upper back and brace your core.
- Now, keeping your legs straight and together, raise them until they are pointing at the ceiling. You can bring your legs closer to your forehead if you like.
- Return your legs to the starting point. That’s one rep.
9. Ab Wheel Rollout
If you really want to challenge your abs, try this advanced core workout. The Ab Wheel rollout is an excellent exercise to burn fat, tone your muscles and improve strength and flexibility.
To perform the rollout exercise, you need an ab wheel roller or barbell and weight plate, you can use the one that contracts your abs highly.
Here are the steps to perform the ab wheel rollout:
- Sit on your knees, grab a wheel and place it on the floor in front of you.
- Keeping your arms straight and core tight, roll the wheel as far as possible or until your torso is parallel to the floor.
- Reverse the movement to complete one rep.
10. Sliding Knee Tuck
If you want six-pack abs, you need to lose body fat. But remember, there’s more to a good ab workout than just crunches, and sliding knee tuck is one of them. Sliding knee tuck is one of the hardest ab exercises that hits the entire core muscles and builds a beefy six-pack.
Besides abs and oblique, slider knee tuck strengthen various muscles throughout the body and helps improve mobility and muscle coordination.
Put on socks or use a slider to do this exercise. Here’s how to do it:
- First, start in a high plank position with your arms straight directly below your shoulders.
- Engage your core, glutes, and thighs and slide your feet inward, bringing your knees close to your elbows.
- Keeping your abdominal muscles engaged, pause for a couple of seconds and then slide back to return to the start.
- Try to maintain your spine as neutral as possible.
Advanced Core Workout Routine
Here are a couple of workout routines for building up a solid core and six-pack abs.
15-20 minute Advanced Ab Workout Routine at Home
Perform three rounds with 2-minute rest in between.
- V-up Crunches – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
- Extended Plank – 60-sec hold, 30-sec rest
- Sliding Knee Tuck – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
- Weighted Hollow Hold – 15-20 seconds hold, 30-sec rest
- Dragon Flag – 5 reps
30-Minute Abs Workout for Advanced Lifters
Perform two rounds with 1-2 minute intervals time between them.
- Hanging Windshield Wiper – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
- V-up Crunches – 60-sec hold, 30-sec rest
- Toe to Bar – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
- Weighted Hollow Hold – 15-20 seconds hold, 30-sec rest
- Ab Wheel Rollout – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
- Dragon Flag – 4-6 reps, 30-sec rest
- Extended Plank – 60-sec hold, 30-sec rest
- Hanging Knee to Elbow – 60-sec hold, 30-sec rest
- Weighted Leg Raises – 10 reps, 30-sec rest
- Sliding Knee Tuck – 10 reps
FAQs about Advanced Ab Exercises
How often should you train your abs?
You can train your abs workouts once to thrice a week, primarily after strength training. For example, if you work out 15 minutes a day, you can train your abs three times a week, and if you train your core 30 minutes a day, two times is sufficient.
When is the best time to do Abs workout?
The best time to work out your abs is when you’re most energetic and fresh. It could be morning, afternoon, or evening. But avoid training your abs at night and just after you woke up in the morning because these times are not suitable for training abs.
Can I Do Abs Workout On An Empty Stomach?
Your body uses glucose or fat for fuel when you do abs workouts on an empty stomach, which is suitable for fat burning, but I suggest you take some light pre-workout snacks or drinks prior to exercise for an effective session.
It’s true that you can’t reduce fat from a specific muscle group, like the abdomen. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your core definition by training with harder ab exercises.
If you’re a bodybuilder at an advanced stage in your training, you may want to try a few of these ab workouts. They are sure to help you build a compelling set of abs.
However, how quickly your abs grow – depend on multiple things, such as:
- How much body fat percentage do you have
- How much do you do the compound lifting, isolation abs workout, and cardio,
- How do you maintain your nutrition,
- And how much time you give your muscles to recover.
If you take care of all these things, you’ll see the visible change quickly.
If you’re serious about muscle building, check out these couple of bodybuilding workout programs.
- The Best 6 Day Gym Workout Schedule For Strength and Gain
- The Ultimate 7 Day Gym Workout Plan for Maximum Growth
- 1Park DJ, Park SY. Which trunk exercise most effectively activates abdominal muscles? A comparative study of plank and isometric bilateral leg raise exercises. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2019;32(5):797-802. doi: 10.3233/BMR-181122. PMID: 30856100.