Ab exercises in the gym for men

Abs are one of the main reasons why men go to the gym. They begin to actively perform abdominal exercises in the gym and even see some progress in the first weeks of training. However, very soon he freezes in place. As a result, never getting the desired abs, athletes give up on their goals, complaining about genetics and other factors. In 99% of cases, the reason is that abdominal training in the gym and the entire approach to training are chosen incorrectly. This is a problem that requires a comprehensive solution, starting from choosing effective abdominal exercises in the gym and ending with nutrition control and recovery.

Features of abdominal training in the gym

First Where a man should start on his way to getting a six-pack of belly fat is an understanding of two basic truths:

  1. Abdominal training in the gym can only increase muscle volume (that is, make the abs more massive and noticeable).
  2. Diet and expenditure of calories to burn subcutaneous fat is all that is needed for the relief of the abdominal area.

Without a diet, even the largest abs will be hidden behind a layer of fat (even if the man is not overweight). This is a feature of the body and classic male obesity. However, without pumping up your abs in the gym, your abs won’t stand out much. This muscle zone is too weak to hypertrophy and is also highly dependent on genetics. Therefore, diet and abdominal training in the fitness room should only be used in tandem. Otherwise, you will develop functionality, but visually the abs will remain far from ideal.

The second common mistake is the approach to training. Many athletes decide that to get results they need to do abdominal exercises in the gym as often as possible. However, the abdominal muscles are no different from other groups. They also require restoration and the presence of all factors for growth (amino acids, stress, etc.). The optimal scheme for group training looks like this:

  • One full workout per week or 3 short sessions after training other muscle groups.
  • No more than 3 exercises for short sessions or 5-6 for an entire abs workout in the gym.
  • No more than 12-15 repetitions per set (3-4 sets for each movement).
  • Slow pace of execution with proper breathing (exhale for peak contraction of the abdominal muscles) and delay at the peak point.
  • Smooth execution without jerking or inertia.
  • Minimize static movements.

The last point applies to exercises such as the plank. They will help develop static endurance but are almost useless if a man’s goal is to pump up his abs in the gym. It is important that the muscle contracts and does not work in a static mode.

It is important to remember that the abdominal muscles are closely related to the back group, being their antagonists. This means that without back training it is hardly possible to achieve an aesthetic sports figure. Moreover, excessive “passion” for abdominal exercises in the gym can lead to worsening posture and other problems associated with muscle imbalance.

6 best abdominal exercises in the gym

The number of possible abdominal exercises in the fitness room is quite large, so you should choose the most effective ones among them.

1. Crunches

The most popular abdominal exercise in the gym for men and women. Effectively works almost the entire rectus abdominis muscle. It is often done incorrectly, so it is important to understand the specifics of the movement and its features.


  1. Lie on the floor, legs bent at the knees, the emphasis placed on the foot. Hands behind your head or crossed over your chest.
  2. Slowly lift your upper body until your shoulder blades lift off the floor and twist your body, trying to pull your head towards your feet as much as possible.
  3. At the peak point, exhale, hold for 1-2 seconds and slowly return to the starting position.

Classic crunches

Important so that the tension in the abdominal muscles remains throughout the entire approach.

2. Raising the body from a lying position

If crunches are more suitable for targeted training of the rectus abdominis muscle, situps help distribute the load across all core muscles (with minimal involvement of the oblique muscles).


  1. Sit on the floor, bend your knees, and fix your feet (this can be anything, for example, a machine). Hands behind your head or crossed over your chest.
  2. Lean back at a moderate pace (your back can be slightly rounded for a natural body position, but without a strong “arch”).
  3. Without pausing, start lifting up, returning to the starting position.


Sit-ups are an abdominal exercise in the gym that It’s better to do it in multi-repetition mode (25-50 reps per set).

3. Hanging Leg Raise

One of the best movements for working out your lower abs. Technically challenging, but if done correctly it will provide incredibly rapid progression. If the gym has abdominal and abdominal exercise machines with elbow support, then it is better to perform the movement in them. Otherwise, a regular crossbar will do.


  1. Hang on the horizontal bar (or on your elbows in a machine), with your legs together.
  2. Slowly lift them while bending your knees.
  3. Bring your legs to the level where your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause for 1 second and slowly lower them to the starting position.

Leg raises on parallel bars

It’s important to follow so that during execution the body does not dangle back and forth, it is also necessary to eliminate inertia.

4. Cross crunches

Great movement for the obliques.


  1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Hands behind your head (elbows pointing to the sides).
  2. Begin to lift your shoulder blades off the floor, bringing your body towards your legs.
  3. Rotate your body so that your right elbow reaches your left knee, then return to the starting position.

Diagonal crunches

The exercise can be done “one-two”, when one repetition is a bilateral rotation (first with the right elbow, then with the left elbow to the right knee), and also alternately.

5. Hanging leg raises with abduction to the side

An incredibly powerful movement for the obliques. Ideal for a man to pump up his abs in the gym. Performed in the same way as regular lifts, but with the legs turned out.


  1. Hang on the bar and begin to lift your legs, bending them at the knees.
  2. In the middle of the amplitude, move both legs (brought together) to the side, raising them to a level parallel to the floor.
  3. Pause, then repeat the same movement on the other side.

It is very important to do the exercise slowly, with pauses at the peak point.

6. Exercise “prayer”

This is the best abdominal exercise in the gym when it comes to lifting heavy weights. “Prayer” powerfully loads the rectus abdominis muscle with a bias towards the upper part. Performed in a mode of 8-10 repetitions, but with a progressive load (so that the last 2-3 repetitions bring failure closer).


  1. Place a rope handle on the top block of a crossover (or pulley machine) and grasp its edges in your hands. Step back 1-2 steps and sit on your knees (so that your thigh is perpendicular to the floor).
  2. Fix your hands near your neck, pressing the handles to the top of your trapezius.
  3. Begin to slowly tilt your body down, trying to pull your head as close to your knees as possible.
  4. Pause at the bottom and return to the starting position.

Exercise prayer for strong abs
Important points – movement is carried out only in the hip joint. The arms must be securely fixed so that the tilt is performed using the abdominal muscles.


Finally, it is worth noting that you need to train your abs, taking into account the division into upper, lower, and also lateral (oblique abdominal muscles). Also, load progression is important therefore, it is necessary to take care of increasing the working weights or gradually complicating the movements.

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