Assuming that your body fat is low enough, it takes very little abdominal work to get six-pack abs. I am absolutely convinced that most of the crunches and twists that you see people perform in the gym are a waste of time. I only do two exercises, and I believe that's all anyone needs. The first one is the plank, and the second is the stomach vacuum. The entire program totals eight minutes maximum, and you only need to do it every other day .
How to Perform the Plank
To perform the front plank, lie face down on mat with your elbows resting on floor next to chest. Push your body off the floor in a push-up position with your body supported by your forearms instead of your hands. Contract the abs and keep your body in a straight line from head to toes.
To do a side plank, position yourself so that only the forearm of your right hand plus the right side of your hips and legs are in contact with the floor. Position your other hand either palm down onto the mat in front of you, on your hip, or behind your head. Set your right leg directly atop the other. Inhale and contract your abdominal muscles, pulling them inward. Repeat on the other side.
Start with 30 second holds and then work up to two minutes of the front plank and one minute of the side plank on each side.
How to Perform the Stomach Vacuum
Your abdominal muscles have both internal and external sections. The most direct method for working your inner abdominal muscles is the stomach vacuum exercise. The stomach vacuum is one of the best exercises you can perform to shrink your waistline in a very short amount of time.
To execute the stomach vacuum, stand upright and place your hands on your hips, and exhale all the air out of your lungs. Expand your chest, and bring your stomach in as much as possible, and hold. Visualize trying to touch your navel to your backbone. This is an isometric contraction, like flexing your biceps. You breathe normally while flexing your biceps, and you should breathe normally while executing the stomach vacuum.
After you perfect the form, increase your holds by following this schedule:
1. Week 1: Do 3 sets of 20-second holds with 30 seconds rest between sets
2. Week 2: Do 3 sets of 40-second holds with 30 seconds rest between sets
3. Week 3: Do 3 sets of 60-second holds with 30 seconds rest between sets
Remember that although this routine will make your abs toned and defined, they still won't be visible unless your body fat is low enough. The best way to strip the fat from your midsection is a low-carb diet. While exercise preserves your muscle mass and can help boost your metabolism, most fat loss will come from your diet.
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