No matter what way you look at it, ripped abs is the number one indicator of a fit body. So whether you want to lose fat or gain more muscle, six pack abs is likely at the top of your list. If you get your diet right and train hard enough, you are likely going to get there eventually. Lucky for you, abs is the group of muscles that can be trained every day and it’s hard to over-train them. But did you know that you can train your abs even without ab exercises?
When we talked about training abs every day (read that article), we talked about direct and indirect ab training. The idea is that there are a lot of exercises targeting various muscle groups that also hit your core and abs. If you focus on those exercises more, you’ll be able to train your abs without even targeting them specifically.
So to train your abs at the same time as you train other parts of your body, you have to understand how those exercises engage your core and take a step further to engage it even more. Here are some example exercises.
Single Arm Dumbbell Press
You can engage your core by simply contracting your abs when doing the dumbbell press but if you drop one dumbbell and do one armed press, you will really engage your core. Pressing a single dumbbell puts all weight on one side of your body and you really have to fight rotating with the weight. This way you engage a lot of stabilizer muscles and work your abs while targeting the chest. If you also lift the leg on the same side as the weight, you will make it even harder.
Single Arm Bicep Curl
Yes, you’ve guessed it, unilateral exercises that require extra body stabilization work your core and abs like crazy while you’re actually targeting your other muscles. Bicep curls are no different, if you take one dumbbell at a time, you will work your abs and biceps at the same time.
Knee Up Pull Ups
Pull ups work your core in any variation, but if you also raise your knees during a pull up, you will engage the abs even more. Focus on muscle contraction as you raise your knees and pull yourself up so you can train your abs at the same time as you train your back and upper body.
Seated Shoulder Press
You can train your abs while targeting the shoulders if you destabilize your body while doing the shoulder press. You can do that by sitting on a bench without the back to lean on and keeping your legs straight (lift them off the ground to make it harder), or sitting on a stability ball.
Bodyweight Tricep Extension
What makes the bodyweight tricep extension exercise great is that it engages the core at the same time. You don’t even have to think much about performing this exercise, your abs will work automatically to keep your body stable.
Overhead Weighted Lunges
Many leg exercises engage your core and abs already as it is. Squats and deadlift, for example, work your core without modifications. But you can add ab training to other leg exercises too. Lunges are great to work your legs, but if you pick up a weight and raise it above your head while you do them, it will engage your abs too.
These examples show you how easy it is to add ab training to any workout and you don’t even have to have special ab workouts to train for a six pack. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have ab workouts at all but if you look to add ab training in all workouts that you do, you will really improve your results.