Looking for the ultimate workout for six-pack abs? A 15-minute six pack abs workout, no less? Then Elliot Burton (opens in new tab) is your man. If you've been spending more time at the ice cream maker and less time concentrating on your abs crunches, fret not: there’s still plenty of time to lose belly fat and get a six pack if you heed this expert advice. I mean seriously, just look at this guy. You can tell he knows what he's talking about. And even if he didn't, we wouldn't tell him that to his face.
Elliot is the face of fitness coaching outlet The Balance Fam (opens in new tab) and the proud owner of a washboard stomach that’s firm enough to slice smoked ham on. He is also one of Grenade's ambassadors (opens in new tab) and swears by its ranges, which are among the best protein bars and best protein powder shakes.
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“More often than not, those looking to get ripped and to achieve shredded abs will look past the most important factor: nutrition. You can do as many crunches as you like, but if your body fat percentage is too high, they simply won’t be visible. And, when it comes to lowering your body fat percentage, what you’re eating – and how much you’re eating – is key.
“Diet – and weight loss where required – plays a huge part, so I’d advise anyone to look at cutting down on fatty foods and excess sugar before embarking on the plan. After that, adding these key ab exercises into your workout regime will keep any six-pack sharp.”
Below, Elliot has listed his favourite abs workout, going into detail on how to perform each move with the correct form and why it is beneficial. But first…
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A word on nutrition
As Elliot explained earlier, the worst kept secret to gaining a solid six pack is cleaning up the diet and that means cutting down on refined sugars, avoiding lots of saturated fat and keeping a close eye on calorie input and output.
In short, only those with a body fat percentage of around 10 per cent or lower truly reveal the sort of washboard stomach that makes it to a Speedo photoshoot, so take a look at a few of our diet recommendations and tips below.
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Similarly, additional exercise that targets key muscle groups will require additional protein in the diet to aid muscle repair and growth. The only way to get a six pack of your dreams is to ensure the abdominal muscles swell sufficiently to create that desirable rippling torso.
Throwing in a protein shake during the day can curb the desire to snack on fatty foods and injects a healthy dose of the good stuff, while lots of protein snacks exist that are low in fact, carbs and free from sugar but still taste delicious if you really can’t give up that afternoon chocolate break.
Elliot Burton’s Abs Workout
For this routine, you’ll need an interval timer on your smartphone or computer. There are loads of free apps out there that will help you time each working interval. Set it up so you are working on each move for 30 seconds at a time, going straight into each individual exercise with zero rest in between.
Once all exercises are complete, rest for 60 seconds and then hit the routine again, aiming to complete three-to-four rounds in total. This should be sufficient to really work the abdominal muscles hard.
“When performed correctly, these exercises prove to be extremely effective in building strong and defined abs, however, in order to achieve maximum results, it’s vital that you focus on a few thing,” Elliot explains.
“Focus on form throughout, ensuring the abs are tensed and you aren’t using other muscle groups to help perform the move. Control your breathing, aiming to breath out under tension. Finally, don’t rush the movements. In fact, the slower and more controlled you are with each rep, the better the end result,” he adds.
An abs staple, the dreaded plank is a killer but for good reason. This exercise not only works the abs, but is great for improving posture, flexibility and ultimately strengthening the core.
Adopt a press-up position but lower your weight onto your forearms, rather than the palms of your hands. Keeping a straight line running from head to toe, keep the back flat, butt engaged and core tight. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
2. Leg Raises
Another essential exercise to add to your abs routine, leg raises focus predominantly on developing and strengthening the lower abs, an area which is quite often neglected with the over-use of exercises such as crunches and sit-ups.
Lay flat on your back, arms slightly out to the sides with palms facing down. Now lift both legs off the ground by tensing your abdominal muscles. Raise up, hold for two seconds and slowly lower in a controlled motion.
A progression of this movement is the hanging leg raise, performed whilst hanging from a pull-up bar. But be warned, this one isn’t for the faint hearted, as it requires good grip and upper body strength. Alas, you’ll certainly see the results if performed consistently.
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3. Reverse Crunches
The reserve crunch is a personal favourite of mine and, when performed correctly, can be extremely effective in developing a rock-solid core. Lying flat on the ground, with your knees raised and hands beneath your bottom, simply lift your feet off the ground and draw your legs into your torso and then back again – that’s one rep.
It’s a great alternative to regular crunches and, similar to leg raises, this move really works the lower abs, which is vital if it’s a six-pack you’re going for rather than just a four-pack.
4. Bicycle Crunches
Here’s one for your upper abs and obliques. In order to really see the benefit from this exercise, ensure you slow things right down. Often, bicycle crunches are performed incorrectly, with many rushing through them.
For best results, simply lay flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground – pull in your navel to target those abs even further. Place your hands behind your head and bring your knees in towards your chest, lifting your shoulder blades off the ground.
Straighten one leg out in front of you and twist your body towards the opposite knee, touching the knee with your elbow. Repeat on the opposite side and for a total of 20 reps but keep things slow and controlled, this isn’t a Tour de France stage!
5. Side Plank
“Another plank?!” I hear you scream. Yep, and before you dismiss this vital move, hear me out. The side plank is arguably one of the most effective exercises for developing obliques and strengthening the core, making it a must-have addition to your regime.
Lay on your left side with your right arm out in front at a right angle to your body. Stack your feet on top of one another and now raise your hips off the ground by engaging your core and glute muscles.Hold this position for 15 seconds, keeping everything tight, and then swap sides.
Like the standard plank, it’s a movement that encompasses more than just the core, strengthening the shoulders and testing out your endurance too.