The Science Behind The Six Pack Abs

The research shows that classic sit ups are not effective to train your core and abs. In fact, because you’re targeting only the most superficial core muscles with sit ups, such a workout is not deep enough to train for the six pack at all.

We have to think about what function our core muscles have in our body, and it’s big. These muscles provide us stability, mobility, flexibility and power. So as you can imagine one exercise that targets a very limited range of motion and is not even good at that won’t help you much in your cause.

What we should look forward to in a good core workout is a full and deep range of movements that engage the entire group of core muscles. Such functional training not only targets all the right muscles, it builds a strong core for all of your training. So we’ve established that a good ab workout will train stability, mobility and flexibility of your core.

Furthermore, the research shows that you should train for stability in your lower core muscles and mobility in the upper core muscles. Our goal is to engage these muscles and not only in the abs workout. As a matter of fact, engaging your core muscles in any exercise grants better performance.

So what kind of exercises are effective enough for a good core and abs workout? Having the science behind the training we can say that we have to put our body in an unstable position where our muscles are forced to stabilize first. Then we add extension and rotation movements.

Workout Structure

First, engage muscles with stability training, with an exercise such as a plank

Then, perform ab flexing and rotation exercises in an unstable environment, such as using a pull up bar, or a medicine ball

Make exercises difficult with controlled movements, focusing on muscle contraction, especially in the eccentric movement


Here are some exercises that you can add to your ab workout:

  • Star plank
  • Front lever
  • Hanging leg raises
  • Hanging oblique leg raises
  • V-sits
  • Stability ball skiers
  • Stability ball pikes
  • Example Workout
  • Star plank – 20 sec
  • 20 sec Hanging leg raises – until failure
  • until failure Hanging oblique leg raises – until failure
  • until failure Stability ball skiers – until failure
  • until failure Stability ball pikes – until failure
  • until failure V-sits – until failure

Perform 2-3 rounds of the workout with 2 minute rests. Always start with stability exercises to activate the muscles, then move on to flexibility exercises. Try to keep the intensity high and control the movements, we’re not going for more reps, we’re going for the burn in deep and complete motions.