This advanced 8-minute abs workout with advanced ab exercise progressions and tips will truly shred your abs while helping you get that toned six pack much faster than you thought possible.
If you haven’t checked out our first part of the 8 Minutes to Shredded Abs series, make sure to read it for some great beginner ab exercises and an 8-minute ab circuit that will set your core on fire in just a few minutes.
Once you’re ready to progress beyond the beginner ab exercises, we’ll move on to some more advanced exercises to shred your abs even more!
These are going to require some equipment in some cases, but I want to show you how you can do them at home.
And then at the end I’m going to talk about an exercise called the vacuum that targets the inner ab called the transversus abdominis.
This vacuum exercise is what’s responsible for the deep, deep cut look, or wedge, right down the middle of the stomach that you see these fitness models get that are on the cover of fitness magazines once they lower their body fat.
But first let’s talk about the advanced 8-minute ab exercise circuit.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”8825″]
We’ll be following the same 4-exercise sequence as in part 1, performing each of the four ab exercises for thirty seconds, for a total of 2 minutes, followed by 1 minute of rest.
We’ll then repeat the circuit for an additional 2 minutes, rest 1 more minute, and finally finish with two minutes of the bonus “vacuum” ab exercise that we’ll cover shortly, for a total of eight minutes.
Ab Exercise #1: DECLINE-BENCH CRUNCHES
To start, we’ll be progressing the crunches we did in Part 1 by performing them on a decline bench.
Once again, a word of warning here. If not performed correctly, the repetitive, loaded spinal flexion of crunches and sit-ups can place excessive loads on the lower back and is one of the leading causes of herniated discs.
And if your form falters, crunches can end up working your hip flexors more than your abs.
As a result, you’ll need to keep the following tips in mind when performing these decline-bench crunches.
TIP #1: The first key to focus on here is once again pretending you have a tennis ball placed under your chin, which has the effect of focusing all the energy and tension in your upper abs, rather than your hip flexors.
This is essential for eliminating the hips and isolating the upper abs.
TIP #2: Instead of placing your hands behind your head or clasping your hands together behind your head, make your fists into balls and place them on each side of your head. This will prevent you from pulling on your head as you perform the crunch, which can stress your neck as well as bring other muscles into the exercise and take the focus away from the abs.
TIP #3: On the decline-bench crunches, you want to make sure to not go way, way back when lowering down. If you do, you’re again going to bring your hip muscles into the exercise, which will prevent your upper abs from getting maximum results.
Exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down, and repeat the decline-bench crunches for thirty seconds.
TIP #4: Once you get the technique for this down, you can progress by starting to add weight to these crunches, holding a dumbbell, kettlebell, plate or similar weighted object at your chest to really increase the intensity of the exercise.
Ab Exercise #2: DECLINE-BENCH TWIST
We’ll stay on the bench for the second exercise, the Decline-Bench Twist.
This time we’ll be targeting the obliques. We’ll be doing the same crunch-type movement, but we’re going to add a twist at the top to alternating sides each rep that will really fire up your obliques.
Remember to apply all the keys and tips you used in the decline-bench crunches as you perform these twists.
TIP: Always remember that imaginary tennis ball tucked under your chin, as this will help you isolate the obliques when performing the decline-bench twists.
Perform these twists for thirty seconds straight. You’ll feel your obliques light right up!
Ab Exercise #3: HANGING KNEE RAISE
For the third exercise, we’re going to perform a more advanced ab exercise that targets your lower abs called Hanging Knee Raises.
You’ll need a pull-up bar or similar structure you can safely hang on to for the exercise.
TIP #1: Now here’s the key to this. The key is to not swing your body. You want to keep your body as stable as possible so that it doesn’t swing all over the place. This will also help strengthen your core stabilization muscles, which are key for athletes as well as for preventing injuries.
TIP #2: You can point your toes together to really help prevent your body from swinging every which way.
Bring your knees up as close to your chest as possible (without swinging your body) as you exhale, and then inhale on the way down.
Repeat these hanging knee raises for thirty seconds.
Ab Exercise #4: ADVANCED PLANK
For the last thirty seconds of the advanced abs circuit we’ll be focusing on the core.
In this case, we’ll be moving beyond the standard forearm plank and progress to a more advanced form of the plank.
For this one, we’re going to extend one arm forward in a straight line with our body while the other arm maintains the forearm plank position.
Hold this position for fifteen seconds and then switch arms and hold for an additional fifteen seconds.
TIP #1: As with basic planks, you want to make sure your butt is neither too high in the air or too low (sagging) — ensure your rear stays in a straight line with the rest of your body, particularly your head and shoulders.
TIP #2: If this advanced form of the plank doesn’t challenge your core enough, you can switch it out for another advanced plank such as the uneven plank, plank with opposite limbs extended, stability ball plank, etc.
You’ll perform the above four exercises for two minutes, followed by a rest period of one minute. You’ll then repeat the exercises for two more minutes, with another one-minute rest period after that.
Bonus Ab Exercise: THE VACUUM
Now, for the final two minutes we’ll be performing the “vacuum exercise,” which may not be a very fun or exciting ab exercise, but it is very effective.
There are three ways to perform the vacuum.
You can do it laying on your back flat, with your knees up. You can also do it on all fours.
The most advanced way to do it, once you’ve gotten used to it and gotten the technique down, is to perform the vacuum standing up, with your hands behind your head.
Here’s what you’re going to do. In order to activate that hidden inner ab muscle, you want to first fully exhale, letting all the air completely out of your lungs.
Now, without breathing back in, focus on bringing your stomach muscles up into your ribs.
TIP: Remember when you were a kid and you’d suck your rib cage in and walk around like a little goofball? Well, that’s exactly what the vacuum exercise is in a nutshell. Believe it or not, you were working your inner ab muscle when you were five years old – you just didn’t know it!
Ok, so without breathing in, you want to hold this position for fifteen to twenty seconds.
Once you’ve held the vacuum exercise for at least fifteen seconds, let all the air back in and take a couple normal breaths of air before repeating the exercise.
Repeat this sequence for two minutes following the first six minutes of the advanced ab exercise workout.
By doing this advanced abs circuit, you will have completely crushed your core and abs in only eight minutes!
Stay fit and healthy,