5 moves for washboard abs

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1. Abs wheel roll-out


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  • Start by kneeling on the floor with your hands on the wheel handles.
  • Your spine should start in a neutral position and stay like that throughout the move.
  • Contract your abs and slowly roll the wheel away from you, making sure that you don’t let your hips drop and your back hyperextend.
  • When you can’t go any further without compromising good form, roll the wheel back to the start.

2. Floor flag


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  • Start with your arms out to the sides for stability and your legs together, held just off the ground. Point your toes to maintain body alignment.
  • Contract your abs, start to put some weight through your arms and raise your legs above you, using this momentum to lift your bum and lower back off the floor. Stretch up as high as you can, then reverse the movement slowly.

3. Sliding towel flye


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  • Start in a press-up position with your hands on the towels. With a slight bend in your elbows, bring your hands out to the sides, lowering your chest until it’s a fist’s width from the floor.
  • Pause at the bottom, then bring your hands back in.

4. Medicine ball leg raise


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  • Grab a bar with an overhand grip and your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball between your knees.
  • Raise your hips and lift your thighs towards your chest, curling your lower back underneath you.
  • When your thighs reach your chest pause, then lower and repeat.

5. Medicine ball Russian twist


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  • Sit on the floor with your feet in the air and knees bent, holding a dumbbell in both hands in front of your sternum.
  • Keeping your core braced and arms straight, rotate to one side. Then twist the other way. Return to the start again to complete one rep.

So you’ve got all the above moves dialled and you want more abs-building exercises? You’re in luck – below you’ll find three more. But before you start doing them, there’s something we want you to bare in mind: just doing these moves will boost abdominal strength rather than make your abs more noticeable.

To do the latter you’re going to want to focus on fat loss and using abs moves in very specific contexts – and the most effective way of doing that is by taking on high intensity workouts. One of our favourite high intensity protocols is IWT (Interval Weight Training) because it fires up your metabolism to torch loads of fat both during and for hours after a workout, builds masses of strength and promotes muscle growth.

A classic example of one you could do would be three rounds of 10 thrusters and a two-minute row – that’s section one, 10 snatches and a two-minute run – that’s section two, and then a 150-second TRX plank broken up into as few chunks as possible – that’s section three. Take no rest between the moves in each ITW superset, one minute between supersets and five minutes between each section.

 Anyway, back to the move we promised. Enjoy!

6) Walkout 

Stand with you feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge at the hips and bend your legs slightly to bring your hands down to the floor in front of your feet. Walk your hands forward as far as you can without letting your body sag. Walk your hands back to your feet. Keep your core braced throughout. Do at least three reps per set.

7) Hex dumbbell bear crawl 

Get into a press-up position with a hex dumbbell in each hand and feet together. With your core braced, step one hand out and then the other so the dumbbells line up, then hop your feet forward so you end up in the press-up position again. Do at least five hops per set.

8) Toes-to-bar 

Hang from a bar with your arms and legs straight, with feet together. Brace your core and use it to pull your feet up to the bar. Lower slowly under control. Do at least five reps per set.

Chris Miller
Subeditor and contributor

As Coach’s subeditor, Chris is responsible for the accuracy and consistency of all the articles on the site, and occasionally contributes stories. Chris was managing editor on Men’s Fitness UKCoach’s former sister title – for 12 years, and is now a freelance writer and editor working on The Guardian, the i, Virgin Media’s TV Edit and more, alongside Coach.