Close up of a man's before and after photo where he shows his six pack abs built from old school exercise routines.

The old cliché that abs are made in the kitchen is absolutely correct.

For guys, unless you’re down to somewhere in the range of 10% body fat, any hard work you put in at the gym will be worthwhile, but you won’t be rewarded with a visibly popping midsection.

This article deals strictly with old school exercises for ripped six-pack abs so we’ll assume you’re eating lean and clean and you’re ready for action.

The good news?

You won’t really need any equipment or much time at all and you’ll be rewarded with a six-pack to die for in relatively little time by mixing up these exercises and devoting perhaps 15 minutes a day, 3 times a week to carving out your core.

We cannot state strongly enough that by far the bulk of your work involves cutting down your body fat to the level at which those abs muscles becomes visible. There’s absolutely no need to go over the top with training.

Before our rundown of the best classic abs exercises, a shotgun note of warning…

Thousands upon thousands of crunches alone will not cut the ice.

If you want to hone your abs effectively, targeting all parts of the core is crucial. You’ll want to hit all these muscles for best results:

  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Transversus Abdominis
  • Internal Obliques
  • External Obliques

Make sure you place far more importance on form than raw numbers. Take your time, eat well and hit these exercises so you’ll be eager to whip off that shirt when summer rolls around.

8 of The Best Old School Exercises For Ripped Six-Pack Abs

Vary the below routines focusing fully on form and you’ll be the proud owner of a six-pack before you know it.

1) Sit-Ups

While you don’t need to hammer out hundreds of these, there’s very little to beat an old school sit-up to strengthen your core.

  • Get flat on your back
  • Put your feet hip distance apart and bend your knees up
  • With elbows pointed out to your sides, place your hands on the back of your head
  • Pull your belly button down toward your spine as you exhale
  • Very slowly raise your torso while you bend your hips and waist
  • Lift yourself up until your torso and thighs almost meet

2) Crunches

With a vast array of variations on the crunch – we’ll look at 2 below – the standard version is a classic with just cause. Slow and steady all the way, make sure you think about correct form not how many you can listlessly hack out.

  • Lie down on your back
  • Make sure your knees are bent at 90 degrees
  • With hands by your sides or behind your head, very slowly raise your torso making certain your abs do all the work
  • Keep your head aligned with your spine at all times
  • Don’t overlook slowly returning to the starting position and keep your core tight

3) Ball Crunches

If you want to enhance your range of motion, throw in a Swiss ball. Since balancing on one of these exercise balls introduces instability into the mix, you’ll need to work that much harder which in turn will work your abs harder still.

  • Position yourself on a Swiss ball
  • With shoulder blades pressed against the ball and hips aligned nicely, roll yourself upward slowly
  • As you come up, contract your stomach muscles
  • Return to the starting point equally slowly

4) Twisting Crunches

Many people neglect the obliques. If you’re guilty of overlooking those muscles at the sides, try some twisting crunches.

  • Assume the same prone position as for a regulation crunch
  • With knees at 90 degrees and hands behind your head or by your sides, lift your torso diagonally moving one shoulder toward the opposite knee
  • Keep head and spine aligned at all times
  • Carry out the same motion in reverse to hit the other side

5) Planks

The bonus of planks is that you’ll also target your butt, back, thighs and shoulders. This classic core move is a real powerhouse that should be a staple of any abs workout.

  • Hit the deck in a push-up stance with hands roughly shoulder-width apart
  • As you bend your elbows 90 degrees, rest all your weight on your forearms
  • Keep your body in a straight line with your elbows under your shoulders
  • The goal is to hold this position for as long as you’re comfortably able. Don’t overdo it and strain yourself, though

6) Knee Raises

For knee raises, you’ll need a bar. Since you tilt your pelvis, this engages the abs fully instead of allowing your hips to take the load.

  • Hang from the exercise bar
  • Lift up your knees as high as you can
  • Hold for as long as possible

7) Flutter Kicks

If you want to punish the main abs muscle while giving your obliques a nudge at the same time, try some flutter kicks. They are not the easiest or most forgiving exercise but they are a highly effective weapon in the quest for ripped abs.

  • Using an abs mat, lie down and extend your legs fully
  • Put your arms by your hips with palms facing down
  • Lift up your legs so they’re 6 inches off the floor
  • Press down into the mat with your lower back
  • Keep your legs straight and raise them alternately using a fluttering motion

8) Dragon Flags

The ominously named dragon flag, reputedly invented by Bruce Lee, is a vintage, hard-hitting move you’ll be delighted to incorporate into your abs routine.

  • Lie down on a bench
  • With both hands, hold tight onto the edge of the bench behind your head
  • Generate tension throughout your body
  • Swing both feet upward making sure you keep the shoulder blades on the bench
  • Keep your core tight and body straight throughout
  • Lower your feet again so they are hovering above the bench
  • Raise your legs and that’s 1 full rep

Parting Shot

If you consistently eat a clean diet and keep your body fat down to the right level, maintaining a killer six-pack is far less taxing than you might think.

We don’t just say this to encourage you, it’s a stone cold fact. By stripping away the fat then continually building the muscle, you’ll be flexing those abs in no time and proudly pulling your top off at any given opportunity!

Drop us a line and let us know your favorite abs exercises. We only had room for a small selection here so we might very well revisit this subject in a forthcoming article.

Come back soon!

Related Articles