What are you ready to do to get those abs you’ve been dreaming of?

Abs are a tricky subject. It might seem like a relatively simple muscle group to train, refine and develop, but the reality behind every significant set of abs is blood, sweat, strategy and maybe even some tears (possibly).

Comfort Zones Don’t Equal Great Abs

First and foremost, I think it’s important to realize that your Comfort Zone won’t do you any favors.

Much like any other muscle grouping, your body has to be exposed to changes that tell it that it needs to adapt and thus develop. For a beginner, crunches might be the starting point, but that boring exercise will one day soon become a Comfort Zone favorite.

In order to continuously improve and chisel your core, you need to equip your mind with a specific philosophy—Progressive Overload.

In order to grow, you have to continue introducing challenges that cause your abs to change. The answer to this dilemma are some non-conventional ab exercises that can shake up your routine and help you achieve extraordinary abs.

Reps and Sets

I say it again and again, abs are a muscle group that people treat unlike any other. The reality is that you need to treat your arms with the same considerations you’d apply to another grouping.

Weight and 8-10 reps are going to be the sweet spot for these non-conventional ab exercises.

Non-Conventional Ab Exercises

Add these non-conventional exercises into your routine:

    • Pallof Press: You can do these with either a resistance band or a cable machine. To help visualize this, here’s a great video tutorial from BodyBuilding.com.

    • Planks: These are unconventional because they are challenging and a lot of people stray from these because of that. Don’t be afraid of these because this exercises sculpts awesome abs and also helps you develop that “resting ab flex” you want to achieve so badly.
      • To achieve the perfect plank, get into a push up position. From there, bend your elbows 90 degrees and put your weight on your forearms with your back formed in a flat line.

      plank diagram
      From Men’s Fitness.
    • Hanging Leg Raises: Abs aren’t usually worked in the weight room. more times than not, you’ll see people doing crunches in the aerobics room. Storm the weight room with hanging leg raises and watch your abs begin to pop. Here’s how:
      • Find yourself a pull up bar. Grabbing the bar with your arms a little more than shoulder width apart, hang from the bar and begin to raise your legs, touching your knees to the bottom shelf of your chest.
      • As you begin to condition your core, you’ll be able to gradually extend your legs out until your can do them with your legs fully extended.
    • Cable Crunches: Another great “in the weight room” ab exercise.
        • Get yourself a mat and place it in front of the cable machine. I like to use the rope grip attachment on the machine, setting the cable above my head. Kneeling down, grip the rope and pull it down around the backside of your knee. Starting with minimal weight crunching downwards until your head is about to touch the ground, but stop just short. Return to ready position and repeat.

      image from BodyBuilding.com
      image from BodyBuilding.com
    • Swiss Ball Rollout: Ok—back to the aerobics room for this one.
    • Farmers Walk: Using a moderately heavy pair of dumbbells, plate or kettlebell, walk anywhere from 20-50 yards while keeping you back straight, head up and shoulders back.sculpting ripped abs
    • One Arm Flat Dumbbell Press: You wouldn’t associate the bench with building a strong midsection. Your first reaction is that it’s for working your triceps and pectorals, but the one arm flat dumbbell press is a fantastic and non-conventional exercises to chisel those abs.