You can do a killer ab workout with only one piece of equipment: the weight bench.
Your abs consist of three layers of muscles – the transverse abdominis, the obliques, and the rectus abdominis. Training all three levels is the key to getting a great ab workout.
These seven exercises will target different areas of your abs to help you build a strong core that will look awesome and prevent injury.
The workout starts by working your deepest levels and progresses outward to your superficial six-pack muscles. I describe the benefits of each set of exercises, step-by-step instructions, and tips to help you master the technique.
Grab your weight bench and get ready to build great abs.
Your transverse abdominis is your deepest layer of abdominal muscles. It works like an internal weight belt by pulling in and supporting your spine during movement. Training your transverse abdominis won’t give you a six-pack, but it will prevent back pain and help you perform all other exercises stronger and safer.
These ab exercises with a weight bench will help you build a strong transverse abdominis.
1. Bench walk-ups
- Start in a plank perpendicular to the bench with your hands one foot from the edge of the weight bench.
- Pull your stomach away from the floor to create a tight, stable core.
- Move your right hand up onto the bench.
- Move your left hand onto the bench to meet the right by pressing into your feet and right and keeping your core tight.
- Repeat the movement starting with your left hand.
How Many: Complete 12 repetitions.
- Avoid twisting your body from side to side by pulling your abs in toward your spine.
- Position your bench against a wall to keep it from sliding away from you.
2. Bench plank knee tucks
- Start in a plank on your hands perpendicular to the bench with your feet on the bench.
- Slowly bring your right knee toward your right elbow keeping your back flat.
- Return your right foot to the bench with control.
- Repeat the movement with your left leg.
How Many: Complete 20 repetitions or a 60-second hold.
- Press your hands into the ground and pull your abs in to create tension through your body.
- Avoid twisting your body from side to side as you tuck your knees in.
- Modify to a plank hold if you can’t perform the knee tucks without keeping your body steady.
Your obliques are responsible for your torso’s rotation and for resisting rotation when you want to stay stable. Chiseled obliques are visible and create definition along your sides. Strong obliques also help you avoid injury when doing any unilateral movement like lunging, running, and even single-arm exercises, to name a few.
Try these moves with a weight bench to sculpt enviable obliques.
3. Bench wipers
- Lay on the bench and grip the underside of the bench by your head.
- Lift your legs to a 90-degree angle with your legs straight and feet together.
- Pull your stomach in to press your lower back into the bench.
- Twist and lower your legs together to the right.
- Return your legs to the center before doing the other side.
How Many: Complete 20 total repetitions.
- Only lower your legs to the point where you can keep your lower back in contact with the bench.
- Reduce the range of motion if you find it hard to control the movement.
4.Side plank crunch
- Start in a side plank with your right elbow on the bench.
- Stack your right shoulder over your elbow and raise your left arm to the ceiling.
- Bend your left knee and left elbow to meet each other.
- Return to the starting position.
How Many: Complete 8 repetitions on each side.
- Hold your abs tight to keep your hips from dipping toward the ground during the crunch.
- Modify this exercise by bringing your other hand to the bench for support and crunch only your leg.
- Lay on the floor perpendicular to the bench.
- Bring your heels to the weight bench with your knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Place your hands gently behind your ears without pulling your head forward.
- Twist and reach your right elbow toward your left knee bringing your right shoulder blade off the ground.
- Return to the ground and repeat on the left side.
How Many: Complete 20 repetitions.
Keep your elbows pointing out away from your head. Reach your elbow toward your knee by rotating your torso by engaging your obliques.
Your rectus abdominis is your six-pack muscles. It is the outermost layer of your abs and runs from your rib cage to your pelvis. It is responsible for bending the torso forward. Your rectus abdominis is the most visible layer of your abs, so building a strong rectus abdominis is the key to getting abs worth showing off.
These ab exercises with a weight bench will deliver even better results than sit-ups.
6. Straight leg lifts
- Lay on the bench and hold the bench behind your head.
- Bring your legs to a 90-degree angle with your body with feet together and legs straight.
- Pull your abs in to press your back into the bench.
- Slowly lower your legs as far as you can, keeping your low back connected to the bench.
- Lift your legs back to 90 degrees.
How Many: Complete 10 repetitions.
- Bend your knees to make the exercise easier.
- Only lower your legs as far as you can with your low back on the bench. Once your back arches away from the bench, your abs are no longer working.
- Keep your grip on the bench light to make your abs work harder.
7. Tuck ups
- Sit on the edge of the bench with feet hanging off the end.
- Place your hands on the bench behind you.
- Bend your knees toward your chest in a tuck position.
- Extend your legs straight as you lean back onto your elbows.
- Tuck your legs and press into your hands to return to the starting position.
How Many: Complete 15 repetitions.
- Focus on moving your legs and torso at the same time.
- Think of flexing your abs each time you tuck your body in. Don’t rely on your arms and hip flexors.
Do the Flat bench Ab Workout
Complete these exercises in a circuit for 3 sets to get a complete ab workout using only a flat bench.
Use the tips to make sure your form is good. Using good form ensures that your abs are doing the work, and you will see the best results.
Working all layers of your abs is the best way to get strong, prevent injury, and build an incredible physique.
Pull out your weight bench and get to work.