This 5 Supersets of 2 Exercises are the Best Abs and Obliques Supersets

Unlike other areas of the body, where supersets must alternate between pushes and pulls to work continuously without rest, that’s not necessary with the abs and obliques—which some people train every day.

Because of the rise of functional movement and core training in recent years, many athletes figure they hit their abs enough by training the core musculature around the hips, midsection, and shoulders. That’s probably true, but there are times when you no doubt want to take a more direct approach with a tough standalone abs workout.

The elusive six-pack remains the holy grail of training, though nutrition is a key component. A guy who hasn’t dropped below 10% body fat is unlikely to see his abs regardless of how many abdominal supersets he knocks out.

That’s not to say it’s a waste to train the abs if your waistline isn’t there yet. The abs stabilize the spine, after all, and a strong core is essential for healthy living and minimizing injuries and long-term ailments.

With this abs superset workout, we’re going to do five supersets of two exercises. Do one set of the first exercise, a set of the other, and then a second set of each before moving on to the next superset.

1. Hanging Legs Raise and Mountain Climbers


Why it works: This challenges you to raise your entire lower body with your abs and hip flexors, a key part of core strength.

How to do it: Grab a pullup bar with an overhand grip. Arms should be straight and feet off the ground. Keeping your legs straight, use your abs to raise your feet toward your shoulders, pausing when your thighs reach your chest.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps.


Why it works: Like a mountain climber working a wall, you’re using the abs and hip flexors to “climb”.

How to do it: Start in pushup position, with the balls of your feet on the ground. Alternate driving your knees forward to their corresponding arms for 30 seconds. Keep your hips down for the entire motion.

Prescription: 2 sets of 30 seconds.

2. Half Boat and V-Sit Crunch


Why it works: This yoga move is a variation of the V-Sit Crunch that targets the rectus abdominus.

How to do it: From a sitting position, extend your arms out, palms facing each other. Extend and lift both legs, keeping them bent at the knees, with the insides of your feet touching. Extend your arms on either side of your legs. Use your abs to keep your back straight. Stay in this position for five deep breaths, or roughly 10 seconds.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps.


Why it works: For all of the abs-challenging reasons of a traditional crunch, but also because it keeps you from putting unnecessary torque on your neck and using momentum to complete the crunch.

How to do it: Begin on your back with hands extended over your head. Lift your legs and crunch up at the same time, forming your body into the shape of a V. Exhale as you lift your legs and crunch, and inhale as you return to the starting position.

Prescription: 2 sets of 30 seconds.



3. Swiss Ball Rollout and Swiss Plate Crunch


Why it works: This not only works your abs by challenging your stability on the ball, it also stretches the muscles of the lower back.

How to do it: Get in a pushup position with shins on a Swiss ball. Pull your knees to the chest until your toes are on top of the ball. Return to the starting position. Be sure to keep your belly button in and shoulders pushed away from the ball.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps.


Why it works: Using the ball gets you in a fully stretched starting position, and forces you to use your abs rather than your momentum to perform the crunch.

How to do it: Lie supine (facing up) on a Swiss ball with your torso arched over the ball. Touch your shoulders, back, and glutes to the ball so that your abs are stretched. Hold a weight plate over your head. Roll your hips and chest up, crunching from the top of your torso. Lower your hips and chest to the starting position.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps.


4. Flutter Kick and Plank


Why it works: By keeping your bellybutton drawn in and challenging your stability throughout your shoulders, core, and hips, you’re building strong abs.

How to do it: Lie in a prone pushup position with forearms resting on the floor, elbows under shoulders, and arms bent 90°. Push up off the elbows, tucking your chin so your head is in line with your body. Keep your head in line with spine and belly button drawn in. Hold for one minute.

Prescription: 2 sets of 60 seconds.


Why it works: Seemingly simple, but oh-so-challenging, this torches your abs.

How to do it: Lie on your back, legs straight, and arms extended at your sides. Lift your heels 6″, and rapidly kick up and down in a fast, scissor-like motion.

Prescription: 2 sets of 60 seconds.

5. Reverse Crunch and Burpee


Why it works: This targets the entire core region while also stretching your lower back.

How to do it: Lie on your back, knees together, and with your legs bent to 90°. Your feet should be on the ground and hands palms-down. Tighten your abs—think of bringing your bellybutton away from your waistband—and lift your hips off the floor, crunching your knees to your chest. Pause at the top and then lower yourself back down. Do not allow your lower back to arch and lose contact with the floor.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps.


Why it works: It’s a full-body exercise, but the thrusting portion combined with the overall cardio challenge pushes your abs.

How to do it: From a standing position, squat, place you hands on the ground, and “jump” your feet out into a pushup position. Perform a pushup, and then jump your feet to your hands. Then jump as high as you can, throwing your hands over your head.

Prescription: 2 sets of 10 reps.