In the fitness world today, "secrets" to getting ripped abs are touted all the time. Odd looking contraptions are invented and peddled as the undiscovered secret to six pack serenity. Unfortunately, these are almost always a complete sham. The products and routines promise targeted results that will be nothing short of astonishing. They even show a lean sculpted model getting their "blast on" with the new abdominator 3000, and heck look at how ripped they are! The problem is these people likely never got that way with the abdominator and most likely got their abs by doing exercises like the ones I have listed below.
Front Squats (pic 1 & 2)
That's right good old fashioned front squats. To do this exercise hold some sort of heavy weight, weather it be kettlebells, dumbells, a sandbag, a sack of laundry, your significant other, or whatever you can find. While holding that object about chest height perform full deep squats. Not only does this train the abdominal muscles' primary function (stabilizing the spine) but it also works your legs which helps to rev up metabolism and burn more fat (also a key to seeing your abs).
Kettlebell Snatch Pulls (pic 3 & 4)
This exercise is performed by pulling a kettlebell from the floor straight up to an overhead position in one swift motion. This movement integrates full body explosive power which allows a plethora of muscles to work to exhaustion at the same time. Additionally, this exercise targets the abs when you have to decelerate the weight as it comes from overhead to back underneath you. The abs are used extensively in energy transference exercises, ie. transferring weight from under you to above you in this case.
Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlifts (pic 5 & 6)
This exercise is underutilized in my opinion but is a great one for targeting ab strength. Set 2 heavy kettlebells on the outsides of your feet with your feet about hip width apart (narrow stance). Next sit your hips back and down keeping your chest tall, grip the bells, and forcefully drive up by pushing through your heels. Once at the top lower the weight back down very slowly under maximum control. Again this allows the abs to work as they are intended to, for spine stabilization and deceleration of external load.
Suspension Trainer Push Ups (pic 7 & 8)
A great way to target ab strength is by working a compound exercise (mutliple muscle groups) with an altered base of support (adding an unstable implement). The TRX or any suspension apparatus for that matter works well for this. All you do is grab the handles of your TRX, Junglegym, Rings or whatever else you got and set up in a plank position so that your body is as close to horizontal as possible. From here execute SLOW controlled push ups making sure to keep your hips in line with your shoulders. This helps to work the abs by keeping the body stable while your balance is being challenged.
Lateral Power Skaters (pic 10,11,12)
You know Apollo One? The guy is undoubtedly pretty ripped. What he does for a living is definitely a testament to that. This last exercise pays homage to lateral speed based movement for the sake of building a masterful midsection. This exercise is performed by starting in an athletic position. To initiate the drill drop the right leg back and around the left leg and then jump laterally to the right. When you land on the right leg drop the left leg back and around and explode back the other way. Repeat this action in a rhythmical fashion. This works the abs by increasing the demand for stability, energy transference, and also deceleration. This trifecta along with elevating your heart will pack a powerful punch in the pursuit for abdominal perfection.
While the general mentality for achieving torso triumphancy still seems to include thousands of crunches the truth is abs are revealed by exercises that work the entire body as a unit while significantly elevating heart rate. The reason for this is these exercises target NOT ONLY the muscles themselves but also the hormones that are responsible for muscle building and fat loss. Combine that with a clean diet free of overly processed foods and excess calories and you have a recipe for six pack success. Strength training, mental attitude, clean eating, and quality sleep will always be the cornerstones for being lean and fit. The exercises listed here are a great starting point in your quest for your best body. Good Luck.