A sculpted, defined six-pack is a top fitness goal for many - and if it’s on your list, then this handy move is worth having in your workout arsenal.
Fitness trainer and former world ranked pro duathlete Paul Sklar (opens in new tab) has shared what he calls his ‘all-time favorite way’ to build a six pack: an alternating knee raise pull-up.
Yes, you read that right: a pull up. It’s not a move you’ll find on our list of the best workouts for abs, but according to Sklar it’s a ‘great exercise for developing your six pack - and then some.’
Whilst pull-ups are typically associated with working the back and biceps, in a recent Instagram reel Sklar explains how the abdomen can be worked at the same time. This fitness expert has an impressively sculpted body but anyone can train themself to perform one (you can use a how to do pull-ups and dips guide as a starting point).
Demoing the move, the reel shows him lifting one of his knees as he moves his body into a pull up, alternating knees for every rep. As per Sklar’s instructions, you must ensure your hips are kept slightly forward throughout the whole exercise in order for your abdominals to remain engaged. He also advises to only use your abs as you lift each knee.
A photo posted by on
Sklar rightfully gloats that the exercise allows you to still benefit from all the usual back and bicep gains that you would receive from a normal pullup.
Coach Scott Laidler (opens in new tab), who offers a bespoke online personal training service, agrees that pull ups can be an ‘excellent jump-off’ point for people to see impressive advances in their abdominal strength. This is due to your abs being naturally worked during a pull up.
“Hanging from a bar is going to make your lower body inherently unstable, as you move through the range of motion of a pull-up, your abs need to act in their natural braced position to stabilise the movement.”
Of course, pull ups aren’t for everyone and there are plenty of other exercises we can do to strengthen our core and work on seeing that six-pack grow. Classic moves include crunches and the plank. Or you might like to use one of the best ab rollers to target all of the midsection muscles.
Whichever form of workout you prefer there are always adjustments that can be made to make an exercise even more effective - as Sklar has shown us.
Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition.
When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.
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