Endless sit-ups may seem like the treatment for a sickly stomach but a far smarter way would be  to use a medicine ball to build lean abs. It’s a little known fact that medicine ball workouts enable you to recruit hard-to-reach muscle fibres. It won’t work in isolation so for the best result, team it up with four cardio sessions per week, healthy eating practises and some smart fat burning supplements. Then try four rounds of this six-move medicine ball circuit to sculpt yourself a solid mid-section rig, using one lean piece of equipment.

 

Crunch

Reps 12

The classic crunch is great for working your upper abs, but this variation – where you hold the med ball against your chest then raise it high at the top of each rep – gives these muscles a far harder challenge.

 

How to do it
Start in the standard crunch position with your back on the floor, your feet together and your knees bent. Hold the ball with your hands either side of it. Contract your abs to raise your torso, and then straighten your arms to lift the ball as high as you can.

 

Push

Reps 12

This is a tough variation of the classic push-up. Doing it with your hands on the ball trains your core far harder than in normal push-ups, and you’ll work your chest, shoulders and triceps too. Maintaining balance will also recruit extra muscle fibres.

 

How to do it
Assume the push-up position but with your hands on the ball rather than flat on the floor. Engage your core, then bend your elbows to lower your chest. Press back to the top.

 

Twist

Reps 12

The weight of the med ball makes this move more difficult because your upper abs and side abs need to be firing on all cylinders to lift your torso, then move it from side to side, then lower back to the start. Make it even harder by not letting your upper back hit the floor between reps.

 

How to do it
The move is similar to the crunch, except at the top of each rep you rotate the ball, with straightened arms, to one side then the other, before returning to the start.

 

Throw

Reps 12

This explosive move requires you to move your whole body powerfully and quickly to get your abs working as a single unit to encourage faster and more impressive growth.

 

How to do it
Stand tall holding a med ball in both hands. Squat down, then powerfully push through your heels to jump high. As your feet leave the ground, extend your arms to throw the ball as high as you can directly overhead. Catch it, then go straight into the next rep.

 

Raise

Reps 12

If you want a really impressive six-pack then it’s vital you don’t neglect your lower abs. This move does the opposite.

 

How to do it
Lie flat on the floor with straight legs and the med ball held tight between your feet or ankles. Lay your arms flat by your sides. Raise your feet off the floor, pause, then raise them as high as you can while keeping your legs straight. Pause at the top, then lower them slowly. Don’t let your heels touch the floor in between reps.

 

Slam

Reps 12

Each circuit finishes with a set of heart rate-raising, core-crunching explosive med ball slams. The key here is to slam the ball into the ground as hard as possible: the harder you do, the more your abs are working close to capacity. Imagine you’re trying to make a hole in the floor (but don’t actually).

 

How to do it
Stand tall with the ball in both hands. Raise it above your head, then slam it straight down into the floor in front of you. Catch it and repeat immediately.