Calisthenics Abs Like an Ice Tray? | Calisthenics Abs Workout

by | Dec 10, 2023 | 1 comment

10 min read



I recently got a really interesting question from one of our readers and thought its worth a whole article. Getting a six pack, a really nice, visible, like an ice tray is not easy and there is a few things you need to get right, but before anything you need to know that it will take time, so be ready to put work into it for a long period of time.

Bruce Lee is rumored to have done over 1,000 ab workout repetitions per day. Everything from sit-ups, to leg raises and leaning twists. Based on this picture, there is no doubt Bruce’s core strength rivaled that of a great sequoia. But there’s much more to acquiring razor sharp calisthenic abs than just sit-ups.

So lets dive into this. 

Understanding the Abdominal Muscles

Abdominals are only one of 4 muscles that make up your core. You have your right and left obliques, and your lower back muscles. Together, this group of muscles forms a sleeve around your midsection, and is imperative to preventing injury during exercise. When trying to strengthen one muscle group, it’s equally important to strengthen the surrounding and antagonist muscles. The muscles in your body are all dependent on each other and your body likes to keep things proportionate. Having massive quads is hard to do without building your hamstrings. Same with abdominals, if you truly want a strong core, you need to work all the above-mentioned muscle groups.

Principles of Calisthenics Training for Abs

  1. Progressive overload: Gradually increasing the intensity, volume, or difficulty of exercises over time to continually challenge the muscles and promote growth.
  2. Core engagement and stability:  Emphasizing proper form and technique to engage the core muscles and maintain stability throughout each exercise, ensuring maximum effectiveness and injury prevention.
  3. Mind-muscle connection: Focusing on contracting the abdominal muscles intentionally during each exercise to maximize recruitment and enhance muscle activation.
  4.  Full range of motion: Performing exercises through a complete range of motion to fully engage the abdominal muscles and promote muscle development and flexibility.
  5. Functional movement patterns: Incorporating exercises that mimic real-life movements and activities to improve overall core strength, stability, and performance in daily activities and sports.

In The Movement Athlete Academy, we implement all of these principles for you so you don’t even need to worry about this. Take a look at our fundamental movements: 

Calisthenics Fundamentals

Calisthenics Fundamentals

As you can see CORE MASTERY includes 

– Abs work

– Side Work 

-Back Work

If you are talking about the six-pack, we are talking about abs specifically but you need all muscles around that to work well too. 

Instead of giving you some random exercises, though, we do a comprehensive assessment and know exactly where you are at and whether you still need to work on fundamentals or you can start working on advanced calisthenics moves. 

Once the assessment is done, we create a personalized training plan just for you. As you go along our AI coach guides you each day through the workouts that are both challenging but wont cause injury. 

As you go along, you unlock harder and harder skills which means that The Movement Athlete program is both progressive, personalized, and adaptive, which makes it the most powerful training program on earth.

Essential Ab Exercises in Calisthenics

These powerhouse moves are the secret sauce to sculpting those enviable six-pack abs without ever stepping foot in a gym.

Plank Variations:

Say hello to the plank family – standard, side, and reverse planks. These timeless classics aren’t just for punishing your abs; they’re your ticket to a stronger, more resilient core. Get ready to feel the burn as we fire up those muscles from every angle.

Leg Raises:

Hold on tight as we dive into leg raises, the ultimate litmus test for core strength. From hanging leg raises to dragon flags, we’re about to take your ab game to dizzying new heights. Get ready to unleash your inner dragon and leave your abs begging for mercy.

Bicycle Crunches:

Strap in and pedal your way to a killer core with bicycle crunches. It’s like taking your abs on a wild bike ride, with twists and turns that’ll leave you breathless. Get ready to feel the burn as we crank up the intensity and torch those calories.

Mountain Climbers:

Lace up your climbing boots because we’re about to conquer the mountain climbers. This dynamic exercise not only torches calories but also sculpts your abs with every rep. Get ready to scale new heights and carve out those rock-solid abs.

Hollow Body Holds:

Prepare to dial up the intensity with hollow body holds. It’s time to channel your inner gymnast as we engage every muscle in your core and leave you feeling the burn from head to toe. Get ready to hold on tight and embrace the challenge as we sculpt the abs of your dreams.

Advanced Calisthenics Ab Exercises

Get ready to level up your ab game with the Advanced Calisthenics Ab Exercises! These next-level moves are not for the faint of heart, but if you’re ready to push your limits and carve out those jaw-dropping abs, then buckle up!

L-sit Variations:

Are you prepared to elevate your core strength to new heights? Get ready to embark on a journey of tuck, straddle, and full L-sits. These variations will push your limits and sculpt your abs like never before. Say hello to a whole new level of core engagement and prepare to feel the burn!

Dragon Flags:

Prepare to unleash your inner dragon as we tackle this advanced exercise that will put your strength and control to the ultimate test. Get ready to soar through the air like a mythical creature and sculpt those abs to perfection. Warning: Side effects may include envy-inducing abs that leave others in awe.

Hanging Windshield Wipers:

Hold on tight as we take on hanging windshield wipers, the ultimate challenge for your obliques. It’s like taking your abs on a thrilling ride, with twists and turns that will leave you breathless. Get ready to conquer this fun and challenging exercise while sculpting those side muscles like never before.

 Ab Wheel Rollouts:

Brace yourself for the grand finale of our advanced ab exercises – the ab wheel rollouts. It’s time to roll your way to a shredded core with this challenging move that will test your stability, strength, and endurance. Get ready to embrace the burn and roll your way to abs of steel.

Designing an Effective Calisthenics Abs Workout Routine

Week 1: Foundation Building

Warm-up (Perform before each workout):

  1. Cat-Cow Stretch: 10 reps
  2. Bird Dogs: 10 reps each side
  3. Hip Circles: 10 reps each direction

Workout Routine:

  1. Plank: 3 sets, hold for 30 seconds each
  2. Bicycle Crunches: 3 sets of 15 reps
  3. Leg Raises (lying on the floor): 3 sets of 10 reps
  4. Mountain Climbers: 3 sets of 20 reps (10 each side)
  5. Hollow Body Holds: 3 sets, hold for 20 seconds each

Tips for Progression and Overload: Focus on maintaining proper form and technique throughout each exercise. If an exercise feels too easy, try increasing the duration of the holds or adding repetitions. Listen to your body and gradually increase the intensity as you progress.

Week 2: Increasing Intensity

Warm-up: Repeat the same warm-up routine as Week 1.

Workout Routine:

  1. Side Planks: 3 sets, hold for 30 seconds each side
  2. Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. Reverse Plank: 3 sets, hold for 30 seconds
  4. Bicycle Crunches: 3 sets of 20 reps
  5. Dragon Flags (or leg raises with added difficulty): 3 sets of 5 reps

Tips for Progression and Overload: Challenge yourself by increasing the difficulty of the exercises. Try extending the duration of the holds, increasing the range of motion, or slowing down the movement to maximize muscle engagement.

Week 3: Advanced Challenges

Warm-up: Repeat the warm-up routine from previous weeks.

Workout Routine:

  1. Full L-sit: 3 sets, hold for 15 seconds each
  2. Dragon Flags: 3 sets of 5 reps
  3. Hanging Windshield Wipers: 3 sets of 8 reps (4 each side)
  4. Ab Wheel Rollouts (or plank rollouts): 3 sets of 8 reps
  5. Bicycle Crunches: 3 sets of 25 reps

Tips for Progression and Overload: Push your limits by tackling advanced exercises and increasing the intensity of your workouts. Focus on maintaining control and proper form throughout each movement.

Week 4: Peak Performance

Warm-up: Repeat the warm-up routine from previous weeks.

Workout Routine:

  1. Tuck L-sit: 3 sets, hold for 20 seconds each
  2. Dragon Flags: 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. Hanging Leg Raises with Twist: 3 sets of 10 reps (5 each side)
  4. Ab Wheel Rollouts (from standing): 3 sets of 10 reps
  5. Mountain Climbers: 3 sets of 30 reps (15 each side)

Tips for Progression and Overload: As you reach the final week, aim for precision and control in each exercise. Challenge yourself with increased repetitions or longer hold times to maximize your gains.

Remember to listen to your body and adjust the intensity as needed. Consistency is key, so stick to the program and watch your core strength and definition improve over the next four weeks!

Diet for calisthenics abs

Now that we’re sure you’re doing [tweet_box design=”box_03″]the proper exercise to get those ice tray calisthenics abs[/tweet_box], I’m going to let you in on a secret: well-defined abdominal muscles have little to do with exercise, and everything to do with body fat percentage. For those of you who workout regularly, chances are you already have a rockin 6-pack hidden under a thin layer of belly fat. The models who flash their stomachs on the covers of Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines have body fat percentages in the low single digits.

How do you get that layer of belly fat to dissipate?
Through diet, particularly a high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet. Your daily intake of macronutrients should be broken down as follows:

  • Limit carbohydrates to 100 grams per day
  • 1-1.5 grams of protein for guys, per pound of bodyweight, per day / 0.7 grams of protein for girls,per pound of bodyweight, per day
  • The rest of your calories should come from healthy fat.
    • Nuts, nut butters
    • Eggs
    • Olive oil
    • Coconut oil
    • Butter from grass-fed cows
    • Avocados
  • Get enough green vegetables. Make a green smoothie making sure you are getting enough nutrients

To get more direction on a diet read this article on a Lean Mean Calisthenics Diet, but keep in mind, the diet is what will make it work.

Importance of Nutrition for Achieving Visible Abs:

Abs aren’t just built in the gym; they’re sculpted in the kitchen! It’s a well-known saying, and for good reason. No matter how many crunches you do, your abs won’t pop if they’re hidden under layers of fat. That’s where nutrition comes in. By fueling your body with the right nutrients, you can reveal those sculpted abs and showcase all your hard work.

Macro and Micro-nutrient Considerations:

  1. Protein: Make protein your best friend. It’s the building block of muscle and essential for repairing and growing your muscles after tough workouts. Aim to include lean protein sources in every meal, such as chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, and legumes.
  2. Healthy Fats: Don’t fear fats; embrace the good ones! Healthy fats, like those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, are crucial for hormone production, brain function, and satiety. Plus, they help keep your skin glowing and your hair shiny.
  3. Complex Carbohydrates: Fuel your workouts with complex carbs that provide sustained energy without causing blood sugar spikes. Opt for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes to keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day.
  4. Vitamins and Minerals: Don’t forget your micro-nutrients! Vitamins and minerals play essential roles in countless bodily functions, including metabolism, digestion, and immune function. Load up on colorful fruits and vegetables to ensure you’re getting a wide range of vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Hydration and Its Impact on Abdominal Definition:

Hydration isn’t just important for overall health; it can also impact the definition of your abs. When you’re dehydrated, your body holds onto excess water, leading to bloating and puffiness that can obscure your hard-earned ab muscles. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water daily, or more if you’re active or live in a hot climate. Additionally, consider including hydrating foods like cucumbers, watermelon, and citrus fruits in your diet to boost your hydration levels even further.

By prioritizing nutrition and focusing on fueling your body with the right foods, you can maximize your efforts in the gym and reveal those sculpted abs you’ve been working so hard for. Remember, it’s not just about what you do in the gym; it’s about what you do in the kitchen too!



The unfair truth is that genetics play a huge role in how much fat your body stores. Dropping down to 4%-5% body fat is not sustainable for most of us, even those magazine cover models who spend weeks cutting down to that size. There are the select few whose bodies are more comfortable with little body fat, but they’re the exception.

Having a 6-pack along with a well-defined muscular body; typically has more to do with being skinny than anything else. Remember Brad Pitt in fight club? While he had some serious muscle tone, he’s wasn’t that muscular, what made him look so cut-up was an extremely low body fat percentage. 80% of body composition is diet, so even though exercising plays an important role, what you eat is the ultimate determining factor.

If you really want a six pack you ve got to focus.


Congratulations! You’ve made it through this comprehensive guide to calisthenics abs training. We’ve delved into the intricacies of core muscles, explored a variety of effective exercises, and provided tips for designing personalized workout routines. By now, you’re well-equipped with the knowledge and tools to sculpt a strong and defined core using calisthenics techniques.

Remember, achieving a six-pack isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are abs. Consistency and patience are key. Stay dedicated to your workout routine, fuel your body with nutritious foods, and give yourself grace on this journey. Embrace the process, celebrate small victories, and trust that your efforts will pay off over time.

Last words? You’ve got this! Armed with the knowledge, dedication, and perseverance, you’re ready to embark on the exciting journey to achieving a six-pack with calisthenics. Whether you’re a beginner taking your first steps or a seasoned pro looking to fine-tune your approach, remember that every step counts towards your goal. Stay focused, stay motivated, and most importantly, enjoy the journey. With determination and effort, you’ll soon be flaunting those sculpted abs with confidence.

So go ahead, embrace the challenge, and let calisthenics be your ticket to achieving the strong, defined core you’ve always dreamed of. Your journey starts now!

If you don’t know where to get started, take this FREE assessment and get a personalised training plan today.





1 Comment

  1. Jackson Milner

    I think that as long as you are going to be doing exercises like this you might as well have a good diet! Thanks for the tips that you posted here!


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