We all know that ab exercises are important when it comes to toning your core and achieving the look you’re after, but sometimes it can be hard to find just the right routine that works best for your fitness level and your personal workout preferences. Luckily, I’ve put together some of my favorite best abs exercises below, which I hope will be able to help you with all of these factors! Let’s get started!
Lie on your back with your knees bent and hands behind your head. Exhale as you contract your abdominal muscles and curl up towards your shoulders. Inhale as you release. Be sure to exhale as you contract; taking deep breaths is key to flat abs. Repeat 20 times, 3-4 times per week.
It’s a common misconception that crunches alone will develop six-pack abs. The truth is, you also need to perform cardio exercises in addition to weight lifting to improve abdominal muscle tone. And if you’re looking for optimal results, make sure to increase your protein intake so that your muscles stay leaner while you burn body fat.
This exercise helps you sculpt your obliques—the muscles on either side of your midsection. It’s one of the most effective best abs exercises, since it requires that you maintain a perfectly still position without letting any part of your body sag or droop. To do planks: Lie face down with your forearms flat on the floor and elbows directly beneath your shoulders.
Your legs should be straight behind you, with toes tucked under so they don’t hang off of anything. Lift yourself up onto your toes and forearms, keeping everything from your shoulders to heels in contact with the ground at all times.
Hold for as long as possible before lowering back down. That’s one rep. As you get stronger, try to hold each rep longer than the last until you can hold it for 60 seconds or more.
When you think of ab workouts, side planks are likely not what comes to mind. However, they’re an excellent exercise to include in your regular routine if you want to get that slim waistline you’ve been wanting. They work by strengthening your oblique muscles and can help tone up flabby stomachs.
To do them: Lie on one side with knees bent at 90 degrees; place forearm on hip; raise hips off ground so body forms straight line from ankles to shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on other side. Do two sets of 10 reps daily. For more ways to strengthen your core and melt belly fat, check out these best-kept secrets about how to lose weight.
While Pilates doesn’t target just your abs, it is one of the best ab workouts for beginners. Exercises such as the Hundred and Scissors are easy to do at home, give you a full-body workout, and most importantly will help strengthen your core. Be sure to take it slow if you haven’t done Pilates before. It can take weeks or even months to build up strength so that you can properly execute these moves. If you have any injuries, see a doctor first.
Remember to always warm up before working out with 5–10 minutes of walking on a treadmill or doing some gentle stretching and foam rolling . Stretching should be included in every workout routine—it helps prevent injury and improves flexibility. Foam rolling involves lying on a foam roller placed under tight muscles (like quads) and moving back and forth over them until they loosen up. This increases blood flow to those areas, which helps reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
The mountain climber is one of those moves that you may have seen in action but never tried yourself. This exercise performed either on its own or as part of an all-encompassing workout circuit, involves taking your knees up to your chest while lying face down on the floor.
Your hands should be planted firmly next to your hips with elbows bent at 90 degrees; from there, you simply kick one knee at a time upward toward your chest before bringing it back down again. You can also make things more challenging by adding weights—dumbbells work well here—to each hand as you perform each rep. And if you want to take your training further, try doing these without bending your arms. As always, remember to breathe throughout.
This exercise works your whole abdominal area, including your lower, middle and upper abs. Lying flat on your back, place your hands on each side of you, palms down. While holding that position, lift both legs up together about six inches off of the floor (the higher you can lift them without using momentum is better).
Keep your back and neck straight as you lift. Hold for one to two seconds, and then slowly lower your legs back to their starting point. Repeat 10 times. As you get stronger, work up to lifting your legs while keeping your arms in front of you at chest level instead of out to your sides. You’ll target more muscles with these variations.
Alternating knee-to-elbow stretches
Lie on your back with knees bent and arms extended out at your sides. Engage your abdominal muscles to slowly lift one knee up while you reach over to grab that foot with your opposite hand. Inhale as you pull your knee in toward your chest, then exhale as you drop it back down to starting position.
Repeat 10 times before switching to your other side. To make things easier, you can hold onto something stable like a table leg or chair seat. And remember: Your abs should be engaged throughout each move to protect your lower back.
One of my favorite ways to target your oblique’s at home is with leg swings. I recommend that you do these every day as part of your regular workout routine—and yes, it counts as working out even though all you’re doing is swinging your legs.
Start by sitting on your bed with your knees bent to a 90-degree angle, feet flat on floor, hands behind head; keep hands behind head, and swing right knee upward towards right armpit until thigh is parallel to floor. Return to starting position, repeat with left leg. Do 15 reps per side. That’s one set. Aim for three sets total, increasing number of reps each week until you get to 20.
This popular abs exercise at home requires no equipment, and it’s an effective way to strengthen your abdominal. To do it, you lie flat on your back with both hands behind your head. Bend one leg so that your foot is resting on top of your other leg’s knee. Flatten back into starting position, then repeat with opposite sides. That’s one rep. Aim to complete 15 reps (four sets of five).
Start slowly, taking at least 30 seconds rest between sets to get the most benefit from these moves. For another challenge, add some weight to your torso by lifting a dumbbell or weighted plate over your chest as you perform each rep.
Bicycle: Another great move for beginners, the bicycle also works more than just your abdominal muscles. Lay down on your back with arms outstretched and legs in tabletop position (legs up in air with knees bent). Bring both knees toward one shoulder while keeping hips level; bring right elbow toward left knee as you lower left elbow toward right knee.
Working out your abs is only half of what it takes to get that perfect 6-pack; you’ve also got to be mindful of your diet. In addition to eating healthy fats, fiber, protein and avoiding simple carbohydrates, try adding one or two of these best abs exercises into your weekly exercise routine.
While crunches are a good start to working on your abdominal muscles, incorporating other types of ab workouts can help you develop more muscle mass in less time. These best abs exercises are all part of effective workout routines that should be added in during peak growth periods like pre-and postnatal periods, as well as adolescence. Add any of these five best ab exercises into your week, and you’ll start seeing results fast!