Ab workouts can be used as part of a complete workout routine that aims to give shape to the body, improve balance and flexibility, or increase core strength. The best ab workouts are those that include movements that work all the muscles in your midsection, including those of the back and hips.
With so many ab workouts to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is best for you.
Luckily, the 20 best ab workouts of all time are here to help. These 20 exercises will sculpt your midsection and improve your balance with a variety of moves that work different parts of the abs.
I have included beginner-level exercises as well as more advanced ones depending on your fitness level. So whether you need some extra abdominal toning or are looking for an intense full-body workout, these routines have something for everyone! Ready? Let’s get started…
The Benefits Of Ab Workouts
Ab workouts offer a variety of benefits for your overall health and fitness. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that abdominal workouts can help you achieve a more toned and sculpted midsection. But they offer other benefits as well.
Working out the abs can help improve your balance and flexibility. Ab exercises can also increase your core strength, which can help you perform better in other activities and protect your spine from injury. Additionally, ab workouts are a great way to help burn calories and fat, assisting you in reaching your weight loss goals.
So if you’re looking for an all-in-one workout that can help improve your balance, flexibility, core strength, and overall fitness, ab workouts are a great choice!
Which Ab Workout Is Right For Me
When it comes to ab workouts, there are a variety of exercises to choose from. So, which one is right for you? It depends on your experience level and fitness goals.
If you’re a beginner, start with basic exercises that work all the muscles in your midsection. These exercises include crunches, sit-ups, Pilates moves, and basic yoga poses. As you progress, you can add more difficult exercises to your routine.
If you’re looking for an intense full-body workout, try one of the more advanced ab workouts listed below. These workouts include moves that target specific muscles in the abs and require more strength and coordination.
No matter what your experience level or fitness goals, there’s an ab workout on this list that’s right for you!
One of the most popular ab exercises is the sit-up. Sit-ups work all the muscles in your midsection.
To do a sit-up, lie on your back and your legs bent. Your feet should be flat on the ground. Bring your hands behind your head and lift yourself up, while maintaining a straight back and leading with your chin.
Sit-ups are a great way to work all the muscles in your midsection. They also work the hip flexors and lower back. Additionally, sit-ups help improve your balance and coordination.
Additionally, you can also do side-sit-ups by rotating your upper body while you lift yourself up. This way your right elbow meets your left knee and the other way around.
To make sit-ups more challenging, try to add weights as you get more fit.
Crunches are a fantastic ab toning exercise. Begin by laying down on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head. As you rise from the ground, lift your shoulder blades and maintain a straight back. Lead with your chin. Repeat several times.
Crunches are a great way to work the muscles in your midsection without putting too much stress on your back. They also help improve your balance and coordination.
To make crunches more challenging, try doing them with added weights on your upper body. You can adjust the difficulty as you get more fit. Keep going!
Mountain climbers are a great exercise for working the abs, legs, and arms all at the same time. Start in a push-up position with your hands on the ground. Bring one knee straight forward in front of the chest and then return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
You can also do a variation of the mountain climbers. Work your side muscles by bringing your right elbow to meet your left knee and then repeat on the other side.
To do a reverse crunch, lie on your back on the ground and place your hands by your sides. Then, lift your legs off the ground and bend your knees until they are close to your chest. Hold this position for a second before lowering them back to the starting position. Reverse the motion and return to the starting position. Repeat this movement several times.
Bicycle crunches are a great way to work both the rectus abdominis and the obliques, which means the upper/middle section of the core and the side section of the core muscles.
To do this exercise, start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and then lift your shoulders off the ground. Bring your right knee to meet your left elbow and then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
The decline crunch is a variation of the classic crunch that is done in the same motion but using a decline bench.
The cable crunch is a great exercise for working the abs. To do this exercise, start by attaching a rope attachment to a low pulley on a weight machine.
Kneel in front of the machine and grip the rope with your hands. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and lean forward so that your back is parallel to the ground.
Crunch down and bring the rope toward your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Pilates is a great way to work your abs without doing any impactful exercises. As you progress, you can do every pilates exercise with a pilates reformer too.
There are a variety of Pilates core exercises that target the abs, such as:
The pilates roll-up is a great exercise for targeting the whole core muscles. To do this exercise, lie flat (legs extended) with your back on the ground. Then, simply roll/lift your upper body (starting with your shoulder blades) up to touch your toes or ankles.
Reverse the motion and return to the starting position. Repeat this movement several times.
The pilates scissor is a great exercise for working the lower abs as well the core muscles on the sides.
To do this exercise, start by lying on your back with your legs bended in the air and your head and shoulders off the ground. Place your hands behind your head or flat on the ground beside your body.
Next, lower your right leg toward the floor while keeping your left leg lifted. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
You can do this exercise in different variations to add difficulty. Like in the image you can place your hands on the sides for stability and lift your upper body. Then alternate leg raises between left and right.
Barbell rollouts are a great way to work the abs. To do this exercise, start by kneeling on the ground and placing a barbell in front of you.
Place your hands on the barbell and then roll it forward as far as you can without letting your hips touch the ground and your arms extended. Return to the starting position and repeat.
This exercise is great for working the muscles in your midsection as well as your upper body.
The boat pose is a great ab workout that also helps to improve balance.
To do this exercise, start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly and then lift your feet off the ground while keeping your arms extended for stability. Hold this position for 30 seconds or more and then slowly lower your feet back to the starting position.
If you want to make it more difficult, either vary the length of the intervals or do this exercise with extended legs.
Hanging Leg Raise
Hanging leg raises are a great exercise for working the lower abs. To do this exercise, start by gripping a chin-up bar with your hands and hanging from it. Then, raise your legs until they are parallel to the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat.
To make this ab exercise easier at the beginning, you can also do it with bended knees instead of straightened legs.
Lying Leg Raise
Lying leg raises are a great exercise for targeting the lower abs. To do this exercise, start by lying on your back flat on the ground and your legs straight. Place your hands on the ground beside you/under your back or behind your head.
Then, raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the ground, while keeping the legs straight. Then slowly lower them back to the starting position. Repeat.
You can also do this exercise with one leg at a time if you want to do some variations.
Seated Knee Tuck
To do this exercise, sit on the ground or a bench for instance with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands on the ground behind you and lean back slightly.
Next, lift your knees up in the air and switch to a position in which your legs are straight until coming back into the knee bended starting position. Repeat with legs extended and return to starting position.
This exercise is great for targeting the lower abs and doing it for instance as a finish to your normal workout routine.
>Knee pull-ins – similar exercise, explained and shown in a complete guide.
V-ups are a great abs exercise that works the entire core muscles. To do this exercise, start by lying on your back on the ground with your legs and arms extended.
Then, raise your upper body and your legs off the ground and bring them toward each other to touch in a “v” shape. Return to the starting position and repeat.
This exercise can be made more difficult by holding a weight in your hands or by keeping your legs straight instead of slightly bent.
Flutter kicks are a great exercise for targeting the lower abs as well as the core muscles. To do this core exercise, start by lying on your back on the ground with your legs extended in the air and your head and shoulders off the ground. Place your hands on the ground beside you or behind your head.
Then, raise your right leg a few inches and hold it there while you lower your left leg. Alternate legs and continue going up and down for 30 seconds or more. You can do this in a relatively slow motion or go faster as you build more core strength.
Stability Ball Jackknife
The stability ball jackknife is another great exercise for toning your abs. To do this exercise, start by placing a stability ball beneath the shins and your legs straight (body in a straight line).
Then, roll the ball toward your body by contracting your abs and bending your legs until the ball touches your knees. Reverse the motion and continue for 10-15 repetitions (legs extended until you have a straight line and start).
This exercise is great for working the entire core muscles, including the oblique muscles.
The Russian twist is a great way to work the obliques and improve balance. To do this exercise, start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly and then twist your torso to the right, bringing your right hand to touch the ground beside you. Return to the starting position and then repeat on the other side.
You can also hold a weight in your hands to make this exercise more difficult.
Planks are one of the best core exercises working the entire core. To do a plank, start by lying face down on the ground with your palms flat on the floor beside you. Push yourself up so that you are resting on your forearms and toes. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe (legs straight) and hold for 30 seconds or more.
You can make this exercise more difficult by holding it for longer intervals or by placing your feet on an elevated surface. Try out resistance bands to make it more challenging through different variations of this core exercise.
Side planks are also great core exercises. They are similar to regular planks, but it targets the oblique muscles more.
To do side planks, start by lying on your side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder (arm in 90 degrees angle). Prop yourself up so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet (legs straight not bend). Hold this position for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
Top 5 Ab Workouts For Men
- The first ab workout that you should try is the basic crunch. This is a simple exercise that can be done at home with no equipment needed.
- Sit-ups are another classical and great workout for men who want six pack abs. This exercise can also be done at home with no equipment needed. Or, with light to heavy weights added for increased difficulty.
- Hanging leg raises are a great way to work the lower abs. This exercise can be done at home, or at the gym.
- Russian twists are a great way to work the obliques.
- The plank is a great finishing exercise for any ab workout, that targets the whole core.
When it comes to working out your abs, there are a variety of different core exercises that you can do. These are just a few of the best ab workouts for men. Try incorporating some of these exercises into your workout routine to help tone your abdominal muscles.
Top 5 Ab Workouts For Women
Just as there are great ab workouts for men, there are also great core exercises for women. Here are five of the best ab workouts for women:
- The first ab workout that you should try is the Pilates roll-up. This exercise is a little more challenging, but it will help you to build strength and definition in your abs.
- The second ab workout that you should try is the side plank. This exercise works your obliques as well as your abs, and it is a great way to sculpt your midsection.
- The third ab workout that you should try is the reverse crunch. This exercise is a great way to target your lower abs, and it is also a great way to work your core muscles.
- The fourth ab workout that you should try is the stability ball jackknife. This exercise is great for toning your abs and your entire core.
- Lastly, try incorporating the basic crunch and the bird dog exercise. Both are great in combination to do without equipment needed at home.
Both men and women can benefit from doing ab workouts. These exercises will help to build strength and definition in your midsection. Try out a few of these exercises to see which ones work best for you.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Ab Workout
When it comes to ab workouts, it is important to make sure that you are getting the most out of your time. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your ab workout:
- Make sure that you are targeting the right muscles. When you are doing ab exercises, make sure that you are focusing on the muscles that you want to work.
- Make sure that you are using the right form. When you are doing ab exercises, make sure that you are using the correct form. This will help to ensure that you are getting the most out of your workout and that you are not putting unnecessary strain on your body.
- Make sure that you are challenging yourself. When you are doing ab exercises, make sure that you are challenging yourself. If you find that an exercise is too easy, try to increase the difficulty by adding weight or repetitions.
- Consistency is key. When you are doing abs exercises, it is important to stay consistent with your workouts. This means that you should do them regularly and not skip exercising.
- Lastly, adapt your diet to your fitness goals to get the most out of your workouts.
How Often Should You Work Out Your Abs To See Results?
The answer to this question is not straightforward because it depends on a variety of factors, including your genetics and body type. However, generally speaking, you should work your abs at least two or three times per week to see results.
Remember, though, that you need to focus on quality over quantity. So, don’t just do a bunch of sit-ups without engaging your core muscles. Instead, focus on doing exercises that target all the muscles in your abdominal area. For the best results, pair your ab workout with a healthy diet, maybe the right supplements, and regular cardio exercise.
Why Are Ab Workouts So Important To Have In A Complete Workout Routine
Your abs are the foundation for your entire body. They’re responsible for keeping your spine stable and help to transfer force throughout your body when you move. That’s why it’s so important to include ab workouts as part of your overall routine. Not only will they help you look and feel better, but they’ll also help you stay healthy and injury-free.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to ab workouts. But to make things easier, I’ve compiled this list of 20 of the best ab exercises out there. These workouts target all of the different muscle groups in your core, so you’ll be sure to get a well-rounded workout.
So whether you’re a beginner just starting, or a seasoned athlete looking for some new challenges, there is something for you.
The Importance Of A Good Diet When Trying To Achieve Abs
When it comes to getting abs, diet is just as important as exercise. To see results, you need to eat the right food and avoid the wrong one.
Here are a few tips for creating a diet that will help you achieve your goal of having a six-pack:
- Eat enough protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. It’s also necessary for keeping you feeling full and satisfied after meals. When trying to get abs, aim for at least 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
- Avoid processed food. It is generally high in unhealthy fats and calories and low in nutrients. They can also lead to cravings and overeating, which can sabotage your efforts to get a six-pack.
- Eat plenty of healthy fats. Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for you. Healthy fats are essential for maintaining hormone levels, reducing inflammation, and helping you feel full after meals. Aim for around 20-30% of your total caloric intake from healthy fats.
- Eat plenty of fiber. Fiber helps to keep you regular, aids in digestion, and helps you feel full after meals. It’s also essential for maintaining a healthy weight.
- Avoid sugary drinks. Soda, juice, and other sweetened beverages are loaded with sugar and empty calories. They can also lead to cravings and overeating. Stick to water, unsweetened tea, or sparkling water instead.
- Drink plenty of water. Water is essential for proper digestion, detoxification, and metabolism. It also helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied after meals. Aim to drink eight glasses of water per day.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is high in calories and can lead to cravings and overeating. It can also interfere with your sleep, which can impact your ability to recover from workouts and build muscle. If you do drink, limit yourself to one or two drinks.
- Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you’re eating and how you’re feeling after meals. This will help you avoid overeating and make better food choices overall.
Remember, abs are made in the kitchen as much as they are through working out. So focus on eating healthy, whole foods and giving your body the nutrients it needs to reach your goals.
What Is A Good Diet For Better Abs And Weight Loss
A good diet is key for better abs and weight loss. When you’re trying to lean out, you want to make sure you’re eating the right food and that you avoid processed junk.
Some of the best foods for better abs and weight loss are:
- Vegetables: All vegetables are great for weight loss and abs, but especially green vegetables like spinach or broccoli.
- Lean Protein: Chicken, fish, turkey, and eggs are all great sources of lean protein.
- Healthy Fats: Nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil are all healthy sources of fat that can help with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Whole Grains: Whole grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice are great for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. They’re also packed with fiber, which is essential for digestion.
In addition to eating the right foods, you also want to make sure you’re avoiding processed junk food. This includes things like:
- Ice cream
- Processed meat
Eating a healthy diet and avoiding processed junk food will help you see better results from your ab workouts and weight loss journey.
How Can You Incorporate Ab Workouts Into Your Regular Workout Routine?
There are many different ways that you can incorporate ab workouts into your routine. One of the best ways to do this is by adding ab exercises to your regular cardio training or strength training workouts. Ideally at the end of your workout.
You can also do ab workouts as a stand-alone training session, or as part of an interval training workout. If you’re short on time, you can also do a quick ab workout session in just 10-15 minutes.
No matter what type of ab workout you choose, make sure that you’re consistent, challenging yourself, and pushing yourself to your limits. This is the best way to see results.
The 20 best ab workouts are a great way to get started on your fitness journey or add some new exercises to it. If you’re looking for an effective and challenging workout routine, these exercises will help you tone your abs, improve your core strength and overall fitness level. Remember to focus on proper form and breathing. Also, drink enough water.
With consistency and dedication, you’ll see results in no time.
If you’re looking for more workout inspiration, check out the other fitness guides and tools. In case you have not already equipped your home with proper fitness equipment, check out this strength equipment and cardio equipment to get on the next level of your fitness journey and improve your everyday life!