Ab Workouts

If you’re aiming to achieve a set of ripped ab muscles, you might think you need to knock out a few hundred sit-ups and maybe cut back on a few happy hours. However, getting the toned and strengthened ab muscles that you’re looking for requires a bit more work than that! Ensuring that your core muscles are prepared to stabilize and strengthen appropriately is a process that unfortunately doesn’t happen overnight – it can take months and months to get your core where it needs to be in order to have your body function properly, and help you improve your activities of daily living at the same time.

Before we delve into the ab workouts, let’s take a look at a few factors that need to be focused on simultaneously as you train your core!

For one, eating a whole, nutrient-dense diet is key to showing off those stomach muscles!

Secondly, training appropriately for your goals is imperative as well – incorporating a workout regime that includes cardiovascular activity as well as full body strength training will help your abs develop appropriately.

Lastly, think of your recovery! Doing sit-ups every day won’t lead to a six pack instantly…in fact, it will most likely lead to either injury or burnout. Ensure that you’re incorporating days of active recovery and rest in your workout program, and you’ll begin to notice that your abs aren’t the only thing getting stronger!

Let’s take a look at some of the top exercises for your ab muscles, and you can decide what is best for you and your fitness goals.

Best Ab Exercise for Men: Hanging Leg Raises

Equipment needed: pullup bar

2 sets of 5-8 reps

Hanging Leg Raises Exercise

See full hanging leg raise on KinX Learning

Description: Start by putting hands shoulder-width apart on a pull-up bar; from a dead hang position with shoulders down and back, raise your legs until they are parallel with the floor. From here, slowly lower your legs back toward the floor. This can be done with bent knees as well, to make the movement easier.

Best Ab Exercise for Women: Bird Dog

Equipment needed: none

3 sets of 12-15 reps

Bird Dog Crunch Exercise

See full bird dog crunch on Get Healthy U

Description: Begin on hands and knees, with shoulders over wrists and hips over knees. With core engaged, raise your right arm and left leg and extend them out straight simultaneously, then bring them together by bringing elbow to knee at belly button level. Perform reps then switch sides.

Best Ab Exercise with Weight: Russian Twists

Equipment needed: medicine ball, dumbbell, or kettlebell

2 sets of 10-12 reps

Russian Twist Exercise

See full Russian twist on Get Healthy U

Description: Begin seated on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on floor. From here, bring your shoulders down and back and engage the core, bringing your feet off of the ground into a slight hover. Slowly rotate your torso to the right side, touching your medicine ball to the ground by your right hip. Rotate back toward the center, then over to the left side to touch the medicine ball at your left hip. Bring the weight back to center.

Best Ab Exercise at The Gym: TRX Pikes

Equipment needed: TRX straps

2-3 sets of 5-7 reps

TRX Pikes

See full TRX pikes on Daily Burn

Description: Start with feet in the straps of the TRX, with toes pointing down and your body in a front plank position. Keeping core engaged and shoulders over your wrists, lift your hips up toward the ceiling while keeping your shoulders stacked over your wrists. From here, you should look like an upside-down V. Slowly lower your hips back down into the starting plank position.

Best Ab Exercise for Lower Abs: Leg Lowers

Equipment needed: a bench to hold onto, if needed

2 sets of 10-12 reps

Leg Lowers Workout

See full leg lowers on Redefining Strength

Description: Begin by laying flat on your back on the floor with legs extended straight. With arms by your side and core engaged, raise your legs off of the floor until the soles of your shoes aim toward the ceiling. Without letting your back arch, slowly lower your legs back down to the ground, keeping legs straight the entire time.

Best Ab Exercise for Upper Abs: Wide Leg Cross Sit-Ups

Equipment needed: none

2 sets of 12-15 reps

Wide Leg Cross Sit-Ups

See full Wide Leg Cross Sit-Ups on BodyBuildingReviews.org

Description: Start flat on your back on the floor with legs extended straight and out wide, with toes pointed up. Engage your core, and slowly raise your upper body off of the floor, bringing your right hand to your left foot. Lower back to the floor, and repeat on the opposite side.

Best Easy Ab Exercise: Cobra

Equipment needed: none

2 sets of 8-10 reps


See full Cobra workout

Description: Start face down on the floor with hands near your chest. Keeping your feet together and legs on the floor, press through your palms and lift your chest off of the floor. Let your head and neck follow the movement, keeping your shoulders down and back. Pause at the top, then slowly lower back to the starting position.

Best Standing Ab Exercise: March and Twist

Equipment needed: none

3 sets of 12-15 reps

March and Twist

See full March and Twist workout on Redefining Strength

Description: Start standing, with feet shoulder-width apart. With core engaged, bring your right elbow to your left knee as you rotate at the waist. Place your foot back on the ground, and repeat the movement on the opposite side.