Looking for the best exercises for abs? You're in luck! In this post, we'll outline the best exercises for sculpting your abs – no equipment required, light equipment required, or heavy gym equipment required.
So whether you're at home, at the gym, or on the go, you can get a killer ab workout anywhere! Read on to learn more.
What are ab exercises and why should you do them
Exercising is one of the best ways to get rid of stubborn belly fat. But what are the best exercises for abs? If you're short on time or equipment, bodyweight exercises are a great option.
If you have access to light equipment, such as dumbbells or resistance bands, you can use those to increase the difficulty of your bodyweight exercises.
And if you have a gym membership, there are a variety of exercises you can do with heavy gym equipment that will help you carve out a six-pack. So whatever your situation, there's no excuse not to start working on those six pack abs!
How often should you do ab exercises?
If you're like most people, you probably think that ab exercises are something that you should do every day. After all, who doesn't want a six-pack? However, the truth is that you don't need to do ab exercises every day – in fact, it's actually better for your muscles to take a day or two of rest in between workouts.
This gives your muscles time to recover and grow stronger so that when you do work out again, you'll see even better results.
So how often should you be doing ab exercises? A good rule of thumb is to aim for one to three days a week, depending on your overall gym schedule and goals.
This will give you consistent results without overworking your muscles. And of course, always make sure to warm up before you start your workout and cool down afterwards. Your abs will thank you!
How many sets and reps is typically enough
According to most experts, it is generally recommended to do 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for the best results. This may seem like a lot, but remember that you can always break it up into smaller sets throughout the day.
For example, you could do a set of sit-ups first thing in the morning, another set mid-day, and one more before bed.
By doing this, you’ll be sure to get in a good workout without overdoing it. And before you know it, you’ll start to see those six-pack abs peeking through!
15 Best exercises for abs using no equipment at home
You don't need a gym membership or expensive equipment to get strong, toned six pack. There are plenty of exercises you can do at home with no equipment at all. These exercises will target all the major muscle groups in your core, including your rectus abdominis (the “six-pack” muscles), internal and external obliques, and transverse abdominis.
By incorporating a variety of exercises that work different muscle groups, you'll be sure to get a well-rounded workout. And by doing these exercises at home, you'll save time and money.
Hollow rock with hold
This challenging move works your entire body, and is sure to get your heart rate up. To start, lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides.
Raise your hips off the ground, and then reach your hands through your legs to grab your ankles. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then rock back and forth, allowing your momentum to carry you.
As you rock, keep your core engaged and resist the urge to arch your back. The further you rock, the more challenging the move will become. For an extra challenge, try raising one leg off the ground as you rock.
Seated rotation exercise is an excellent way to improve your flexibility and range of motion. The exercise is simple to do and only requires a chair and a towel. To begin, sit in the chair or on the floor with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground.
Place the towel around your waist and grip each end with your hands.
Next, slowly rotate your torso to the right, as far as you comfortably can. Hold the position for a few seconds, then return to the starting position.
Repeat the exercise to the left side. For best results, perform the exercise several times per day. With regular practice, you will notice a significant improvement in your flexibility and range of motion.
To do the exercise, start by standing on one leg with your knee slightly bent. Then, tap your other heel on the ground in front of you. Be sure to keep your standing leg straight as you tap.
For an added challenge, try tapping from side to side or back and forth. As you get stronger, you can even try tapping with both heels at the same time.
The important thing is to keep your balance and control the movement so that you don’t topple over. With a little practice, you’ll be heel tapping like a pro in no time.
The bear crawl is a great way to get your heart rate up while also strengthening your core, shoulders, and legs. To do the exercise, start in a low squat position with your hands on the ground and your feet shoulder-width apart.
From there, begin walking forward, leading with your hands and keeping your knees close to the ground. As you move forward, be sure to keep your back straight and avoid arching or rounding your spine.
Banded bird dog
The banded bird dog exercise is a great way to engage your core and improve your balance. To begin, start on all fours with your palms flat on the ground and your knees hip-width apart.
Next, loop a resistance band around your ankles and tighten it so there is slight tension. From here, raise your right hand and left leg off the ground, keeping your back flat and maintaining tension on the band.
Hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating sides for a total of 10-12 repetitions.
Bent-knee windshield wiper
The bent-knee windshield wiper is an excellent exercise for toning the abs and obliques. To perform the move, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Place your hands behind your head, and lift your shoulders off the floor. From this position, lower your right elbow to your left knee as you twist your torso.
Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating sides for a total of 20 reps.
Hand slider crunch
Start in a plank position with your hands on two separate gliders. Keeping your core engaged, slide your right hand forward as you bring your right knee toward your chest. Then, slide your left hand and left knee toward each other.
Return to the starting position and repeat the movement on the other side. Be sure to keep your hip flexors level throughout the move and resist the temptation to let them drop.
Glute bridge march
Start by lying on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Place your hands on the floor beside you for stability. Next, lift your hips off the ground and squeeze your glutes tightly.
From here, raise one leg off the ground and hold it in the air for a beat before lowering it back down. Repeat with the opposite leg. Continue alternating legs, keeping your hips raised throughout the movement.
You can make the move more challenging by adding a mini band around your thighs or by holding a weight in your hand.
Shoulder tap and jack
To do the exercise, start in a push-up position with your hands on the ground and your feet elevated on a step or bench. From there, tap your right hand to your left shoulder and then quickly tap it back to the ground.
Immediately after tapping your right hand, tap your left hand to your right shoulder. Alternate tapping sides as you would when doing a standard jumping jack.
As you tap your shoulders, jump your feet out to the side so that they land wide of your hands. Continue alternating tapping and jumping until you have completed the desired number of repetitions.
To start, lie on your side with your legs straight and your feet together. Then, prop yourself up on your elbow and raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your feet.
Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower yourself back down to the starting position. You can make the exercise more challenging by placing your top foot in front of your bottom foot, or by holding a weight in your top hand.
Lie on your back on the floor with your legs extended straight up in the air. Next, slowly lower your legs towards the floor, keeping them perfectly straight. You should feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings as you lower your legs.
Stop when your legs are about six inches from the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then slowly raise your legs back to the starting position.
Plank with knee tape
Start in a push-up position with your hands underneath your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Then, place a small piece of tape or a Band-Aid over each of your knees.
From there, slowly lower yourself down into a plank position, making sure that your back stays straight and your hips are in line with your shoulders. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then return to the starting position.
Plank with toe taps
To do the exercise, start in a plank position with your hands placed shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart. Be sure to keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout the exercise.
From there, lift your right foot off the ground and tap it lightly on the ground in front of you before returning it to its original position. Repeat the movement with your left foot, and continue alternating sides for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
To begin, lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your hips and take a deep breath in.
As you exhale, slowly lower your right leg and left arm towards the floor. Be sure to keep your low back pressed firmly into the ground.
Once your arm and leg are about six inches from the floor, pause for a moment before inhaling and returning to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite limbs, and continue alternating sides for a total of 10-15 reps.
To start, get in a push-up position with your feet on an elevated surface like a bench or box. As you lower your body toward the floor, tuck your knees into your chest.
Pause for two seconds at the bottom of the movement, then explosively drive your knees back to the starting position and extend your hips to return to the top of the push-up.
11 Best exercises for abs using light equipment
Exercises in this section will require 1-2 pieces of equipment that are commonly found in most gyms or are easy to get for your home workouts. If you don't have access to a gym, you can usually find these pieces of equipment at a local sporting goods store.
Banded bird dog with resistance bands
This exercise uses resistance bands to provide resistance as you move your arms and legs. To do this exercise, first attach the resistance bands to something sturdy.
Next, get into a push-up position with your hands on the banded handles. Extend one leg back, keeping your hips level.
Then, return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. As you extend your legs, you will feel the resistance of the bands working your muscles.
Plank with a dumbbell pull-through
To perform the exercise, start in a push-up position with your feet hip-width apart and your hands gripping a dumbbell. From here, engage your upper abs and glutes to lift your hips and bring your body into a plank position.
Be sure to keep your shoulders aligned over your wrists and your back straight. From here, reach one hand behind you and grasp the end of the dumbbell with your palm facing up.
Keeping your core engaged, pull the dumbbell through until it is under your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. This is one rep. Complete three sets of 8-12 reps.
Wall ball sit-ups
Start by sitting on the ground with your back against a wall. Place a medicine ball between your feet, and then press your back against the wall and raise your legs into the air.
From there, curl your knees up toward your chest and catch the ball between them. explosively uncurl your body and throw the ball back against the wall, catching it with both hands.
As you catch the ball, press your back against the wall and raise your legs back into the air. Continue throwing and catching the ball for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Low to high woodchip with dumbbells
Start by standing on a raised platform with a dumbbell in each hand. Lower yourself down into a squat position, then jump up and raise your arms overhead, keeping the dumbbells parallel to each other.
Land softly back in the squat position and repeat. As you get more comfortable with the exercise, you can add weight to the dumbbells or increase the height of the platform.
Overhead circle with medicine ball
This exercise requires you to start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a medicine ball at your chest, then lift it overhead and extend your arms.
From here, rotate the ball in a clockwise direction, making sure to keep your arms straight. As you rotate the ball, slowly lower it behind your head.
Once the ball has made a complete rotation, reverse the direction and repeat the process.
Double crunch pulse with medicine ball
Start by lying on your back with your legs in the air and a medicine ball in your hands. Squeeze the ball as you crunch up, then pulse at the top of the movement for two counts. Return to the starting position and repeat.
This exercise is a great way to target both the upper and lower abdominals. The medicine ball adds resistance, making it ideal for building strength and toning the stomach muscles.
Reverse lunge with twist using medicine ball
To do this move, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and holding a medicine ball in front of your chest.
Step backward with your right leg, lowering into a lunge. As you Lunge, twist your torso to the right, then return to standing. Repeat on the other side.
Medicine ball slam
To start a medicine ball slam, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a medicine ball in both hands. Raise the ball overhead, then explosively slam it down onto the ground.
Be sure to catch it on the rebound and repeat. This exercise is a great way to target the abdominals while also getting your heart rate up.
V-sit with single-arm chest fly with dumbbells
To do the exercise, start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly, so that your core is engaged, and place your hands on the ground behind you.
Raise your legs so that they are in line with your torso, and hold them there as you extend your arms out to the sides. Next, raise one dumbbell up to chest level and then bring it back down to the starting position.
Repeat with the other arm. Continue alternating arms until you have completed the desired number of repetitions.
Standing side bend with dumbbell
Begin by holding a dumbbell in your left hand and standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and raise your left arm overhead, keeping your elbow close to your ear.
From here, exhale as you bend to the right, reaching the dumbbell toward the floor. Be sure to keep your back straight and your core engaged as you bend to ensure safety and proper form. Inhale as you return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Single side bends with dumbbells
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold the dumbbell in your left hand and extend your right arm out to the side.
Keeping your abdominal muscles pulled in, bend at the waist to the left, lowering the dumbbell toward the floor. Be sure to keep you back straight and avoid rounding your shoulders. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Renegade row with dumbbells
To do this exercise, start in a push-up position with a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your core tight, row one dumbbell up to your side, then lower it back down. Repeat with the other arm.
Continue alternating sides for the desired number of reps. You can make this exercise more challenging by adding weight, placing your feet on an elevated surface, or performing the rows faster.
7 Best exercises for abs using heavy gym equipment
These exercises are best done in a gym with access to heavy equipment. If you don't have access to a gym, you can try these exercises at home with lighter weights or no weights at all.
Hanging leg circles
To do the exercise, start by hanging from a bar, and bending your knees, and feet together. Then, raise one leg up and over to the other side, keeping your hips level as you circle your leg around.
Reverse the direction and continue for 10-15 reps. To make the exercise more challenging, try holding a dumbbell between your feet. You can also try performing the move with straight legs to make your abs workout more challenging.
Cable isometric hold
To do this exercise, you will need a cable machine and a weight plate. First, attach the weight plate to the cable machine. Then, stand in front of the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Grab the cable with both hands and pull it towards your chest. Once the cable is in front of your chest, press it against your body and hold it there for 30 seconds. This is one repetition.
After you have completed the prescribed number of repetitions, slowly lower the weight plate back down to the starting position.
Side plank with cable hold
Start in a side plank position with your feet stacked on top of each other and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Then, reach your top arm up and place your hand on the cable pulley.
Start with the weight at the bottom of the stack and slowly raise it until your arm is fully extended. Hold for a moment, then lower the weight back to the starting position.
Be sure to keep your hips square and make sure your body forms a straight line throughout the exercise. If you want to make this exercise more challenging, instead of holding the cable, start performing rows.
Lying side raise with barbell
The key to this exercise is maintaining good form throughout the entire range of motion. Start with the barbell at waist level, and then smoothly raise it up to shoulder height.
Be sure to keep your back straight and your head up; don't let the weight of the barbell pull you forward. Lower the barbell back down to waist level, and then repeat the exercise for the desired number of reps.
Barbell situp with chest press
To start, lie down on your back with a barbell in your hands. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground.
From here, curl your torso up towards your knees while simultaneously pressing the barbell straight up overhead. Return to the starting position and repeat for reps.
Barbell overhead situp
This exercise can be done with a barbell or dumbbell, but it is important to keep your back straight and your feet on the floor throughout the movement. Start by lying on your back with the weight held overhead.
Slowly sit up, keeping your back straight and avoiding any arching in the lower back. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps.
Cable oblique crunch
To do the oblique crunch, lie on your back on an exercise mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Use your upper abs to curl your shoulders off the floor and rotate your torso to the right, bringing your right elbow toward your left knee.
Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. For an extra challenge, hold a weight in your hands or try doing the oblique crunch on a stability ball.
Ab workouts tips and tricks for best results
Ab workouts can seem like a never-ending battle. You workout hard, but those six-pack abs always seem to evade you. If you're looking for better results from your ab workouts, then try out these tips and tricks.
First, focus on exercises that work the entire core, not just the abs. Exercises like planks and Pilates are great for this.
Second, make sure you're using the right form. Many people think that they need to feel the burn in their abs to get results, but this often leads to poor form and injuries.
Third, don't forget to breathe! Proper breathing helps improve posture and stability, both of which are essential for effective ab workouts.
Finally, be patient. Results take time, so don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. Stick with it and you'll eventually achieve the rock-hard abs you've been working towards.
There are many different exercises that can be done for abs, and the best ones vary depending on your level of experience and equipment availability. We've provided some sample workouts to get you started, but be sure to experiment and find what works best for you. With consistency and dedication, you'll soon be on your way to a six-pack.
- What are ab exercises and why should you do them
- 15 Best exercises for abs using no equipment at home
- 11 Best exercises for abs using light equipment
- Banded bird dog with resistance bands
- Plank with a dumbbell pull-through
- Wall ball sit-ups
- Low to high woodchip with dumbbells
- Overhead circle with medicine ball
- Double crunch pulse with medicine ball
- Reverse lunge with twist using medicine ball
- Medicine ball slam
- V-sit with single-arm chest fly with dumbbells
- Standing side bend with dumbbell
- Single side bends with dumbbells
- Renegade row with dumbbells
- 7 Best exercises for abs using heavy gym equipment
- Ab workouts tips and tricks for best results