Want to work your core hard and build some serious abs? We’re looking at the best ab exercises for definition and stronger core muscles. Your abdominals are one of the most versatile muscle groups to train. Of course, when you’re looking to attain visible abs, you need to consider that body type, diet and genetics also come into play. But the following exercises are great for everyone and anyone, whether your goal is a six-pack or a stronger core!
Want to move fast? Jump to the right section below.
- Russian Twist
- Bicycle Crunch
- Jack Knife
- Side Plank
- Mountain Climbers
- Leg Raise
- Reverse Crunch
- Hollow Body Hold
- The Workout Plan
The plank is one of the most popular ab exercises for definition. Lying face down, with your lower half and torso off the floor (so that the only contact points with the floor are the toes and the arms from the elbow down), you need to hold yourself steady. It’s harder than it sounds!
This exercise is even better since it can be adjusted. That means you can hold it for as long as possible and track improvement through increased maximum time, without the real need for repetitions and sets. That’s the beauty of isometric exercise!
A Russian twist is one of the oblique-focussed ab exercises for definition. You need to face upwards with your legs slightly bent and slightly parted and the arms held outwards. Then, as the name suggests, you twist. Turn until you’re around 45-90 degrees and hold the contraction. That’ll give the best results.
This exercise is then repeated but facing the other way, usually for 30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest before moving on to the next exercise set. They’re great for an oblique-specific workout.
Bicycle crunches begin in a similar position to normal crunches but with the legs elevated and knees bent. Place your hands on your head with your elbows pointed directly outwards. Then, crunch. Bring your shoulders and head toward your legs. With a slight twisting motion to get the elbows as close to the knees as possible, you’ll be feeling the burn in no time. This ab exercise is often used for more high-intensity workouts.
Tip: This exercise is easy to get wrong! The tendency to bring your elbow inwards is way too common. You should be keeping them facing directly outward.
Bridges are actually a glute-centred exercise, but they have a huge core element to them, too. The idea is to lay flat on your back with your knees bent, and push your hips forward. Stop when you’re parallel, hold for a second or two, and release.
This exercise should be performed for around 30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest before moving on to the next exercise set. Another great ab exercise for definition!
The jackknife involves lying flat on the floor with your arms extended above your head. Then, raise your lower and upper body at the same time, so the two come as close to touching as possible above the core of the body, and then return to the starting position.
Because of the type of ab exercise, this does target almost all of the abdominal muscles very intensely and again should be performed for around 30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest before moving on to the next exercise sets.
Side planks are another great ab exercise for definition. They take the same position as the plank, however, involve the motion of turning the torso 90 degrees so that one arm is pointing directly upwards. The other remains on the floor from the elbow down. Remember to do both sides!
Feel the burn and build some serious abs with mountain climbers. Start in a push-up position when the arms are still extended. Once you’re there, you bring your knees to your chest in an alternating motion.
This exercise, despite sounding simple, utilises several different muscle groups. That means it is a compound exercise and is also very effective at burning energy.
Rather than sets and repetitions, this ab exercise again often goes on time and is therefore reflective of the person’s fitness. Ideally, it would be performed for around 30 seconds consistently.
Another one of our amazing ab exercises for definition is the leg raise. Leg raises involve lying face up completely flat, with the arms at the sides of the torso, before the legs are elevated and held for around a second.
The legs should rise to around a 40-degree angle to really target the lower abs, and this should continue for 30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest before moving on to the next exercise sets.
The reverse crunch is a toughie. It involves the top section of the back and shoulders to remain on the floor, whilst the rest of the body is elevated. Keep your knees bent and brought close to your body for each repetition before returning upwards.
This ab exercise should be performed for around 30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest before moving on to the next exercise sets.
Hollow Body Hold
Finally, the hollow body hold is one of our favourite ab exercises for definition. It is much like the jackknife in terms of positioning. With your arms raised straight above your head and legs straight on the floor, lift both to around a 45-degree angle. When you’re there, hold the position for 1-2 seconds before relaxing and going back to the resting position.
This will really finish off the workout and push your abs to the limit. This should be carried out in sets of 30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest before moving on to the next exercise.
The Workout Plan
|Plank||30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest|
|Sideways Plank||30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest|
|Russian Twists||30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest|
|Bicycle Crunches||30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest|
|Reverse Crunches||30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest|
|Mountain Climbers||30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest|
|Bridges||30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest|
|Jack Knives||30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest|
|Leg Raises||30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest|
|Hollow Body Hold||30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest|
Watch the workout here:
Download the plan here:
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.