Imagine if you could add a single twist to the old boring ab exercises you do regularly and instantly feel the difference in your results.
Or even better:
How about having 17 of these “twists”….
… that can really help you improve your core strength and build your abdominals fast.
You would probably like to see and apply everything yourself.
And even better, you can do it TODAY!
That’s exactly what I will share with you in this post:
17 Insanely Good AB Exercises You MUST add in your abdominal training.
And not only that, this whole post is a simple guide to getting abs in which not only will you find out what the exercises are, but you are also going to get a lot more than that!
Below you can check out everything you will learn from this post.
Let’s get started!
The Best 17 ABS Exercises That Will Get You Fast Results Now
Before I get right into the exercises I will share with you this little thing I do every time I train abs at home.
I take a few seconds to prepare and put all the equipment exactly where I will be using it.
For example, if I use a dumbbell for one of the ab exercises I will place it where I will do the exercise so I can get it as fast as possible.
Let’s say that for the next exercise I will need to use a light resistance band so doing the same thing I will attach it to a secure place ready to use.
And so on…
I hope you get the idea of this.
Doing these little hacks before your workout can really help you boost your results.
It can also increase the intensity and effectiveness of your workout.
The Best Way To Combine Exercises
If you value your time and want the fastest results for your core training you will really enjoy the strategy I will share next.
Using this strategy you will do much more intensive and productive work in the shortest time possible.
For it to work you must create a superset of 3 exercises.
Each one of these 3 exercises should target a different part of your abdominals.
To help you understand better what I really mean, please check the example below.
Don’t worry if you don’t know the names of those exercises.
I’m showing them with pictures and how to do them step by step further in this article.
- 1st exercise: leg raise hold (lower abdominals)
- 2nd exercise: upper crunch hold (upper abdominals)
- 3rd exercise: side plank with added weight (side abdominals)
So you will have to pick 3 exercises in total.
You can use some of the ones I will show you next, or use your own.
It really doesn’t matter.
You should note that each exercise targets a unique and different part from the other 2.
You will do all the 3 exercises you chose immediately one after the other with no rest between them. (the combination of different exercises is called a superset)
You will rest only after you finish with the whole superset.
After that you should rest for about 30 sec to 1 min (depending on your condition).
Then repeat the superset again for 3-4 supersets in total.
This short but effective workout should not take you more than 15-20 minutes to complete (maybe even less).
And what about the number of reps?
My rule is this – if you can do more than 12-15 reps without burning or losing your form then that means that you need to increase the difficulty.
I will show you a few great ways you can do it in the next little chapter.
So your target should be to do as many reps as you can without going over the number of 12-15.
If you can do only 5 that’s fine – don’t discourage yourself!
In time you will see progress and that number will easily start growing and will eventually get a lot higher than that.
What about the holds/planks?
If you are doing a static hold I would suggest you do it for around 1 min – 1 min 30 sec each side.
If you can hold for more seconds than that then you can add some more weight or use gravity (you will learn more about this in the next chapter).
Before we begin, I would like to tell you a few things you need to know.
I have picked exercises that will be a perfect match both for beginners and for advanced.
The difference shows if you decide to add more resistance or not.
You can do all the exercises literally anywhere (home, park, gym etc.) without needing any equipment.
These are some of the best abs exercises for six pack you will only need to do.
If you need equipment you can always improvise.
Feel free to use your creativity as much as you can in finding different ways to make each one of the exercises harder and more challenging.
As a bonus you will get all upper,side and lower abs exercises with pictures showing you step by step how to do them correctly.
Here are a few examples of how you can make them more difficult:
- Add some more weight (You can use anything):
- A backpack full of things (as shown in the pictures)
- Dumbbell, plated disk, books, rocks, bottles full of water, sand, etc.
- You can use a resistance band (there are many different types of resistance bands out there which are cheap and light)
- You can use gravity (increase the angle from which you are doing the exercise)
- Increase the number of reps
- Decrease the rest time
- Add more exercises to the superset
- Do more supersets in total
So let’s begin…
The 17 Exercises
#1 – Raised Plank
To be able to do this exercise you must find a stable elevated position to put your legs on.
That could be anything: bench, bed, chair, big rock, stack of something, etc.
The higher your legs are the more difficult the exercise will be.
To do it, first raise your legs and get into a plank position.
Squeeze your butt, make sure your body is straight and flex your core.
To make it even harder you can use an added weight which you can place on your back.
If you are all alone a backpack is the best way to do it.
This exercise focuses mainly on your upper and lower core muscles.
#2 – Raised Side Plank
The instructions for this exercise are exactly the same as the previous one.
Place your legs on a higher ground.
Prepare your body as you were doing a simple plank.
After you are ready simply rotate your body at one side and lift your other hand.
Hold your position using your side core muscles as much as you can.
Tip: You can also hold something in your free arm to increase the intensity.
(as for example I’m holding my backpack full of things)
Don’t forget that you will have to do it for both sides one at a time.
#3 – Raised Side Crunch
To do this ab exercise raise your legs, go for a plank position, rotate your body and flex your side abdominals to lift your body from the ground.
If you want, you can hold something in your free hand and put it on your back or hold it using straight arm position.
Then lower yourself slowly and controllably until you reach and touch the ground gently.
After you have touched it squeeze your abs and lift yourself up.
Go as high as possible.
Hold for a second and repeat.
#4 – The Walking Plank
This is one of my favourite plank exercises because you can target everything in your middle body.
To do it, go to a simple plank position using you elbows to hold your weight.
This will be your starting position.
Then slowly make a large step right using one leg followed by the other while trying to keep your torso neutral and straight as possible.
The only part moving should be your lower body.
After that go back to the starting position only by using your legs and repeat the same thing for the left side.
Return to the starting position and repeat.
Please have in mind that one left and one right step (with both legs) counts as one rep.
Tip: Again you can add something on your back to make it harder and more challenging.
#5 – Explosive sit-ups
This is a unique version of the simple sit up everybody knows about.
The variation I will show you is very good because it will help you increase your balance and explosiveness – both are very good things.
To do it, first lay down on your back and hold something that you will be throwing in your hands.
PLEASE NOTE: For obvious safety reasons please make sure the object you will be throwing and catching is not too heavy, sharp or dangerous because if you miss to catch it it’s going to hurt like hell.
I’m here only to show you useful things and exercises and I am not responsible for any harm or injuries you can cause yourself doing this exercise so be very careful.
I will use my backpack for this example
(I have a water bottle, some clothes and other small things inside so it wouldn’t hurt that much if it hit my head :D)
Then while doing a sit up and flexing your core throw the chosen object up in the air above your chest.
Note: You do not need to throw it very far – a few inches will do the job!
Then catch it and lower yourself to the ground in full control.
You will be using your core and stabilization in order to catch the object.
That’s why it’s a good exercise to add to your workout.
Then exhale and repeat again.
#6 Full Body Sit Up (Non raised leg edition)
To do the 6th great exercise, you first need to lay down on your back and hold an object above your chest (only if you need to – this is optional)
At the same time squeeze your legs towards your torso and your upper body towards your legs as hard as you can while holding the weight above your legs.
If you are not holding anything you can place your hands on both sides of your legs.
Slowly go back to the neutral position while trying not to touch the ground with your legs and repeat everything again.
#7 – The Holding Sit-Up
I pretty much really prefer this sit up over the regular one because you could make your abs burn a lot faster and harder.
Also you can do it in a lot quicker way if you have already developed your core.
Lay down to the ground and place your legs close to your upper body.
Grab and hug something relatively heavy.
Place it on your chest close to your chin.
Exhale, flex your abdominal muscles as hard as you can and lift yourself using them.
Make sure not to use your neck while doing this! (A lot of people do it)
Then try holding this position without the involvement of any other muscle groups as long as you can for around 1 min – 1 min 30 sec.
After you can’t hold anymore release your body slowly and place the weight you were using down carefully.
This specific motion targets the upper part of your abs.
Tip: If you can hold this position for a longer time then feel free to increase the weight. Also make sure you are using only your core!
#8 – Seated Lower Crunch
A great variation you can do to target the lower part of your abdominal muscles.
Sit on the ground and place something you will use as resistance near your feet. (you can also use your legs and hold it between them)
Lean back a little and use your hands as stabilizers.
Exhale and squeeze your core.
Move your knees toward your chest controllably.
Hold for a second.
Lower your legs slowly as furthest as you can without touching the ground and repeat.
This exercise is a must for every great lower ab workout.
#9 – Lower Hold
Another great variation of the old and boring leg raise.
To do it lay down and place something near your feet.
If it’s easier you can hold it with your feet – the best way for you to hold it really depends on the object itself.
Lay down and place your hands under your butt for stabilization and more comfort.
Keep your legs as straight as possible and lift them while holding your core tight.
Make sure you feel constant tension while holding this position.
Your legs should be around 30 to 40 degrees from the ground.
Hold everything tightly in this position as long as you can.
Again your goal is around 1 min – 1 min 30 seconds.
If that’s too easy for you increase the weight you are using and try again!
#10 – Around The World (Abs Edition)
If you are trying to target your lower and side abs this is a must have in your workout regime!
Sit down and place your weight, only if you need to, on your feet or hold it between them.
Lay down, place your hands under your body and lift your legs.
This is the starting position.
Then using your legs slowly make one clockwise circle as shown in the picture.
After you have reached the starting position do the exact same circle (this time it will be counterclockwise).
Then repeat again for both sides.
One left and one right circle counts as one rep.
This tough but good exercise is one of the best lower abdominal exercises you can do anywhere.
#11 – Side Crunches
Тhey are very well known but actually do a pretty good job targeting your left and right part of your lower v-shaper.
Lay down, lift and place you legs in a relatively close position from your torso.
By going as close as you can to the ground squeeze the right side of your abs while trying to touch your toes.
Go as far as you can while controlling everything.
Repeat the whole process for the other side and continue until you finish your set.
One of these for both sides counts as one rep.
#12 – The Whole Body Hardcore Sit-Up
This is one of the toughest exercises from all 17 I have prepared for you.
But as you have guessed – it’s one of the best.
It targets everything!
Lay down and pick a weight you can handle and hold it behind your head.
Then lift your legs from the ground and try holding them as straight as possible.
Lift both your torso and lower body at the same time as close to each other as you can.
Try holding in that position for a second.
Slowly lower everything but do not drop your legs on the ground – they should be at a constant tension.
Repeat as much as you need to.
#13 – The No-Bike Riding
This is exactly like riding a bike while doing crunches!
It also hits very good your upper and side parts of the abdominal.
Lay down as you are going to do a simple sit up with your hands on your neck.
Then slowly try reaching your left knee with your right elbow at the same time.
Lower your elbow and leg slowly.
Of course, do not forget to “feel” your muscles working.
Repeat the same step this time using your right knee and left elbow.
2 of these = 1 rep
#14 – Touch the sky Rotation
An excellent choice that will benefit your stabilization and core at the same time.
If you decide to add additional weight on each arm that would make it even better.
Start in the default plank position.
Make sure your legs are slightly spread for balance.
Also, your body should be parallel to the ground and as straight as possible.
Rotate your right hand outwards slowly and try reaching for the sky above (or whatever you have if you are somewhere inside).
Your legs should stay at one place.
Then slowly go back to plank position and do the same thing using your left arm.
Tip: If you want to make this exercise even harder you can try placing one of your feet on top of the other.
So two of these rotations (one for each side) is equal to one repetition!
#15 – Explosive Jumps
If you are training for explosive power this is a must-have.
You start by going for a similar to the plank position (this time your butt can stick a little)
Then you use your core and legs to jump…
… and land as close to your hands as possible.
Right after that you jump again backwards…
… and get back to the starting position.
Try doing these jumps as explosively and fast as possible.
Only after a few of those will you really see the power behind them.
#16 – Spiderman Side Crunch
Whether you are a Spiderman fan or not you should really try and add them to your next abs workout.
Your starting position is again the plank position.
Then slowly lift and move your right leg trying to reach your triceps.
After you are there try holding for a sec and then slowly move the leg back.
Repeat the same thing with the other leg until you have done it twice – that counts as one rep.
Tip: You can make this exercise even tougher if you decide to add some weight on your back.
Do as much of these as you can with proper form.
#17 – Lying Side Sit-Ups
This final exercise is my favourites when I try to do a quick but effective exercise for my side obliques.
Lay down on your side with your legs slightly bend inwards.
Pro tip: If your hip bone hurts while you are in this position you can always add something soft below (some kind of clothing, towel, a mat etc.)
I highly recommend you hold something in your other hand right above your shoulder as extra weight.
If you don’t need to you can use your other hand and place it on the top middle side of your head and try reaching your lower abs with your elbow.
Either way squeeze your obliques and lift your upper body as much as you can.
You can use the hand touching the ground to poke your obliques in order to make the contraction even better (mind-mucle connection, remember?).
Try holding for a second and then release your upper body back slowly.
Repeat until the set is over.
If you feel like burning, that is a good sign – you have found the right intensity.
If you are following all the tips and steps above, after you complete your training, your middle part of your body is going to be pumped and burning.
Now you know how to combine exercises for muscle growth.
But it’s not enough if you don’t know this…
How Often Should You Train Your Abs?
I get this question asked a lot from my clients and comments on my youtube channel.
The quick answer I can give you is that it is possible to train it everyday because it’s a small muscle group.
Personally I, prefer to train it every other day because it can overwhelm you very easily .
And don’t forget that you will have to recover properly to receive good results.
But that’s a whole another story for another time.
A good sign to make sure that you are making progress is:
- You can do a lot more reps
- The extra weight you use is getting light
- You can do more sets
- Your energy levels are good throughout the day
- Your core is getting stronger
If you don’t see any of the things listed above than you might be overtraining or not resting enough.
If that’s the case, I would recommend you to lower the number of workouts (not only the ones for the abs) and give your body time to recover.
So, in a nutshell, you can train them everyday or the more recommended way is every other day.
So now we begin with the fun part…
How to get the max out of every exercise
Firstly I want to tell you that 2 people can do the same exercise.
At first, while watching them side by side they are doing it the same way.
On the other hand, things are a lot different than that.
The first person can have little to no results while the second can have amazing results.
Why some people get results and why others don’t?
Having in mind that both types are willing to do the hard work.
Let’s find out!
I will break down the most important parts of training your abs.
Before we start I want to tell you there isn’t such thing as the best abdominal workout you can do. There are tips and tricks you can apply to help you get better results.
Now you will learn the 4 things that will help you get the max out of every rep you make and achieve the greatest results!
1 – Feel The Muscles
Yep, if you don’t feel them you are not really training them.
This thing is also called mind-muscle connection.
The better you are at “feeling” your six pack while contracting it, the better the results will be.
Your goal is to flex them as hard as you can and “feel” them in every single rep you make.
But how do I “feel” my muscles?
Simple – you just flex them!
You can do it while seating (as I’m doing it right now while writing this post).
Don’t believe me?
Try it yourself!
A good technique you can use is to poke or touch your abdominals with one or both hands while trying to contract them as hard as you can.
Of course you want to exhale first.
So in order to increase your mind-muscle connection you can do 10 of these at a time anytime throughout the day.
Just exhale all the air from your lungs, squeeze as much as you can your core muscles while poking them with one of your hands.
It really doesn’t matter if you seat or are standing.
Try keeping this form for as long as you can. Then inhale for a second and repeat 9 more times.
In time you will start seeing results because you will start holding for longer and “feel” your abs better and better…
If for example you stop feeling your muscles contracting while doing an exercise it’s better to stop and try doing it slowly or with lighter weight.
It’s far better to do less reps or exercises with good mind-muscle connection rather than just doing the movement.
Your goal isn’t to just go from point A to point B.
Your goal is to drive and feel the holes on the road…
Let’s see what’s coming next….
2 – Don’t forget to Breathe
“Son, don’t forget to breathe”
…was the first thing I heard when I was a little boy and was trying to swim.
Well we all know that without breathing we will simply die and it’s not that far from a difference when it comes to doing it while training your ab muscles.
As you have guessed already (if you have read the previous step) you must:
Inhale while you are on the negative part (releasing).
Example: You are doing leg raises and you are lowering your legs to the ground.
Exhale while you are on the positive part. (the contraction)
Example: Again you are doing leg raises but this time you are lifting your legs and are squeezing you abs as hard as possible.
I don’t know why, but a lot of people I see, including my friends, forget to breathe and become red as a tomato while training.
We all know muscles use a lot of oxygen so if you don’t breathe correctly for every repetition, that will leave you with weaker results.
How to learn to breathe properly?
A good tip I can give you about this is to purposely control your breathing while doing the exercises at the beginning so it becomes a built in habit.
You will have to think about how and when you breathe on every rep.
Try controlling every breath you take using the 2 examples above.
Trust me, it’s all worth it in the long term.
You will see that in no time, while you are training your abdominals, or in fact training your body, your breathing will automatically start to inhale and exhale at the right moments of every rep.
That’s Your Goal!
So now you know everything about mind-muscle connection and breathing but that’s not enough because…
… we have 2 more to go.
Let’s check what I have in store for you…
3 – Having Full Control
One of the most underestimated things we all do sometimes, is not having full control over our own body when we train.
The enemy of control and proper form is the old bad ego.
You don’t want to become trapped by your own ego which will definitely lead to a plateau or even worse – unnecessary injury.
The simple rule you can follow is this:
Then you must control every single rep you make using proper form.
If you can’t do any more reps using good form it’s better to stop.
Breaking the form or using too much weight for a specific exercise will most likely do the exact opposite effect of what you are aiming for.
Another way you can achieve full control is by having this tempo for every rep:
- 1 second positive (the squeezing)
- 1 second hold (holding the squeeze)
- 1 second negative (stretching the muscle)
This is also called the 3 second rule.
Use it for every single exercise out there with a combination of proper form and good weight.
If you do, then you will definitely achieve faster results for your abs training.
Ready for the next one…
…here we go!
Why trying new things will help you getting faster results
When you train regularly and do the same ab exercises over and over again your body and nervous system slowly adapts to the same routine.
And guess what happens…
.. you stop getting the results you want.
This problem doesn’t only occur once you train your abs – it’s the same for every single muscle in your whole body.
But don’t worry, this can be easily manipulated and reversed in your favour.
That’s why I have included not 1 or 2 but a total of 17 different types of abdominal exercises you should add in your training regime.
Or even better – you can use them as inspiration.
Read closely because I will help you learn how to get visible abs using the information in the next chapters.
To stop your body from adapting you must stress it constantly and try new things.
Trying new things doesn’t always mean that you should do totally different exercises.
There are a lot of effective changes which you can implement to surprise your body.
That way you will learn how to build big abs in an easy and effective way.
Let’s check them!
The right way to try new things for your abs workout!
There are many techniques you can apply to stress your core muscles and achieve faster results.
Now I will list the 4 most important things you can apply for every exercise you do and will give you the best way to workout your abs:
1) Increasing the weight you are doing it with
Example: Last time you didn’t use any more weight and did 15 reps, this time you can add for example 1 lbs (500 gr.) and try for 10-12 reps.
By adding extra weight in every exercise you do your workout slowly becomes an ab workout for size and power.
2) Increasing the number of reps
Example: Let’s say in the last training session you did 12 in total, now you will go for 13. Next time you will try 14 etc.
3) Increasing the time under tension
Example: You can easily achieve that by holding the contraction for one extra second on every single repetition you do.
The seconds will easily increase the time under tension you do.
4) Doing the same exercise with a little tweak
Example: For example lifting your legs on higher ground when doing plank can feel in a totally different way than doing it on the ground level.
Adding only one of these 4 little steps into your workout can really help you progress.
Applying only one of them will be enough to tell your body:
“What’s going on here? I must get bigger and stronger to adapt!”
Remember you don’t need to do all 4 of them.
Pick just one and go for it!
You should always strive to progress but it’s not necessary to do it in every workout you do.
I would recommend from personal experience to try new things every few workouts.
#5 – Little Bonus – Rotate The Exercises
You could always rotate the order of the exercises so you confuse the body and the nervous system.
Example: Last time you trained your abs at home, you did this:
- Leg raises
- Sit ups
- Side crunches
Next time you can repeat everything but you will replace the order:
- Side crunches
- Sit ups
- Leg raises
Now let’s learn about the most important part…
Resting Properly & Total Training Time
No matter if you are training your abs at home, at the gym, in the park or somewhere else all your concentracion should focus only on the workout itself until you finish.
If the time needed you to complete your full abs training is more than 20-30 minutes than you are doing something wrong.
I highly believe that most likely there is some sort of issue with your resting time or you are missing one of the things I will explain below.
Now I will give you a few simple steps that can immediately help you lower your total training time.
You can apply them directly to your next workout.
Let’s check them out…
Tip 1# Remove Distractions
Try to guess the biggest distraction there is out there…
.. yep, it’s your smartphone.
There are only 2 things that your smartphone can really help you with.
- 1) Use it for listening to great music for motivation
- 2) Use it as a stopwatch.
If you are using your phone I would suggest you put it on Do Not Disturb / Airplane Mode.
Texting, calling or checking notifications during sets can disrupt your resting time and can harm your workout.
Try to minimise it as much as you can or even better – put it on one of the 2 modes above!
If you already have a chronometer that’s even better – Congrats!
Don’t worry if you don’t!
You really don’t need to buy one – today’s most phones will do the same job just fine.
If you have a TV, PC or Laptop nearby you can turn it off.
Or even better:
You can’t just turn off the monitor (or put it on sleep mode).
Noise counts as one of the worst distractions when you are trying to focus on something and it can really harm you.
Personally I think the best way to lower its impact is by listening to music with some good air tight earbuds or by going to a quieter place if possible.
Of course that sometimes we can’t run from the noise but we can do is most definitely lower it’s impact on us as much as we can.
Here comes tip #2…
Tip 2# Know what you will be doing ahead
“To be prepared is half the victory” – Miguel de Cervantes
When we are talking about training your abs the story isn’t much different than that.
If you don’t want your whole workout to take ages, a lot of nerves and energy – then prepare everything ahead.
Below I will give you some great guidelines you can follow.
Good Tip: In the beginning of my fitness journey I had a little notebook in which I used to write down the date, what I would train that day, the number of exercises, sets and reps every time before I started.
That little thing I did really help me to know what I will do only by checking the last one!
Here are the 5 things you must know before you even start:
1. How much exercises and how many sets you will do
Example: I will do 3 exercises as one superset for 3 supersets in total.
2. Which exercises you will do and in what order
Example: I will do leg raises, sit up hold and side crunches.
3. What weight / resistance you will use for them
Example: I will not use any extra weight for the leg raises and side crunches but I will add a 10 lbs plate for the sit up hold.
4. Where exactly you will be doing the exercise/s
Example: I will train in my room and I will need to move my chair, place the rubber mat and move the table so I can get enough space.
5. What machines/equipment will you need
Example: I will only need to prepare the 10 lbs plate I will be using and place it near the mat so I can easily grab it once I need it.
As you can see it’s not difficult at all.
Believe me this can save you a lot of headaches and time!
If you are just starting out I would recommend you take a piece of paper and a pen and write down all those things before the workout.
You will continue to do this quick exercise until you get used to everything above.
Soon after that you won’t need this.
Tip 3# Prepare everything ahead
If you think I have missed another epic exercise or a good tip please make sure to let me know in the comments below.
Also, if you really like my content feel free to share it with others so more people can check it out.
Final tip: It’s far better to pick only 3 of the exercises I have showed you and do them for a month using everything I have included here than not doing anything.
Wish you the best,
Hey there, my name is Bozhidar and I’m a certified online personal trainer with University Degree in Sports and Nutrition.
With the help of my knowledge and over 8 years of workout experience, I can help you get on the next level. I own a home gym, do calisthenics, little gymnastics, and love to ride a bike.