There's a good reason why so many fitness experts tell us we should train our abs. As well as making us appear slimmer, keeping your abs strong helps improve posture and protects us from injury. But there are so many ab exercises....how do you get started?
We've put together a list of 20 of our favourite ab exercises to work the upper abs, lower abs, obliques and core to create a complete ab workout that will help you burn fat, build muscle and define your waist.
To make this a workout, do 30 seconds of each exercise.
DOWNLOAD THE EXERCISES IN PDF
Upper ab exercises
1. Bicycle crunch
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, elbows wide and your feet lifted off the mat. Bring your right knee to your left elbow, using your abs to lift your body. Repeat with the otrher extremities and keep altermating for 30 seconds.
2. Toe touches
Lie flat on your back on your mat. Lift your legs staraight into the air with the soles of your feet parallel to the floor. Without lifting your lower back off the mat, reach for your toes with your hands.
3. Tabletop crunch
Lie on your back with your feet in the air and knees bent (so your shins are parallel to the floor). Do a crunch as your normally would.
Túmbate boca arriba con las piernas estiradas y los dedos de los pies en punta. Manteniendo los pies juntos, levanta las piernas al mismo tiempo que levantes el torso, formando tu cuerpo una “v”. Vuelve a bajar y repite.
5. Butterfly crunch
Lie on your back with your the soles of your feet together and your knees open, so your legs form a diamond shape. Place your hands behind your head. As you exhale, do a crunch, lifting your chest off the mat.
Lower ab exercises
6. Reverse crunch
Lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides. Lift your legs and bend your knees so your shins are parallel to the floor, or lift your legs straight in the air with your toes pointing towards the ceiling. Exhale and contract your abs bringing your knees towards your chest or your feet towards the sky by lifting your hips off the mat. Hold this position briefly and return to the starting position. Then repeat.
7. Leg raises
Lie flat with your legs straight and feet together. Lift both legs off the mat as far as you can without bending your knees or lifting your lower back off the mat. Lower your legs slowly back to the starting position.
8. Flutter kicks
Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and toes pointed. Lift your right leg off the ground just above your hip and then lift your left leg just a few inches. Alternate by moving your legs up and down. Don't lift your lower back off the mat during the exercises.
9. Scissor kicks
Este ejercicio es muy parecido a las “patadas de aleteo” solo que ahora, en vez de mover las piernas arriba y abajo, las vas a cruzar una por encima de otra (con las piernas rectas). No levantes la espalda de la colchoneta durante el ejercicio.
10. Roll up
The roll-up is a pilates exercises that works all your abs. Start lying flat on your back with your arms and legs extended. Keeping your arms extended, lift your body off the ground (using your abs), reaching forward until you touch your toes, then return to the starting position and repeat.
11. Side plank
Lie on your side with your feet stacked on top of each other and one forearm directly below your shoulder. Contract your abs and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold this position without letting your hips drop.
12. Side plank rotation
Start in side plank position. Lift your free arm into the air straight above you. Then bring your arm under your body beyond your hips, twisting your torso. Lift your arm again and repeat.
13. Russian twist
Sit on the mat with your knees bent and your heels resting on the mat (or, for an added challenge, lift your feet off the mat). Without arching your back, sit slightly backward. As you exhale, twist your torso to the left. Return to the middle then repeat the other side.
14. Heel taps
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet in the air. Lower one leg until your heel touches the mat. Repeat the other side.
15. High plank with shoulder taps
Start in high plank position. Keeping the tension in your abs and your upper body as still as possible, lift one hand off the floor and tap the opposite shoulder. Repeat the other side.
16. Dead bugs
To complete this core movement, lie on your back with your arms pointing straight to the ceiling and your knees up, thighs perpendicular to your body and lower legs parallel with your body. Now, slowly move one arm backward and you extend one leg forward…finish with each limb just above the ground, the slowly move back to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite limbs.
Begin by kneeling on your mat. Lean forward and place your hands and forearms on the mat. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders. Then, lift your hips up toward the ceiling, propping yourself up onto your toes, so your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders.
Keep your belly button tucked in towards your spine and squeeze those glutes!
18. Plancha alta
The high plank is a great full body exercises, that targets the shoulders and arms a bit more than the traditional plank. Start on all fours on your mat, with your hands directly below your shoulders. Lif your knees off the floor and push your feet back out behind you so your body forms a straight line. Contract your abs, pulling your bellybutton in towards your spine and hold this position for 30 seconds.
19. Mountain climbers
Start in a high plank position. Keeping your upper body as still as possible, bring your left knee to your left elbow, then repeat the other side in a running motion. Beginners can perform the movement more slowly.
10. Bear crawl
Start on all fours on your mat. Lift your knees a few inches off the mat and tense your abs. Crawl forward on your mat in this position.
You did it!
Well done...you just completed a tough workout and I'm sure you can feel it.
Completa este entrenamiento de 20 ejercicios abdominales dos veces a la semana y empezarás a notar los cambios en tu cuerpo. Dicho esto, ¿has oído alguna vez el dicho “abs are made in the kitchen“? Pues me temo que es cierto. Si lo que quieres es un six-pack, la dieta es crucial.
See, we all have abs, just for some they are more visible than others. To get your abs to shine, you need to minimize overall body fat. To do that, you need to have a balanced diet with minimal sugar and processed foods. It's true that for some it's easier than others to get abs - genetics and hormones also play a part. But in the end, it's all a matter of consistency!
As well as working your abcs, you'll want to incorporate some cardio into your regime. We recommend about 3 sessions of HIIT a week. HIIT workouts are extremely effective for burning fat and losing weight - in just 30 minutes you can burn a ton of calories! So no need to spend an hour on the treadmill.
Pro tip! If you can, do HIIT in the morning - it'll send your metabolism into overdrive for the rest of the day!
Caty is a blogger and ISSA-certified personal trainer. She loves writing about health and nutrition.
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