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.

  1. Plank
  2. Russian Twist
  3. Bicycle Crunch
  4. Bridge
  5. Jack Knife
  6. Side Plank
  7. Mountain Climbers
  8. Leg Raise
  9. Reverse Crunch
  10. Hollow Body Hold
  11. The Workout Plan

Plank

Woman doing the plank ab exercise

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!

Russian Twist

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 then repeated but facing the other way, usually for 30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest before moving onto the next exercise sets. They're great for an oblique specific workout.

Bicycle Crunch

person performing bicycle crunches

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.

Bridge

woman doing glute bridges

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 onto the next exercise set. Another great ab exercise for definition!

Jack Knife

Woman doing jack knife ab exercise

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 returning 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 onto the next exercise sets.

Side Plank

Man doing side planks

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!

Mountain Climbers

person performing mountain climbers

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 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 in the person’s fitness. Ideally, it would be performed for around 30 seconds consistently.

Leg Raise

Woman showing leg raises

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 onto the next exercise sets.

Reverse Crunch

Reverse crunch ab exercise example

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 onto the next exercise sets.

Hollow Body Hold

Hollow body hold ab exercise example

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 onto the next exercise.

The Workout Plan

ExerciseTime
Plank30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest
Sideways Plank30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest
Russian Twists30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest
Bicycle Crunches30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest
Reverse Crunches30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest
Mountain Climbers30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest
Bridges30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest
Jack Knives30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest
Leg Raises30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest
Hollow Body Hold30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest

Watch the workout here:

Download the plan here:


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If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.