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The 30 Best Abs Workouts To Add To Your Core Routine

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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When it comes to building a strong and defined core, having a variety of effective abs workouts in your core routine is essential. Not only do well-trained abdominal muscles contribute to a toned appearance, but they also play a crucial role in maintaining overall stability, balance, and posture. In this article, we will explore 30 of the best abs exercises that target different areas of the core, helping you achieve a well-rounded and powerful midsection.

The Anatomy of Your Abs

To effectively target and develop your core muscles, it’s crucial to understand the anatomy of your abdominal region. Your abdominal muscles are composed of several key components, each with specific roles in movement, stability, and posture. The upper abs, which encompass the area just below the ribcage, are primarily responsible for flexing the spine and bringing the ribcage closer to the pelvis.

A muscular man doing abs workouts on a machine
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These muscles play a vital role in movements like sit-ups and crunches. Moving down, the middle and lower abs become increasingly engaged in actions that involve bringing the pelvis towards the ribcage or lifting the legs. These muscles are particularly active during exercises like leg raises and flutter kicks. Understanding the distinct functions of the upper, middle, and lower abdominal muscles will guide you in selecting exercises that comprehensively target your entire core, leading to well-rounded and balanced development.

Abs Workouts Benefits

Incorporating a variety of abs workouts into your fitness routine goes beyond the quest for a chiseled midsection–it offers a myriad of holistic benefits that extend far beyond aesthetics, but let’s go in deeper into the specific benefits of training for six-pack abs.

Enhanced Performance

A robust core serves as a powerhouse for your entire body. Whether you’re lifting weights, running, or practicing yoga, a strong core provides a stable base, facilitating improved performance in various physical activities. As your abdominal muscles efficiently transfer force between your upper and lower body, you’ll find yourself achieving new personal bests in your workouts.

Posture Perfection

Good posture isn’t just about looking confident – it’s about aligning your body for optimal biomechanics and minimizing strain on your muscles and joints. Strong abdominal muscles play a pivotal role in supporting your spine and maintaining a neutral posture, reducing the likelihood of slouching and related discomfort.

Balancing Act

A well-developed core greatly contributes to your body’s balance and stability. By enhancing the strength of your abdominal muscles, you improve your ability to maintain equilibrium during dynamic movements, such as walking on uneven terrain or participating in sports that require rapid changes in direction.

Agility Amplified

Agility involves the coordination of movements and rapid changes in direction. A strong core facilitates fluid movements, allowing you to transition seamlessly between different activities. Whether you’re navigating obstacles in an obstacle course or dancing with precision, a conditioned core ensures your body responds with agility and control.

Functional Fitness

Beyond the gym, your core muscles are essential for everyday tasks. From lifting groceries to bending over to tie your shoelaces, a strong core supports your body’s movements and reduces the risk of injury. Functional fitness, which focuses on preparing you for real-world activities, thrives on a solid core foundation.

Injury Prevention

Weak core muscles can lead to imbalances that place undue stress on other parts of your body, increasing the risk of injuries. By diligently engaging in ab exercises, you create a strong shield of protection around your spine and surrounding muscles, minimizing the likelihood of strain and injury.

Confidence Boost

Achieving a strong core isn’t just about physical prowess; it also contributes to a boost in self-confidence. Witnessing the progress in your abdominal strength and witnessing your body’s capabilities can have a positive impact on your self-esteem and body image.

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30 Abs Workouts To Try:

1. Barbell Rollout: The barbell rollout is a challenging exercise for your core stability. Kneel on the ground while holding a barbell with both hands placed shoulder-width apart. Slowly roll the barbell forward along the ground, extending your arms in front of you, while keeping your core engaged. Maintain a straight line from your head to your knees. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position, using your core to control the motion.

2. Arms-High Partial Sit Up: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Extend your arms straight above your head. Engage your upper abs to lift your shoulder blades off the ground while keeping your arms raised. This exercise isolates the upper portion of your rectus abdominis.

3. Abs Wheel Rollout: Kneel on the ground and hold an ab wheel with both hands placed in front of you. Roll the wheel forward while keeping your core tight and your back straight. Extend your body as far as you can while maintaining control. Use your core muscles to pull the wheel back to the starting position.

4. Kettlebell Russian Twist: Sit on the floor, knees bent and feet flat on the ground, holding a barbell with both hands. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the ground. Twist your torso from side to side, moving the barbell from one side of your body to the other. Engage your obliques as you perform the twisting motion.

5. Swiss Ball Crunch: Lie on a Swiss ball with your lower back supported and your feet flat on the ground. Cross your arms over your chest or place them behind your head. Engage your core and perform a crunch by lifting your upper body towards your knees while keeping the ball stable. Lower your upper body back down with control.

6. Dip/Leg Raise Combo: Using parallel bars, perform a dip by lowering your body and then pushing yourself back up. After completing the dip, raise your legs in front of you, engaging your lower abs. This exercise combines upper body strength with lower ab activation.

7. Flutter Kick: Lie on your back with your hands under your hips and your legs extended. Lift your legs a few inches off the ground and flutter them up and down alternately in a scissor-like motion. 

8. Front Squat: The front squat is a compound exercise that primarily targets your quadriceps and core. Hold a barbell in front of your shoulders, resting on your collarbone and shoulders. Perform a squat by bending at your hips and knees, keeping your core engaged to maintain an upright torso.

9. Horizontal Cable Woodchop: Attach a rope handle to a cable machine at chest height. Stand perpendicular to the machine and hold the handle with both hands on one side of your body. Pull the handle diagonally across your body and down towards the opposite hip, engaging your obliques. Return to the starting position with control.

10. Legs Raise: Lie on your back and place your hands under your hips or hold onto a bench for support. Lift your legs towards the ceiling while keeping them straight. Lower them slowly without letting them touch the ground, engaging the lower abs to control the movement.

A man doing leg raises as abs workouts at the gym
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11. Medicine Ball Russian Twist: Sit on the floor, holding a medicine ball with both hands. Lean back, lift your feet, and balance on your sit bones. Twist your torso while moving the medicine ball from side to side, targeting both the upper and side abs.

12. Medicine Ball Mountain Climber: Assume a push-up position with your hands on a medicine ball. Alternate bringing your knees towards your chest in a running motion while maintaining a straight back. This exercise not only engages your core but also elevates your heart rate.

13. Pike to Superman: Begin in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, forming an inverted V shape. Transition smoothly into a Superman position by extending your arms forward and lifting your chest and legs off the ground. This dynamic movement engages the entire core.

14. Plank: The plank is a foundational core exercise. Start in a push-up position and lower onto your forearms. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core muscles. Hold this position for a set duration, focusing on maintaining proper form and breathing.

15. Pullup to Knee Raise: Perform a pull-up on a bar or suspension trainer. At the top of the pull-up, engage your core and lift your knees towards your chest. This movement targets your upper body and activates your core.

16. Pushup Rocket: Begin in a standard pushup position. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, forming an inverted V shape. This movement engages the upper abs and shoulders as you create an angle between your upper body and legs.

17. Resisted Reverse Crunch: Lie on your back with resistance bands anchored above you. Secure the bands around your feet and hold them in place. Bend your knees and pull them towards your chest while keeping your lower back on the ground.

18. Roll Out: Using an ab wheel or stability ball, kneel on the ground and place your hands on the wheel or ball in front of you. Roll your body forward while maintaining a plank position, then roll back to the starting position. This movement engages the transverse abdominis and obliques as you control the roll.

19. Medicinal Ball Seated Knee Tuck: Sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat. Hold a medicine ball close to your chest. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the ground. Engage your core as you simultaneously lift your knees towards your chest while bringing the medicine ball to your knees.

20. Side-Plank: Lie on your side with your legs straight and prop yourself up on your forearm. Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet. This exercise targets the obliques and lateral core muscles.

A man and a woman doing side planks as abs workouts at the gym
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21. Sprinter: Assume a standing position and lift one knee towards your chest while simultaneously bringing the opposite elbow towards the knee. Alternate between knees and elbows in a sprinting motion. This exercise engages both the upper and lower abs while also activating the obliques.

22. Situp and Throw: Lie on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground. Hold a medicine ball or weight plate close to your chest. Perform a situp, and as you reach the top of the movement, explosively throw the weight straight up into the air before catching it. This engages both upper and lower abs while adding an explosive element.

23. Star Plank: Begin in a standard plank position. Extend one arm and the opposite leg straight out while keeping your body in a straight line. Hold this position for a few seconds before switching sides. 

24. Straight Leg Barbell Situp: Lie on your back, legs extended, and hold a barbell with both hands above your chest. Engage your core and lift your upper body off the ground while keeping your legs straight. This exercise targets the upper and lower abs simultaneously.

25. Suitcase Deadlift: Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand at your side. With a straight back, bend at the hips and knees to lower the weight towards the ground. Use your core and legs to lift the weight back up, focusing on maintaining proper form and engaging the obliques.

26. Swiss Ball Plank Circle: Place your feet on a stability ball and assume a plank position with your hands on the ground. Use your core to move the ball in small circles under your feet. 

27. Swiss Ball V-Up and Pass: Lie on your back holding a stability ball between your feet. Engage your core to lift your legs and upper body off the ground while simultaneously passing the ball from your feet to your hands. Lower back down and pass the ball back to your feet. 

28. Medicine Ball V-Up: Lie on your back with your legs and arms extended. Hold a medicine ball with both hands. Engage your core as you lift your legs and upper body off the ground, forming a “V” shape. Reach the medicine ball towards your feet before lowering back down.

29. Weighted Sit Up: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Hold a weight plate or dumbbell against your chest. Perform a sit up by engaging your core to lift your upper body off the ground and then lower back down with control.30. Half Kneeling Chop: Attach a rope handle to a cable machine above your head. Kneel on one knee and hold the handle with both hands. Pull the handle diagonally downward across your body, engaging your obliques. This exercise challenges your core in a rotational movement pattern.


Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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