If there’s one thing we all value in a relationship, it’s honesty. So let’s get this one off on the right track.
That set of corrugated abs you want? Getting them is gonna require a lot more than just holding off on that third piece of pizza and doing an extra set of crunches next week.
The good news is we’ve assembled 10 ab exercises that will put you on the path to those abs you’ve always wanted to take for a walk on the beach.
These basic moves don’t require weights and won’t have you doing hundreds of boring crunches. They’re beginner-friendly, but they’re not easy.
10 of the Best Ab Exercises to Get a Six-Pack
Before you tackle these ab exercises, take a few minutes to warm up your core. Try jogging in place, jumping jacks, or just holding a plank for 45 seconds.
Instead of thinking about reps for the following ab exercises, try to keep going for 30 to 60 seconds for each.
Standing Mountain Climber
This strong cardio ab exercise will get your heart rate elevated, your muscles warm, and your body ready to work out. Your abs and hip flexors are sure to feel it.
• Start out in a standing position, making sure there’s nothing on the floor around you. Push the coffee table out of the way and make sure you won’t step on the cat’s tail.
• Make fists and keep them at shoulder-height in front of you as you begin running in place, bringing your knees up as high as you can.
• As your right leg lifts up, punch your left arm toward the ceiling, keeping your core engaged throughout the move. Alternate arms and legs for 60 seconds.
Dolphin Knee Drop
Time to get on the floor for a kick-butt core strengthener that also targets your shoulders, which are recruited to stabilize your body.
• Keeping your core braced and legs straight, walk your feet forward two to three small steps, lifting your hips into the air.
• Lower your knees until they brush the floor, keeping your belly button pulled in toward your spine, then lift your hips back up, straightening your legs.
• Walk your feet back to starting position. Repeat.
Rock the Boat
This ab exercise is a little bit crunch-y, a little bit rock and roll.
• Start in a V-sit, with your knees bent, shins parallel to the ceiling, spine elongated. Your fingers can gently rest on your hamstrings, just under your knees.
• Keeping your core engaged, gently roll backward, and begin to round your spine. Lightly tuck your chin and roll onto your upper back, hips lifted off the floor.
• Roll forward into a boat pose, balancing on your sit bones as you straighten your legs, and reach forward with your arms. Pause before repeating.
Ski Down Abs
Imagine a black diamond mogul course and get ready to sweat as you fire up your obliques.
• Start a V-sit with just your heels and sit bones on the floor. Your spine should be elongated, your lower back flat, and your hands together in fists in front of you.
• As you scoop your fists to your right, lift your heels and bring them to the left.
• Lift your left elbow to lead your hands to your left side. Heels lift, setting down to your right. Keep alternating quickly.
This ab exercise will kickstart your heart rate and use all your abdominal muscles to stabilize your moving plank.
• Start in a high plank, shoulders stacked over wrists and away from your ears, eyes focused in between your hands. Keep your hips in line with your shoulders and engage your core.
• Start off with a mountain climber: bring your right knee to your chest, step it back in line with your left foot. Bring your left knee forward toward your chest, step it back in line with your right.
• Move into a twist by bringing your right knee across your body to your left elbow. Step it back to meet your left foot. Bring your left knee forward, across your body to your right elbow. Step it back.
• Finally, bring your right knee forward to the outside of your right elbow for the spider. Step your foot back to meet your left foot. Bring your left knee forward to the outside of your left elbow. Step it back. Repeat series.
Give yourself a short breather with the basic crunch. By lifting your legs to 90 degrees, you’ll target your entire core.
• Lie on your back, with your knees and hips bent at 90 degrees so that your shins are parallel to the floor and your knees are stacked atop your hips.
• Place your hands behind your head and pretend there’s an orange underneath your chin as you peel your shoulder blades up off the floor. Don’t squish your imaginary orange, and keep your gaze locked on the ceiling to protect your neck.
• Lower to starting position with control and repeat.
Take your ab workout to a new place with plank jacks, alternating between high and low movements.
• Start in a high plank, wrists directly beneath your shoulders, abs drawn in, and lower back flat.
• Hop your feet outward and back to starting position, then lower onto your right and left forearms, coming into your low, or forearm, plank.
• Hop your feet outward and back together, then press back up onto your right and left hands to come back into your high plank. Repeat.
Switch Kick Abs
This punch-to-the-gut ab exercise is designed to get the most out of your core. You might even feel your hip flexors begin to burn.
• Lie on your back with your legs lifted straight in the air at 90 degrees. If your hamstrings feel tight, bend your knees as necessary.
• Lower your left heel as close to the floor as you can, then punch your left arm toward your right heel, adding in a twist.
• Simultaneously lift your left leg and lower your right, bringing your left fist back toward your shoulder, and punching toward your lifted left leg with your right fist.
• Repeat, alternating legs as quickly as you can with control.
Low Plank Side Punch
Hop back into a forearm plank for this ab shredder that has you shift your weight as you throw stability-challenging haymakers.
• Start in a forearm plank, with your elbows stacked beneath your shoulders, core braced, and legs extended straight behind you.
• Shift your weight toward your left forearm and punch your right arm out to the side until it’s straight. Look toward your hand as you punch, then bring it back down to starting position.
• Shift your weight toward your right forearm and punch with your left. Repeat.