There are numerous exercises that target your abs, but there are certain exercises that are more effective than others.
The most effective ab exercises are a wide range of movements that can be performed at the gym, at home, with machines, free weights, or no equipment at all.
You can even sculpt your abs through cardio workouts.
Typically when someone wants to tone their abdominals, they don’t realize that abs are one of the most difficult parts of the body to shape. According to Self magazine, this is because your abs, or rectus abdominus, aren’t easy to target and it’s possible that, with certain popular exercises, you’re only targeting part of the large muscle.
Navigating which exercises are best for targeting your abs doesn’t have to be as complicated as the human anatomy, however. All you need to know is that some of the most effective exercises for abdominal definition don’t necessarily need to be performed at the gym or require equipment. They will, however, often work a few muscles at a time.
So what are the best exercises to target your abs? INSIDER reached out to trainers in the space for their favorite moves.
Rotational ball slams combine cardio and strength exercises
EverybodyFights instructor Ricardo Rose recommends rotational ball slams for abdominal work because the combination move marries cardio and core work in one swift movement.
“Starting with feet squared and Medicine Ball at the hips,” he told INSIDER. “From here create a big circle, around and above the head, while pivoting the feet to the side your slamming to. Aim to slam the ball right outside of the foot.”
Repeat 10 times in each direction.
Kneeling dumbbell chops, with the right form, do wonders for your core
Kneeling dumbbell chops are amazing for your core just as long as you’re mindful of your form, Rose said.
“Start in a half kneeling position, let’s say right knee down and left foot is out in front. Start with a single dumbbell (DB) of medium weight (not too heavy not too light), and begin with your left hand above your right-hand grip on the DB handle. Weight starts at the side of the hip where the knee is down, in this example, DB will start at the right hip.
“Proceed to chop the DB up and across the body over the left shoulder. Make sure to keep an upright position m, not allowing your upper body to collapse forward. A great way to advance this exercise is to chop both in the upward direction and downward direction in a single rep. This is much harder and will require major stability in your core.”
Landmine rotations require gym equipment
If you’re a member at your local gym take advantage of the equipment available to you. A lot of the accessories and machines can be used for core work, and Rose told INSIDER a landmine rotation for barbells is a great example of this.
“Hold the end of the barbell about hip level [with] one hand under and one hand over. From here give your knees a slight bend. Begin the rotation by pivoting the feet keeping your core engaged, arms straight bringing your hands overhead and facing the barbell. Essentially rotating 90 degrees, control back to starting position and repeat for 10 reps each side.”
Add heel touches to the classic crunch
The classics are classics for a reason and Rose told INSIDER he’s definitely a fan of this oldie but goodie.
“Start laying down in a normal crunch position, feet flat on the floor, arms straight to your sides and shoulders raised off the floor. Begin reaching sideways to either heel, at the same time you’re reaching to touch your heel, crunch the upper body slightly forward, bringing your shoulders higher off the floor.
“Keeping your shoulders off the floor and adding a crunch with the reach will keep your abs engaged while you work giving you a greater burn in your core. Repeat 10 heel touches each side”