The Ultimate Abs Workout

August 13 2019

If your goal is to achieve your own set of washboard abs, you’ll need to do more than just sit-ups. Your abdominal muscles are split into sections: upper abs, lower abs and obliques. So if you’re working towards a rock-hard six-pack, variation is key. 

But there’s more to abs than wanting to look good. A strong core is vital to many sports, and can help to train other muscle groups to give you more stability. Runners, for example, rely on a well-balanced core to aid in performance and reduce the risk of injuries.

To help you get on the right path, we’ve created the ultimate abs workout, targeting each area of your abdominals so that no muscles are neglected. 

Upper abs workout

  1. Dumbbell crunch
  • Lie with your back flat on the floor or a mat
  • Keep your knees bent and hold a dumbbell to your chest with both hands
  • Engage your upper abs to raise your torso into a crunch position
  • Slowly lower yourself back down into the starting position
  • Reps: 12, 10, 10, 8
  1. Toe Touches
  • Lie with your back flat against a mat with your arms by your sides and your palms facing down
  • Slowly lift your legs in the air until they are almost perpendicular to the floor, while slightly bending your knees
  • Move your arms so that they are fully extended at a 45-degree angle from the floor. This is the starting position
  • While keeping your lower back pressed against the floor, slowly lift your torso and use your hands to try and touch your toes
  • Remember to exhale as you’re reaching for your toes
  • Slowly begin to lower your torso and arms back down to the starting position while inhaling
  • Reps: 12, 10, 10, 8
  1. Modified V-sit
  • Lie with your legs raised off the floor and extended away from you so they’re parallel with the floor
  • Keep your arms straight by your sides and held off the floor
  • Raise your torso into a sit-up position, keeping your arms straight and tucking your knees close to your chest
  • Lower yourself back to the starting position in one controlled movement
  • Reps: 12, 10, 10, 8

Lower abs workout

  1. Alternating leg raise
  • Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head
  • Keep your legs straight and hold your feet just off the floor
  • Alternate between your left and right legs, raising them one at a time and lowering back to the starting position
  • Make sure to keep your lower abs engaged
  • Reps: 4 sets of 30-second reps
  1. Diagonal mountain climber
  • Start in the plank position with your hands under your shoulders
  • Make sure there’s a soft bend in your elbows and that your core and glutes are engaged
  • Bring up your right knee to your left elbow, then return to the plank position
  • Then bring your left knee up to your right elbow and return to the plank position
  • Continue to alternate and try to increase your speed as much as you can
  • Reps: 4 sets of 30-second reps
  1. Hanging knee raise
  • Hang from a pull-up bar or gymnastic rings with your body straight and an overhand grip
  • Bend your knees and use your lower abs to raise your legs until your thighs are parallel with the ground
  • Slowly lower your legs back down to the starting position, taking care to control your movements
  • Reps: 12, 10, 10, 8

Obliques workout

  1. Side plank
  • Lie on your side with your legs straight, propping yourself up on your forearm
  • Raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels
  • Hold the position for 20-30 seconds then switch sides
  • Reps: 4 sets on each side
  1. Bicycle crunch
  • Lie on the ground with your lower back pressed flat into the floor and your head and shoulders raised slightly
  • Place your hands lightly on the sides of your head
  • Lift one leg just off the ground and extend it out
  • Lift your other leg and bend your knee towards your chest
  • Twist your core so the opposite elbow comes towards your raised knee
  • Lower your leg and elbow simultaneously, then switch to your other elbow and knee
  • Reps: 12, 10, 10, 8
  1. Spiderman push-ups
  • Begin by getting yourself into a standard push up position
  • As you lower your body towards the floor, swing your leg out sideways so that your inner thigh is parallel to the floor
  • Try and get your knee as close to your elbow as you can
  • Push yourself back up and reverse the movement to get yourself back to the starting position
  • Repeat the movement while alternating which leg you raise
  • Reps: 12, 10, 10, 8

For more ab exercises, you can follow our 10-Minute Workouts. Core Performance, Ab-solutely Core-some and BOSU Core activation are all fantastic workouts that need minimal equipment and can be completed in just 10 minutes!

Head over to Inside Track for more helpful advice and information on fitness and nutrition.

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