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best abs exercises

Best Abs Exercises for All Fitness Levels

Best Abs Exercises

Do you think having hard-rock abs is impossible to achieve? If you think it is, then you are truly wrong. Now that you have your abs 101, you should’ve known better.

Achieving a strong and firm abdominal muscle is absolutely possible. You just need the right type of exercises that target your abs area. Luckily, we have compiled the best abs exercises for toned and firmed abdominal muscles. These exercises are perfect regardless if you’re just starting out or has been a gym veteran.

Machine Crunch

Machine Crunch
Screenshot from ScottHermanFitness

Machine Crunch is a perfect alternative if you want to upgrade your crunch exercise. This exercise primarily targets the rectus abdominis (popularly known as the “six-pack”)

Equipment Needed: Machine Crunch


  • Set the machine to the correct weight and chest pad height accordingly.
  • Take a seat with both of your feet planted firmly on the ground. Your chest should also be pressed against the pad.
  • Contract your abdominals to flex your upper torso forward and downward. This will cause the pad to descend.
  • Reverse your movement back to the starting position, once you have reached the peak contraction.
  • Have as many repetitions as you desire.

Overhead Squat

overhead squat
Screenshot from CrossFit®

This advanced weightlifting movement tests your midline control. It primarily targets your quadriceps but also works on your abdominals. It improves your speed, power, and athleticism.

Equipment Needed: Weights and Barbell


  • Start in a standing position, with both of your feet at shoulder width apart.
  • Bend your knees and grip the barbell in front of you. Make sure that both palms are facing you and hands are shoulder width apart from each other.
  • Slowly raise the barbell up to your chest and overhead. Position the bar slightly behind your head and extends both of your arms fully.
  • Slowly bend your knees to lower your body, with hips reach below the top of your knees, with your weight on your heels.
  • Have as many repetitions as you desire.

Stability Ball Pike

Stability Ball Pike
Screenshot from Ben Greenfield Fitness

This advanced exercise trims your waistline and tightens your core. Aside from strengthening your abdominal muscles, it also targets your arms, chest, and shoulders.

Equipment Needed: Stability Ball


  • Roll out on a stability ball, with your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, until you are resting on your shins.
  • Stiffen your torso and contract your abdominal muscle, then exhale slowly.
  • Form into an upside down “V” by lifting your hips up and pulling your feet toward your midline.
  • Go back to a plank position, with your shins resting on a stability ball, inhale as you go.
  • Don’t let your back sag by tightening your core/abs.

Hanging Knee Raise

Hanging Knee Raise
Screenshot from Brian Schmitt

If you want an exercise that targets every single muscle in your body, hanging knee raise is your best choice. This exercise targets your core, most especially your lower abs.

Equipment Needed: Pull up bar


  • Grip the pull-up bar with your hands with both palms facing out and around shoulder width apart.
  • Go to a hanging position by slightly lifting your feet off the floor.
  • Slowly bring your knees up to your chest while legs should still be kept together.
  • Take a pause and lower your knees slowly back to the starting position.
  • Have as many repetitions as you desire.


Screenshot from ScottHermanFitness

Don’t underestimate the power of planking. It may be a simple exercise but it’s one of the best when it comes to strengthening and stabilizing your deep inner core.

Equipment Needed: None


  • Start in a plank position, with toes and forearms on the floor. Keep your forearms faced forward and elbows directly under the shoulder. Relax your head and keep your gaze at the floor.
  • Draw your navel towards your spine while you’re engaging your abdominal muscles. Keep your torso rigid and straight. Keep your body in a straight line from toes to ears and spine in a neutral position. Ensure your heels are over the balls of your feet and your shoulders are down.
  • Stay on this position for 10 seconds. Slowly release.
  • You can increase up to 60 seconds over time.

Hollow Body Hold

Hollow Body Hold
Screenshot from Men’s Health

This move originated in gymnastics but was later on became a staple for gym enthusiasts who want to have six-pack abs. Just by the looks of it, it’s a somehow difficult exercise because it requires core strength. When done correctly, this move can improve the performance and efficacy of your core muscles.

Equipment Needed: None


  • Start in a lying position on your back. Pull your belly button towards the floor as you contract your abs. Keep your toes and hands pointed while holding your arms and legs straight out from your body.
  • Slowly lift your shoulders and legs from the ground. As you go, lift your arms and head along with your shoulders. Keep your lower back on the floor.
  • Hold on this position for 30 seconds.

Russian Twist

Russian Twist
Screenshot from Passion4Profession

The Russian twist is a great abs exercise as it targets all the muscles in your core. This total exercise also trims your mid-section, builds spine stability and improves your balance.

Equipment Needed: None


  • Lie down on your back with both of your feet supported. You can either have them hold by a partner or put them under something that will hold them. Bend your legs at the knees.
  • Create an imaginary V-shape with your thighs by elevating your upper body. Fully extend your arm in front of you and clasp your hands.
  • Exhale and slowly twist your torso to the right side. Don’t stop until your arms are paralleled with the floor.
  • Stay on this contraction for 30 seconds and slowly move back to the starting position. Exhale.
  • Perform the same techniques on the opposite side.
  • Have as many repetitions as you desire.

The Bird Dog

The Bird Dog
Screenshot from Luke Sniewski

This isolation exercise targets your thighs, butt, lower back, and abdominal muscles. Performing this exercise will not only give you good spinal stability and strong core but it can also reduce lower back pain.

Equipment Needed: None


  • Kneel and put your hands firmly on the ground. Keep your knees hip-width apart.
  • Lean forward slowly and position your hands directly under your shoulders at shoulder-width while all fingers are pointing forward.
  • Position your spine in a neutral position by stiffening your core and abdominal muscles.
  • Form one straight line from your hand to your foot by pointing your arm out straight in front and extending your opposite leg behind you. Keep your hips squared to the ground.
  • Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly go back to the starting position.
  • Do a total of 10 reps on both sides.
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Integrate a few of these exercises on your daily workout routine and get a strong and stabilized core. Achieving that six-packs abs is just icing on top when it comes to the many health benefits of strong abdominal muscles.


Harris-Fry, N. (2017). The Best Core Exercises For All Levels Of Gym-Goer. Retrieved from

Hyde, P.(2017).10 Best Muscle-Building Ab Exercises. Retrieved from

Marturana, A. (2018). 20 Core Exercises Top Trainers Swear By. Retrieved from

Miller, K. (2019). 5 Best Ab Exercises for Men. Retrieved from

Presto, G. (2018). The 41 Hardest Ab Exercises. Retrieved from

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