We all know that core strength and strong abs are important. Our ab muscles keep our torso centered and stable. They help you keep good posture and they support your back which is important for preventing injury and chronic pain. We use these core muscles constantly during your day. Each time you reach, bend, or lift, you are engaging your core. Even standing, walking, and sitting down brings your abs into play. These are all reasons ab workouts are important. Not just so you look amazing but so you can function in daily life properly.
The best ab workouts are key to functional fitness and will help you engage your core and lose weight, while helping you get normal everyday things done with more ease.
That said, ab workouts to develop a strong core are usually not considered a “favorite”. Nobody really wants to do endless sit-ups every day. Although they are an effective ab workout, they are tedious. Before you decide having a 6-pack set of abs isn’t worth it, check out these 5 ab exercises that aren’t sit ups, but are super effective and maybe even fun!
Ab Workouts | Plank
There are just a ton of variations of the plank from beginner to expert level. Although some might think holding a plank for any length of time is impossible, you might be surprised to learn how quickly you can go from barely able to hold still to planking with the pros. This one develops serious strength.
A fore-arm plank puts most of the focus on your abs, but a straight-arm plank engages your whole body. The most important thing to remember about any plank is to keep your elbows or hands that are the ground in line under your shoulders. Pull in your core and make sure you don’t sink into the floor or pull your glutes up too high. Hold the plank for as long as possible and keep track of how much you improve.
Mountain climbers are great ab workouts that will work your core and get your heart rate up in the process. This does double duty by chiseling your abs while promoting fat loss which can reveal your 6 pack in progress.
Start in a straight arm plank. Then lift one knee and bring it in toward your elbow. Return the knee back while alternating the other knee forward. Continue alternating at a pace that feels like a moderate run.
A kettlebell swing is another exercise that engages your entire body but really works to strengthen your core.
Stand with feet just wider than shoulder-width apart. With the kettlebell in both hands in front of you, hinge at your hips and swing the kettlebell through your legs behind you. Then, using the swim momentum, stand and swing the kettlebell out to shoulder height in front of you. As you stand, thrust your hips forward and engage your abs for stability. At the end of the swing, your knees should be straight and your glutes should be contracted in the hip thrust. Then repeat for as many reps as you can.
Ab Workouts | Reverse Dumbbell Chop
Standing ab workouts can be really effective. If you have a light to moderate dumbbell or even a weighted ball or a jug of water, you can do a reverse dumbbell chop and focus on your obliques.
To do a reverse dumbbell chop, stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart and have a slight bend in your knees. With a dumbbell in both hands, arms straight down in front of you, rotate your upper body until the dumbbell is outside your left/right thigh. Keeping your arms straight, swing the weight until it is above your opposite shoulder and straighten your legs at the same time. Return and repeat.
A reverse crunch works your entire core. From your major ab muscles, your obliques, and your secondary muscles deep in your core, you will feel these.
Start on your back with your legs at a 90-degree angle and your knees together. You can place your palms face down at your sides on the floor. Engage your core by pulling the muscles inward and hold your abs engaged as you lift your hips up off the floor. At the same time let your knees come in toward your chest. Slowly release the movement and bring your feet back to the floor.