20 Insane Ab Exercises For Ripped Abs


Lying on the floor and performing 100 crunches each day is not going to give you the abs you want. We think that you already knew this, but didn’t know what to do about it. The key is in the diversity of the exercises that will target different muscle groups forming the abs you want.

Look beyond the basic crunch and start using body weight training. It will help you immensely – not just with your abs, but with your entire body.

1. Reverse Crunches

This is one of the most basic exercises for abs that even beginners should be able to perform. Lie with your back on a workout bench. Hold the bench with your hands above your head so that your elbows point to the ceiling.  Your legs should be fully extended with a slight bend on the knee.

Keep your feet flat on the ground, lift your legs and maintain their bent position until your knees touch your elbows.  Your hips will be raised off the bench.  Contract your abs and make sure not to use your legs to gain momentum when you are lifting them. Your head should remain in a neutral position.

Hold the contraction for a second and then slowly release your legs until your feet are flat on the floor again. Perform 20 or 30 repetitions to work your lower abs completely. When you completely master this exercise and reach an advanced stage, you can use ankle weights.


2. Walking Planks

Hold your body in a plank position. Your legs should be straight out behind you as you are resting on your arms.  Your weight is supported by your hands.

This exercise resembles a push up position but your hands should be directly under your shoulders.  Walk forward on your arms with your legs slightly dragging behind you. Do not allow your hips to sag or your lower back posture to change during this exercise. Your abs should be contracted as if someone were to punch you in the stomach.

Go forward for four counts then push backward for four counts. Hold your abs tightly during this exercise to work your abdominal wall. It would be best to perform 6 to 10 repetitions. Firstly, rest 60 seconds, and then repeat one to two times. This exercise will do wonders for your abs in no time!


 3. Split Raises

Lie with your back to the floor and hold your legs and arms upward so they are perpendicular to the floor. Lower your right leg and left arm at the same time until they hover around three inches to the floor.  Hold for a couple of seconds.

Lift them back up and repeat on the other side. Your neck, shoulders and head should remain on the ground during the entire exercise. Split raises strengthen your spine since you shift the force between your upper and lower body.

If you are performing this exercise correctly, you should feel that your abs are contracted while you are doing it. You should do 20 repetitions on each side.  This muscle-defining exercise can be performed by both beginners and experienced people and it will certainly pay off once your ripped abs start showing.


4. Side Oblique Raises

This exercise targets your oblique muscles, which are located on either side of your torso. Stand up with your hands on your head and lift one leg to the side, similar to an outer thigh lift.  Your elbows should be flaring out to your sides.

Place your weight on one leg and lift the other leg out to your side with your knee bent.  Bend your torso toward the lifted leg to work your sides, or side abs. Your knee should meet your elbow. Straighten your back up and then repeat the exercise.

Repeat this about 20 times on one side and switch to the other side for an even workout. Once you’ve reached an advanced level, you might try this exercise with a dumbbell, kettlebell or you could use a cable pulley or exercise band. If you choose a dumbbell, hold the weight down by your side with the hand that’s not bending.


5. Hanging Leg Raises

First of all, this is not an exercise for beginners.  You should be aware that it takes some time to learn how to properly perform this exercise.  Besides, even if you’re an expert, don’t use weights the first time.  As you develop more strength, you might try holding a dumbbell in between your feet.   If you add to much weight too quickly, you might end up getting a hernia.

Hang from a chin-up bar.  Your arms should be extended and your legs have to be straight down with your pelvis a bit backwards. Raise your legs until they form a 90-degree angle with your upper body.  Hold the contraction for a second.  Now, breathe in and lower your legs to the starting position. Repeat 20 times.

Also, you can do this exercise on a vertical bench which will make it much easier since your upper back will be supported and in place.


6. Bicycle Crunches

The Bicycle Crunch is one of the best ab exercises you can do in order to activate the rectus abdominus. This is an ideal exercise for beginners and although experts cannot add resistance to this exercise, they can focus on perfecting it while performing it in a slow manner.

Assume the crunch position but lift your legs into a 90-degree angle shape.  As you crunch upward, twist to the side and bring your knee to your elbow.  As you lower your upper body, stretch that same leg out so it’s parallel to the ground. Your knees should touch your opposite elbows as you move back and forth. You are creating a bicycle pedaling motion in the air to work the abs.

It is important that you breathe properly and evenly throughout the exercise.   Also, be careful not to strain your neck while doing the bicycle crunches.


7. Toe Taps

Toe Taps are an excellent postpartum exercise for the abs.  In addition, all beginners will greatly benefit from performing this exercise. Hold two dumbbells in your hands and lay on your back with weighted arms held perpendicular to the floor. Start with your legs stretched out.

Lift your legs to the weights and back down. The dumbbells act as counter-weights to keep your back protected.  Lie down on the floor, place your hands on the back of your head and the workout can begin.

You should almost touch your left knee with your right elbow bringing out the most of the exercise.  Make sure to keep your abs contracted as you lower one leg.  Also, first do repetitions on one leg and then switch to the other side. 15 reps on one side should have the desired effect.  Repeat for 1-3 sets. You can also do the toe tap exercise seated on a bench.


8. Swiss Ball Planks

This exercise can be very tricky because the instability of the Swiss Ball makes it really hard to hold your position.  You start by placing your hands on a Swiss ball and positioning your body like you plan to do regular pushups.

Instead of resting your weight on your hands, place your forearms on the ball.  Press your elbows and forearms into the Swiss ball as hard as possible in order to remain stable. Your arms and torso should form a 90-degree angle, and your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.

Next, squeeze your abs tight and brace your entire body, trying not to let your body move with the ball.  It’s crucial not to allow your hips to sag or torso to rotate during this exercise. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and concentrate on breathing properly. This exercise is amazing for your abdominal, lower-back, and hip muscles.


9. Windshield wipers

This is a very exhausting exercise, so be cautious. Also, it is not recommended for beginners. Lie on your back on the floor and spread your arms straight out; you should be looking like the letter T. Now raise your legs and move them like a windshield wiper, left and right, without moving other parts of your body.  Your legs should be raised at a 90 degrees angle.

As you improve, bring your arms closer to your body – that way you’ll have less stability and it will be harder for you to perform this exercise.

Also, you can do windshield wipers hanging from a pull-up bar and raising your legs until they’re perpendicular to the floor; you should be looking like the letter L.  Your body will be close to the bar and your elbows bent.  If you want to make the exercise easier, bend your knees. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.


10. Ab Roller

The Ab Roller is a pretty much self-explanatory device that helps you tighten all the abdominal muscles. The slower the speed of the movements, the better the results, but be careful and gradually slow down your movements.

Hold the device with both hands and kneel on the floor.  Your position should be similar to the kneeling push up position. Roll the Ab Roller forward; as you do this, your body will stretch into a straight position.  Roll the device as far as you can, but do not touch the floor with your body.

Stop and roll back to the starting position.  Repeat as many times as you can.  Breathe in as you roll forward and breathe out as you return to the starting position. The risk of an injury is a bit higher, but the results make up for that.  The Ab Roller is not recommended for people with lower back problems or hernias.


11. Pilates Crunches

Assume the position for regular crunches and then put a Pilates ball under your legs and try to keep it there during the crunches.  Your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle once you put your feet on the Pilates ball.  Your feet should be three to four inches apart.  Your hands should be resting on your head.

Roll your shoulders off the floor, while keeping your lower back on the floor.  You should breathe out at this point.  Squeeze your abs and hold for a second.  As you inhale, return to the starting position.

Do not use your back or neck when rising up.  Make sure to do the entire movement for every repetition as half reps will get you nowhere. If you are a beginner, you could use the wall as a force that will prevent the ball from under you. Targeting those lower abs, this exercise quickly found its way to this list.


12. Fitness Ball Crunches

Place the fitness ball on your mat and carefully lie on it, while maintaining balance.  Position the ball under your lower back.  You can either place your hands on your head or cross your arms across your chest.

The hardest part of this exercise is keeping the ball stable.  Of course, the ball mustn’t roll if you want maximum results. Repeat 1-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. Although this is an exercise for beginners, make sure you do it slowly.  Do not add weights in the beginning as you’ll have enough trouble learning how to balance yourself.  Also, if you add too much weight too quickly, you might get a hernia.

The exercise works just as a regular crunch but this time the entire body works to keep itself on the ball, making the workout more intense and rewarding.  Crunches performed with the fitness ball are more effective than floor crunches because the abs do most of the work instead of the legs.


13. Fitness Ball Rolling

This is the variation of the previous exercise designed to work the core much more efficiently. You should roll yourself on the ball, while maintaining balance with the shoulders and upper body.

Kneel on the floor and place your fists on the fitness ball.  Slightly bend your hips and lean forward, rolling your arms over the ball.  You should roll forward as far as you possibly can.  Pause for a second and roll backwards until you find yourself in the starting position. Repeat 20 times.

This exercise can be a bit easier if you perform it on a larger fitness ball.  The smaller the ball, the harder the exercise.  Also, if you are a complete beginner, you might place your arms and legs further apart. On the other hand, if you are an expert, place your arms and legs closer together and/or knell on a platform.


14. Swiss Ball Mountain Climbers

Here’s another great challenging exercise with a Swiss Ball.  Place your hands on the Swiss ball and start in a plank position. A harder version of the mountain climber, this exercise is amazing for your abdominal, lower-back, and hip muscles.

The instability of the fitness ball forces your core to work harder in order to keep you from falling over or losing your balance. It is important to prevent your body from moving.  Stand in a push up position with your hands positioned on the ball.  Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.  Keep your abs contracted throughout the exercise.  Raise your right knee towards your right elbow without rounding your lower back.

Pause for a moment and return to the starting position. Afterwards, raise your left knee towards your left elbow. Do 1-3 sets with 10-15 repetitions.


15. Stir the Pot

According to Men’s Health, the internationally renowned spine specialist Stuart McGill claims that the Swiss-Ball Stir-the-Pot exercise is the best core exercise you can possibly do. Bear in mind that this is a hard exercise, not recommended for beginners.  However, once you master it, you’ll have amazing ripped abs in no time.

Place your body in a plank position with your elbows on a Swiss ball.  Position your forearms and elbows on the ball, hands clasped. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Keep your body straight and move your elbows in a circular way.  While your arms are making circles, make sure that the rest of your body remains still.

This exercise is called ‘stirring the pot’ because the movements resemble the ones people make when stirring a pot.  Makes sense, right? Do this 10 – 15 times and then repeat in the opposite direction.


16. One Arm Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk

This is not an easy exercise for complete beginners (although it does seem easy), but if you start doing it, trust us, it will pay off.  The One Arm Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk will do wonders for your forearms, abdominals, gluteus, hamstrings, lower back, quadriceps and traps.  And you should be aware that few exercises work your entire body the way this one does.

Grab a really heavy dumbbell in one arm and stand straight. Walk forward for 50 – 100 feet without allowing the weight of the dumbbell to make you lean to the side.  Take short, quick steps and walk as fast as possible.  Also, don’t forget to breathe properly throughout the exercise.

Once you’ve completed the walk, repeat the exercise with your other hand.  Repeat the walks depending on your strength and level of workout. The instructions couldn’t be simpler, but the results will be fantastic!


17. One Arm Dumbbell Bench

Well, this is a nice exercise for beginners.  Take a heavy dumbbell and lie on your back on a bench.  Hold the dumbbell in one hand and use the other hand to help position the dumbbell over you in a proper way.

Lift the dumbbell and use the hand that is not lifting in order to keep the dumbbell balanced.  You might need to do this when you do this exercise for the first time, but later keep your hand resting to the side. Pause, and then lower the weight back to the start. Repeat 15 times.

Mind you, it should take you twice as long to lower the dumbbell than to lift it.  Finally, switch arms and repeat the exercise. When you finish the exercise, be careful with the dumbbell; don’t simply drop it next to you as you might injure your rotator cuff or people around you.


18. One Arm Military Press

Here we have yet another great exercise that requires the use of a dumbbell.  The One Arm Military Press is suitable for both beginners and experts. Like we’ve already mentioned, be careful with dumbbells as you might unintentionally hurt yourself or others working out around you.  Also, you must always have complete control over the dumbbell. That said, here are the instructions:

Stand holding a dumbbell in one hand with your feet apart and your knees slightly bent.  Rest the non-lifting hand on your hip or at your side.   The dumbbell should be positioned just above your shoulder and the elbow should be bent.  This is the starting position for this exercise.

Lift the dumbbell over your head until your arm is straight. Pause for a moment and lower the dumbbell down.  Repeat around 15 times. Subsequently, switch hands and repeat the movements. This exercise works your shoulders, triceps and abs.


19. Goblet Squats

No, you don’t actually use a goblet for this exercise, although it would be great. Goblet squats are perfect for beginners and they work your quadriceps, calves, gluteus, hamstrings and shoulders. Stand straight and hold a dumbbell vertically with both hands and keep it close to your chest.  If you have a kettlebell, grab it by the horns.  Your feet should be a bit more than shoulder-width apart

Bend your knees and lower your body as much as you possibly can.  You should squat down until your hamstrings are on your calves.  Your chest and head should remain up and your back straight.  Make a short pause at the bottom position and return to the original position. Repeat 10-20 times.

While performing this exercise, make sure that you’re not bending forward our rounding your back. Last but not least, if you haven’t worked with dumbbells before, start with a lighter one than you think you can handle and gradually increase weight.


20. Split Leg-Arm Reach

The last exercise on our list is recommended for both beginners and experts.  When performing the split leg-arm reach exercise, you work your abs, gluteus and hamstrings. Basically, not only will you have ripped abs in no time, but you will also work other parts of your body and be in good shape.

Start on your hands and knees, placing your legs and arms perpendicular to the floor.  Then extend your right arm and left leg at the same time.  They should be parallel to the ground. Make sure that you maintain a straight line from your hand to your foot. Don’t forget to breathe properly throughout the exercise.

Pause for a second and then return to the starting position.  Repeat 15-20 times and then switch sides. Whichever exercise you choose from our list, just follow the instructions, and don’t give up; you are bound to see excellent results.

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