Top 10 Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core

A good strong core not only serves for good posture, but is also crucial for injury prevention and athletic performance as well. But having strong abs is not only about crunches. Here’s a list of the top 10 ab exercises that target different muscle groups and will help you build a sculpted core


  1. Hollow Hold (Targets: Entire core, emphasis on lower abs)

This isometric exercise targets your whole core, with a focus on the lower abs. Lie on your back, hands over your head, and lift your legs up. Lift your head and shoulders slightly away from the floor, arching your lower back. Sustain the dip for as long as possible, with proper form. Think about zipping up your trousers to really squeeze your core.


  1. Dead Bug (Targets: Rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis)

The dead bug is a really good exercise for enhancing the core stability and control. Lying on the back with knees bent and arms stretching towards the ceiling. Slowly lengthen your opposite leg and arm, as your lower back stays on the floor. Try to imagine that you have your back on the ground for the whole movement. Switch sides and repeat as you lead with core and don’t use your lower back as your starting point.


  1. Plank (Targets: (Entire core )

The plank is the most fundamental movement for the core, and for a good reason. In the push-up position, rest on your forearms with your body in a straight line from your head to the heels. Keep your core and glutes engaged to maintain adequate form. Keep your back straight and your hips from sagging. You can start from a forearm plank on your knees if the high plank is too hard for you.


  1. Russian Twist (Targets: Obliques)

This is an exercise that works your obliques giving your sides a sculpted look. Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat. Slightly lean back maintaining your core strength and then twist your torso from side to side bringing your hands down as if you were taping the ground on each side. Imagine engaging your abs with each twist. To make it harder, you can hold a weight or a medicine ball in your hands.


  1. Mountain Climbers (Targets: Core, shoulders, legs)

Mountain climbing is a dynamic form of exercise that gets your heart rate high and improves core strength. Start in a high plank position and alternate bringing your knees to your chest in quick and controlled motion. Maintain a good core posture and a strong leg push as you perform the exercise.


  1. Leg Lifts (Targets: Lower abs)

The leg lifts are an easy yet strong exercise for working on your lower abs. Lie down on your back with legs stretched out, and arms on the sides of the body. Slowly lower your legs to the floor, keeping them straight. Lift up before your curve starts and then in a controlled movement get them back down. Target your abdominals in particular and refrain from using the momentum to raise your legs upwards.


  1. Bicycle Crunches (Targets: Obliques, upper abs)

Bicycle crunches strengthen obliques and upper abdominals thereby giving you a balanced core workout. With your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent, lie on your back. Rotate your torso towards one knee and bring the other elbow to meet that knee at the same time. Alternate the sides in a continuous movement, making sure that you keep your tummy tight at all times.


  1. Side Plank (Targets: Obliques, Core Strength & Balance)

The side plank not only strengthens your oblique, but also increases your core stability. Lying on your side with your elbow straight and your legs stacked. Lift your hips off the ground making a straight line with your body. Hold for as long as you can then switch the sides. In case you need a modification, lower your knees to the ground and maintain your hips stacked.


  1. Cable Crunch (or Weighted Crunch) (Targets: Upper abs)

The resistance from this exercise substitutes traditional crunches for more core activation. Lie on the ground with knees bent and feet flat. While holding a weight or cable with both hands behind your head, do a slow and controlled crunch, concentrating on your abs to elevate the upper portion of your body off the ground. Move down in a slow and controlled manner.


  1. Ab Wheel Rollout (Targets: Entire core, advanced)

The ab wheel rollout is an exercise at an advanced level that will test your overall core. Get down on your knees, holding an ab wheel in both hands. Roll the wheel as far as you can without any discomfort while keeping your back straight and your abs engaged. Contemplate drawing your stomach in towards your spine the whole time. Now, get to the position again with which you have started this but with the controlled movements. If you’re a beginner, start with shorter rollouts or do a plank with the ab wheel as it is an easier option.


Building a Strong Core

These ten exercises empower one to develop a powerful core. Yet, if you want to achieve the results you want, you must be persistent. Try to add basic exercises to your workout regimen at least two or three times per week. You can do these exercises as a dedicated core workout or as a part of your strength training.


Progression is Key

As you become stronger, you can advance these exercises by increasing the repetitions, and sets, or adding weight and resistance. Moreover, there are a lot of variations of these exercises that can be used to make you work harder.

The strong core is not just about appearance. In addition, it is about overall health and performance. These exercises can become part of your routine, and following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to banishing the spare tire and becoming a stronger, yet healthier version of yourself.

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