18 Six pack ab workouts and core exercises

Below are 18 of the best workouts to strengthen your core and abs.  There is something for everyone; whether you're looking for exercises you can do at home or perhaps a more advanced workout then our abdominal exercise demonstrations will show you exactly how to get that flat stomach you're looking for!

Ab Exercises You Can Do At Home

Swiss Ball Swap

  • Find a swiss ball or a similar inflatable exercise ball, and lay face-up on your floor or exercise mat
  • Begin the exercise by gripping the ball firmly in your arms
  • While keeping your legs and arms as straight as possible, bring all four limbs together
  • Slowly transfer the ball so that it is held between your legs
  • Keeping the ball secure and your legs straight, lower the ball to the floor
  • Perform the entire process in reverse to return to the starting position
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

Russian Twist

  • Take a weighted ball or a similarly-weighted household object, and sit down on your floor or mat
  • Lie down with your back to the floor, and keep your head slightly raised
  • Make sure that your feet are flat on the ground, with your legs at a 90 degree angle
  • Keeping the weight in your hands, extend your arms until they are parallel with your chest
  • In a controlled movement with straight arms, swing the weight completely out to one side
  • After the first movement, swing the weight completely out to the opposite side
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

Single Legged Plank

  • Lay face-down on the floor, and keep your arms in contact with the ground from your hands to your elbows
  • Extend the rest of your body to its full length, with only your toes in contact with the ground
  • While keeping your right leg straight, raise this leg until there is a 45 degree angle with the remaining leg
  • Hold this position for a set amount of time, before returning your right leg to its original position
  • Repeat this process with your left leg
  • Keeping each position for an extended period of time will also promote core stability
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

Leg raises

  • Find a suitable area where you can remain in an upright position, while letting your hands take your body weight
  • Place your hands into a position where the upper arm can also rest flat so that you are comfortable
  • Once your feet are slightly raised off of the floor, slowly bring your knees upwards until they reach your upper body
  • Reverse the movement by extending your legs until your feet are back in their starting position
  • If you cannot bring your legs all the way up to your body, try and get them as high as you can
  • A controlled pair of movements will bring the maximum benefits for your abdominal area
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

Raised Leg Crunch

  • Lay down with your back to the floor or exercise mat, and keep your head in contact with the ground at all times
  • While keeping your legs straight, raise them off the ground as high as you can, stopping when you feel your rear lifting up
  • Maintaining straight legs, return your lower body to the original position, until your legs are just above the floor
  • Keep your arms straight and down by your sides at every stage of the exercise
  • By maintaining controlled form, you will also target the lower abdominal muscles
  • It is important to stop raising your legs at a comfortable point to avoid a back injury
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

Leg Elevated Crunches

  • Lie on your back on the floor or your exercise mat, and raise your legs to a right angle or over a ball
  • Hold your legs in this exact position for the duration of the exercise
  • Place your hands behind your head, and elevate your shoulders to feel the movement in your stomach
  • Slowly return your shoulders to their original position just above floor level to complete the exercise
  • If you feel a pulling sensation in your neck, bear in mind that your core needs to do all of the work
  • Maintain strict form, and your raised legs will ensure that a full range of stomach muscles are worked
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

Horizontal leg extension

  • Lay on the floor or your exercise mat facing upwards, with your entire upper body in contact with the ground
  • Bring your knees upwards until they are almost in contact with the rest of your body
  • Extend your legs outwards until they are straight, keeping them off of the floor at all times
  • Both movements will target different areas of the stomach, so it is important to retain good form
  • Repeat the exercise 10-20 times to complete a full set
  • Vary the holding time in the middle of the exercise to adjust the intensity
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

Crunches

  • Lay down on your floor or exercise mat, facing upwards, and place your hands behind your head
  • Keep your feet and rear flat on the ground, and bend your knees to a 45 degree angle
  • Bring your head to a raised position, taking care to let your core do all of the work
  • If you find yourself pulling your head and neck with your arms, you may need to revise your technique
  • Hold your position for a second or so before returning your head close to the floor
  • Adjust the 'holding time' for some sets to vary the intensity
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

Bicycle Crunches

  • Lay face-up on the floor, completely flat, and place your hands behind your head
  • Slowly raise your right elbow and your left knee at the same time until they touch
  • Once you begin to reverse the movement, simultaneously raise your left elbow and right knee in the same manner
  • Repeat the exercise 10-20 times to make a full set
  • By maintaining a constant movement from one position to the other, the intensity is kept at the highest level
  • Controlled movements will always bring greater benefits than trying to simply 'rush' a number of repetitions
  • Complete your desired set(s)

Intermediate Abdominal Exercises

How to do side plank

  • It’s best to complete this exercise on a mat
  • Lie on your left side
  • Place your left arm out in front of you at shoulder level
  • Only your left elbow and forearm, hips and legs should be in contact with the mat
  • Place the palm of your other hand on your hip in akimbo style, or behind or above your head
  • You can keep good balance and posture at first by using your right hand as support on the mat
  • Align your right leg on top of the left – or place it slightly in front of it
  • Inhale and gently contract your abdominal muscles
  • Exhale as you lift upwards using your left elbow, forearm and foot
  • Remain in that position for a few seconds and then gently lower yourself
  • Aim for up to a dozen repetitions
  • Move over onto right side and repeat

How to do seated twists with a barbell

  • Sit on a chair or bench with your feet flat on the ground, shoulder width apart
  • Choose a barbell in an appropriate weight
  • Raise the barbell behind your head and just above your shoulders, holding it at both sides
  • Slowly rotate your torso to the right without moving your legs
  • Keep your back straight and engage your core muscles
  • Return to start position
  • Slowly rotate your torso to the left without moving your legs
  • Return to start position and repeat the exercise

How to do heel touches

  • Lie flat on your back on top of an exercise mat
  • Bend your knees and position your feet shoulder width apart
  • Keep your arms by your sides
  • Raise your shoulders until you can feel your core muscles engage
  • Keeping your core muscles tight, rotate your shoulder to the left and stretch your left arm until you are touching your left foot
  • Then rotate your shoulder to the right and stretch your right arm until you are touching your right foot
  • Alternate these exercises with increasing speed, keeping your core muscles tight

How to do bicycle crunches

  • Lie on an exercise mat with your back flat against the ground
  • Place your hands behind your head
  • Engage your core muscles
  • Slowly raise your left leg, bending the knee at a 90 degree angle
  • While you are raising your leg, lift your upper torso off the ground at a slight twist
  • Touch your left knee with your right elbow
  • Slowly return to the start position, keeping your core engaged the whole time
  • Now repeat the exercise so that you are touching your right knee with your left elbow
  • Repeat this sequence with increasing speed

Advanced Abdominal Exercises

How to do wipers

  • Lie on your back on the floor
  • Put your arms out to the sides and touch the floor with the palms of your hands
  • Raise your legs up towards the ceiling so that they form a 90 degree (right) angle with your upper body
  • Keep your feet together and your abs taut
  • Rotate your legs to your left side, stopping short of touching the floor with your toes
  • Rotate your legs to your right side, again stopping short of touching the floor
  • As you improve, position your arms closer to your body so that they offer you less stability

How to do the weighted Russian twist

  • Sit comfortably on your exercise mat (if using one) with your legs fully-extended and the upper half of your body in an upright position
  • Grasp your chosen weight plate in both hands
  • While keeping your arms slightly bent, hold it out in front of your abdominals
  • Cross your ankles and then raise them slightly from the floor
  • Now bend your knees slightly towards you
  • Complete the starting position by leaning back by around 15 degrees to fully balance your body
  • Using a smooth movement, and while you exhale, turn your torso to the left and touch your plate to the floor. Be careful to avoid both jerky movements or using your momentum to swing the plate
  • Inhale as you return to your starting point
  • Repeat the movement for your complete set of repetitions, alternating right and left turns as you do so

How to do a weighted plank

  • Lie flat on your front on an exercise mat
  • Choose an appropriate weight and place towards the top of your back. As this gets easier and you’re used to the weight start to move it on to your lower back
  • Bring your elbows and toes in line with your shoulders
  • Keeping your forearms flat on the mat, slowly raise yourself into the plank position
  • Make sure your body is in a straight line, and that your buttocks aren’t overly raised
  • Hold this position for at least 45 seconds
  • Slowly lower yourself back into the starting position
  • Repeat exercise

How to do a hanging leg raise half way

  • Grip a chin-up bar with a wide or medium grip
  • Both of your arms should be fully extended above you and your legs should be as straight as possible
  • Your pelvis should be set slightly back
  • Raise your legs until your waist is bent at a 90 degree angle with your knees up
  • Hold your body in this position for a second, and then lower your legs back down
  • As you get stronger, you can try holding a dumbbell between your feet

How to do a hanging leg raise (full)

  • Choose a secure pole and set it at an approximate height
  • Grip the pole with both hands and raise yourself up above the ground
  • Engage your core muscles and slowly raise your legs as high as they will go, keeping them as straight as possible the whole time
  • Do not swing your legs up or bend your back, knees or elbows
  • Hold the top position for a second
  • Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position
  • Immediately repeat the exercise without disengaging the core