You hear it all day, whether on Instagram, at the gym, or in your dear trainer speech—work your abs! Of course, ab exercises are the base of every workout routine, and the body part you most want to show off during summertime.
Your core impacts everything you do! Even exercises that you wouldn’t consider being associated with your abs, exactly engage your core muscles. And yep, strong core muscles mean so much more than having societally championed “six-pack abs.” Best ab workouts are the ones that engage all your core muscle groups and lead to great results in the shortest amount of time. There are 17 best ab workouts that you can put into your workout plan to get a strong core.
Which ab workout is the most effective?
If you want to improve your balance, squat heavy weights, hike up the stairs or mountains with ease, run fast or long distances, and more, there are some best ab exercises you can put into your routine. As already stated, your core plays a big role in your ability to carry out such tasks. But, what are those most effective ab workouts?
According to research done by the American Council on Exercise, three abdominal exercises are most effective in getting a strong core and washboard stomach muscles: bicycle crunches, captain’s chair, and balance ball crunches.
Bicycle crunches engage all of the abdominal muscle groups, including the rectus abdominis — the front ab muscles that build up the visible six-pack. The captain’s chair uses both the abdominals and the obliques that line the sides of your abs. Finally, balance ball crunches will stimulate the rectus abdominis. Due to the balance they require, will use smaller abdominal muscles, giving a well-rounded burn.
It’s not news that different types of crunches aren’t the end-all-be-all of abs workouts—sure, they target your abdominal muscles, and doing them will strengthen your core. But, what if you don’t like crunches, or because of some past injury, you can’t do them? What should you do to build a truly strong core?
Thankfully, the options you can spice up your ab workouts are pretty much infinite. So, here are some of my favorite crunches substitutes that help you tone your abs in a short period:
- Plank (30 to 60 seconds will strengthen your core muscles fastly)
- Side planks (hitting your lateral abs)
- Squats and lunges
- Bridges and leg lifts
How long do ab workouts take to see results?
The amount of time it will take you to see results of building ab muscle, specifically, depends on how strong your abs are at the beginning. Your timeline to build a six-pack also depends on how much fat you need to lose. A good and safe rule of thumb is aiming to lose 1 to 2 percent of body fat monthly. As such, strengthening your ab muscles — not necessarily seeing them – can take anywhere from four to eight weeks. While unveiling your abs can take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years. (According to popsugar.co.uk.)
But, can you get abs in 30 days? Or is it just an unrealistic goal?
Although it’s possible to make your six-pack abs visible in 30 days, this is simply not doable for the wide majority of people, especially those who are new to fitness. This is the most typical goal of many people, however, it is very hard to accomplish and in some cases not possible. (especially for those who have a lot of belly fat). So, it is theoretically possible, but not doable for the wide majority of people.
Can a 10-minute ab workout be effective?
If you need to make balanced strength, working your core with some of the best ab exercises is key—but it doesn’t have to take forever. In fact, a 10-minute ab workout can be an ideal way to challenge those muscles and get strength-building benefits.
Keep in mind that your core consists of more muscles than just your “abs,” (your rectus abdominis, your external obliques, and …). Moreover, your core includes deeper muscles that are not visible, such as your erector spinae in your lower back, your transverse abdominis, and your pelvic floor muscles. Working all of these muscle groups together helps you to get in shape and strong at the same time.
What is the fastest way to get toned abs?
Honestly, there is no fast and easy way to get six-pack abs. It involves discipline to clean, healthy eating, and regular workout, including cardio and strength training. The good news is that among all of the core exercises, some of them help you to get the fastest results in getting toned abs. Let’s see them.
17 Best Ab Workouts For Fast Results
1. Cable Twist
As we mentioned, your core consists of so much more than just your upper and lower abs. This exercise job is to stabilize the spine while your extremities are in motion. This movement makes you maintain that core stability by rotating your torso, giving you an extra burn on your obliques.
2. Stability Ball Knee Tucks
If you don’t want to put stress on your spine with crunches, this exercise safely works both your abs and overall core. According to Fabio Comana, certified personal trainer and exercise physiologist at the National Academy of Sports Medicine, this exercise is safe and very effective as you’re working on an unstable surface.
Come on, you knew this wonderful exercise was going to be on the list. Every trainer makes you do planks because they work! “You’re engaging several muscles at once, and it helps strengthen especially core muscles surrounding the spine to help avoid back injury,” says Mark Langowski, certified personal trainer and author of Eat This Not That for Abs.
4. Side Plank
The younger sister of the standard traditional plank is the side plank. This can isolate the obliques even more. “It stimulates almost as many muscles as the front plank, and helps tighten and tone to give you the sexy lines down the sides of your abs,” Langowski says.
5. Superwoman (Sea Turtles)
This workout makes your lower back like Woah, which Rosante says is all too often overlooked. As you train one muscle group, you need to work the opposite side that helps support it. Therefore, if you work your abs, you need to do your lower back as well. The best part of this movement is that it requires zero equipment! So just get on the floor and go.
6. Balance Ball or Medicine Ball Slams
As we said before, not only does this workout target the abs, butt, and hips, but it’s also an insanely effective way to get out some aggression. I definitely recommend working it into your workout routine after a particularly stressful day at the office.
7. Shoulder and Knee Taps
However planks are an amazing exercise, they’re kind of static holds, and you also need some dynamic movement in your routine. This exercise helps keep the muscles engaged as you’re moving around. Shoulder and knee taps work the abs, obliques, lower back, and arms all at once. Now, what do you think about its efficiency?
8. Elbow Plank with Quick-Step
Compared to the traditional front plank, the elbow plank offers more of a challenge. Because it recruits more of your core muscles to do the movement. To maximize your result, make sure your shoulders are stacked over your elbows and your body is in one straight line. The elbow plank is actually harder on the abs than the traditional plank in the push-up position. So, it kinda double results!
9. Reverse Crunch
This is one of the best ab workouts for fast results. Because it fires up your rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques without straining your neck and back. Isn’t it just ideal and great?!
10. Double Leg Lowers
This ab workout always rocks. You’re able to fully use your abs by moving slowly downward without the injury risk associated with faster workouts.
11. Windshield Wipers
This incredible move and one of the best ab exercises work the obliques and rectus abdominus. However, windshield wipers, also known as lying windshield wiper, requires support from your glutes and hip flexors, making it a full core workout in one movement.
12. Lateral Bear Walk
In addition to hitting your entire core, the lateral bear walk is great for coordination. Do this more unusual movement pattern to have fun alongside making strong abs.
13. Up & Down Planks
This type of plank can easily strengthen and tone your core, glutes, arms, wrists, and shoulders. Up and down planks help you to improve your posture, tighten the midsection, and shed some pounds.
14. Straight Leg Crunch
The main target of the basic or straight leg crunch is your rectus abdominis. You can perform this exercise by lying face up on the floor with your legs straight and then moving your upper body like you would for a standard bent-knee crunch.
15. Bicycle Crunches
As previously said, the bicycle crunch is one of the most effective and best ab exercises. It not only reaches the usual abs but also the deep abs and the obliques. Moreover, bicycle crunches build your hamstrings, quads, and calves as well as tone your calves and strengthen your core. So, if you want to work your core and get fast results, this air bicycle maneuver is an ideal choice.
16. Plank Reaches
Plank To Single Arm Reach is a core body training that fully engages your abdominals and lower back as training your body to have better balance and stability. Since planks strengthen your core, that means they work basically the whole body. The plank works your spine, your rhomboids and trapezius, and your ab muscles, which naturally leads to a strong posture as they grow in strength.
17. Glute Bridge March
Glute Bridge March not only does fire up two important parts of your abs, but also it works your glutes, which will help with your overall stability.
These were a few of my favorite and best ab workout variations. Thankfully, they’re simple enough that you can pick a couple to add to your daily exercise routine. You can also put them all together for a full-out, ab-burning exercise.
Six-pack abs are amazing to look at, and often called impressive by many people. They even conjure up images of hours spent in the gym — however, obtaining a strong core can be very easy if you know how.
Last but not least, remember that visible strong abs are actually made in the kitchen — a diet leading to a low body fat percentage is the most important thing — however, various workouts will also successfully transform your ab muscles.