What Abdominal Exercises Are Best For You?

Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Abdominal exercises are great for helping you build a six-pack that many people would DIE to have. However, you shouldn’t only be incorporating these types of exercises into your routine just to get a shapely set of abdominal muscles. Ab exercises are great for helping you build and maintain a strong core. It is extremely important to look after this set of muscles as they are involved in every move you make, every single day.

Exercises That Are, Indirectly, Abdominal Exercises

You exercise your abdominal muscles indirectly when you train other parts of your body. For example, your core is activated during squats, deadlifts and even shoulder presses. Take a look at the variety of squats that you can do.

1. Pistol Squat

  • Stand with your feet inside hip distance apart.
  • Raise your arms straight in front of you. Stop when they’re parallel to the floor at the height of your shoulders.
  • Engage your core and raise your left leg off the floor.
  • Push your hips back and attempt to lower your body as far as possible.
  • Pause and then slowly push back to your starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side.

2. Goblet Squat

  • Start in the same way as you would for a regular bodyweight squat, in other words with your feet inside hip distance apart.
  •  Hold a dumbbell (or a kettlebell) vertically in front of your sternum.
  • Engage your abs. Perform the squat.
  • Pause at the bottom before pushing yourself back to your starting position.

3.  Front Squat

  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
  • Hold a barbell across the front of your shoulders so your thumbs point away from you.
  • Keep your elbows lifted so that the bar is steady.
  • Engage your core. Sit back and down.
  • Pause at the bottom and then push back to your starting position.

4. Braced squat

  • This is like a regular bodyweight squat however, you need to hold a weight out in front of you.
  • Straighten your arms out in front of you just below shoulder height.
  • Hold a weight plate, kettlebell or a dumbbell in both hands.
  • Keep it steady while you perform the squat.

5. Weighted split squat

  • Stand with your feet inside hip distance apart.
  • Step forward with your right foot. Hold a pair of dumbbells down at your sides. Keep your arms long and relaxed.
  • Slowly lower your body as far as possible.
  • Pause. Push back to the position you had before you started.
  • Step forward with the other leg, and repeat the movement.

Even though the squat, in all its variations, works your abdominal muscles, you need to focus on building and strengthening your abdominals and core. You need to do this at least twice a week with isolated ab sessions. Of course, there are certain abdominal exercises that are more effective at sculpting and strengthening your abs and core. Here are a few abdominal exercises to incorporate into your fitness regime.

1. Cable Crunches

The constant tension that the cable applies to your abdominal muscles and core makes cable crunches a must-have in your ab routine.

2. Hanging Knee Raises

With hanging knee raises, your abs are directly targeted. This might be a difficult exercise when you get started, however it will become easier over time. There are many variations to try, like single leg hanging knee raises.

3. The Plank

The plank is one of the most effective ab exercises that should be a staple in your ab routine. Not only does it target your abs and core, but it also strengthens your upper body and especially your back.

4. Bird Dogs

Bird dogs, or opposite arm-leg holds, are incredibly effective at targeting the entire abdominal area, as well as your back and the rest of your core. It also helps you improve your balance and coordination.

5. The Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-up is a great abdominal exercise because it requires a lot of control and strength to perform. It might seem relatively easy to do but it definitely targets not only your abs but your core, back, shoulders and legs too!

6. Cable Rotations

Cable rotations are great for your oblique muscles especially but targets the entire core as well.

7. The Roman Chair

The roman chair is a great exercise that targets and strengthens your abdominals and core, as it engages your transversus abdominis, the rectus abdominis, the external oblique muscles and the internal oblique muscles. Here are examples of how to do the roman chair straight leg raise and bent leg raise:


If you are not sure which exercises are great for building abdominals, you could always look at signing up for a fitness course with Trifocus Fitness Academy such as our Personal Training Course or Comprehensive Pilates Certification. In this way, you will not only help and educate yourself about exercising but you will also be able to help others reach their goals.