Ab Workouts

Our database of free ab workout plans will help you build a strong and sturdy core. Find the best workout for your experience level, training style, and equipment access. For more helpful information on ab specific training, check out Freaky Abs! The Monster Guide To A Shredded Six Pack.

All Ab Workouts

M&S model doing a plank in gym.
Ab training shouldn’t be complicated. Add this twice-weekly workout to your routine to help build core strength and ab definition for the six pack of your dreams.
36.7K Reads 16 Comments
Fit man and woman doing side planks outside
A stronger core equals a stronger body. These three intense abdominal workouts will help you boost gains and build a thick 8 pack!
812.3K Reads 58 Comments
Abs Workout For Women: 8 Weeks To A Flatter Stomach
Women: looking for that elusive flat stomach? Combine this abs workout with a smart diet and weekly cardio, and you'll reach your goals in no time!
1.5M Reads 70 Comments
12 Week Ab Workout for Ab Definition & Core Strength
Combine flexion abdominal training with stability abdominal training to build a pair of abs that are not only defined, but also strong and sturdy as well!
144.4K Reads 20 Comments
Ab Workout To Increase Ab Size!
This advanced ab workout is designed to increase the size of your abdominal muscles to make them more defined and visible.
910.6K Reads 138 Comments
Guy on beach in black shorts performing kettlebell swings
Build a strong and sturdy core for improved athleticism and a complete physique! This 3 day workout is designed to help you strengthen your core with just 4 exercises.
17.2K Reads 4 Comments
2 Times Per Week Beginner Ab Workout
This beginner ab workout hits your abs with 4 sets and 2 exercises. It can be done once or twice a week and added to your current routine.
539.4K Reads 103 Comments
4 Week Beginner Core Strength Trainer
Coach Myers has taken a break from extreme core challenges to craft a core strength routine for beginners. You're just 1 month away from a strong core!
323.2K Reads 23 Comments
Home Based Ab Workout
This simple home based abdominal workout can be done at home with absolutely no equipment. It should only take about 20mins and can be done once every three days.
1.2M Reads 192 Comments
Shirtless muscular man doing abs workouts on pull up bar in a gym.
Far too many lifters get core training completely wrong. Instead of following the advice of the masses, check out these 4 workouts for stronger abs.
142.6K Reads 8 Comments
10 Minute Intense Abs Workout
This intense 10 minute abs circuit is designed to help you build thicker abs; abs that can be seen more easily with a slightly higher bodyfat percentage.
511.5K Reads 38 Comments
4 Week Complete Kettlebell Ab & Core Workout
Challenge your full body strength and muscular endurance by performing this core focused 4 week kettlebell workout program. Read on to learn more.
89K Reads 0 Comments
Frankoman's 2 Day Intermediate Ab Workout
Need to bring your abs up to speed? This 2 day per week ab blasting routine by Frankoman will help you carve out your dream six pack.
558.1K Reads 132 Comments
Core Strength Road Map: 4 Weeks to a Shredded & Strong Core
Build some serious core strength & conquer one of the hardest core exercises known to man. In just 4 weeks you'll be able to perform a perfect plate layout!
120.7K Reads 3 Comments
10 Minute Lower Ab Workout Circuit
Build up your lower abdominal muscles using this intense and focused ab workout circuit. It can be performed three times per week on nonconsecutive training days.
215.5K Reads 5 Comments
Steel Core MMA Abs Workout Routine
Hit your core hard and forge a midsection of steel with this no nonsense abs workout that includes many top exercises used by competitive MMA athletes.
408.8K Reads 27 Comments
Cory Gregory's "Make Your Own Brick Soup" Ab Workout
Get the secret ingredients for "Brick Soup" with this killer 4-week program in which MusclePharm's Cory Gregory reveals what he does to build and maintain his rock-solid abs!
98.7K Reads 5 Comments
Build Core Strength! Coach Myers' Top 5 Exercises For Core Stability
Coach Myers is back at it and just in time to help you build your core for summer! Check out his top 5 core exercises and these progressive core workouts!
71.8K Reads 1 Comment
Frog, Plank And Roll Ab Workout
An effective but brutal abs circuit that focuses on limited rest between sets and the use of the frog crunch, an extremely challenging crunch variation.
145.4K Reads 6 Comments
Core Training Workout: Exercises For Core Strength
Need core strength? Don't just work your abdominals, train your entire core. This workout includes 5 exercises that will help strengthen you from obliques to erectors.
273.6K Reads 15 Comments
Core Strength Blueprint 1.1 With Coach Myers
Use this 4-week core training plan that Coach Myers designed to help develop the core strength and stability needed to master more extreme core exercises.
66.2K Reads 4 Comments
Core Strength Road Map: Mastering Rotation and Stability
Build some serious core strength utilizing rotational & anti-rotational core exercises. These 2 workouts will have you mastering core stability in no time!
31.5K Reads 0 Comments
Core Strength Blueprint Workout v1.2 With Coach Myers
Use this 4-week core training plan that Coach Myers designed to help develop the core strength and stability needed to master more extreme core exercises.
94.9K Reads 3 Comments
Core Strength Blueprint Workout v1.4 With Coach Myers On Rings
Use this 4-week core training plan that Coach Myers designed to help develop the core strength and stability needed to master more extreme core exercises.
40.3K Reads 5 Comments
Core Strength Blueprint Workout v1.3 With Coach Myers
Use this 4-week core training plan that Coach Myers designed to help develop the core strength and stability needed to master more extreme core exercises.
54.4K Reads 2 Comments
Increasing Intensity Circuit Abs Workout
This "no rest" circuit abs workout starts slow, but builds in intensity with each circuit. You will utilize 2 plank variations, and 2 resistance exercises.
196K Reads 19 Comments

Ab Workouts Tips & Advice

What You Should Know About Ab Workouts

On this page you will be able to find several ab workouts that will help strengthen your core. But before you get started, it is important you understand targeting your abs through core specific training is only one part of the equation.

Just because you regularly do ab exercises doesn't mean that you’ll be able to develop a six pack. Building six pack abs requires far more work than simply doing crunches and sit ups every day.

When it comes to having visible abs, the most important thing is getting to a body fat percentage low enough for them to actually be seen. The body fat percentage needed to have visible abs will differ person to person. Most men will be able to see their abs while being between 6-15% body fat, while women will see definition in their abs between 10-22% body fat.

6 Tips for Visible Abs

Don’t know how to lower your body fat percentage? Here are 6 quick tips to help you be able to showcase your 6-pack:

1. Count Your Calories: You have to be in a caloric deficit to lose body fat and you have to know how many calories you’re eating to be in a caloric deficit.

  • Use our BMR calculator to find out how many calories you need daily to maintain your current weight and subtract ~250-500 from that number to be in a calorie deficit.
  • Fat loss takes time. It requires consistent effort to get to a body fat that allows your abs to show.

2. Don’t Drink Your Calories: Aside from some protein powders, liquid calories aren’t very satiating. Thus, you could consume excess calories throughout the day and never be able to see your abs.

3. Find the Right Macronutrient Balance: Everyone’s body responds differently to protein, carbs, and fats. Experiment and find what works best for you and shredding fat around your midsection.

4. Lift Weights: That’s why you’re here, to find an ab workout. But try to find an entire program to add an ab workout to. One that has plenty of compound exercises to increase your calorie expenditure and aid in your fat loss efforts.

5. Perform Some Cardio: Whether you prefer steady state or HIIT, get after it. Cardio will help put you in a greater calorie deficit.

6. Sleep: Getting enough sleep may be the secret to building six pack abs. Don’t believe me? Read this article and then hit the hay.

Now that we’ve covered some of the more important core details, let's get into ab exercises. Working out your abs is not only beneficial for your core, it can benefit your entire body as well. By training your abs and strengthening your core you are able to maintain better posture throughout the day, leading to less of a risk of lower back pain.

Having stronger core muscles will also have a positive carry over into your ability to achieve personal records in your big lifts - squat, deadlift, and even your bench press.

A more aesthetically appealing physique, gaining strength in your big lifts, and promoting better posture? It’s no wonder everyone’s initial goal when they start lifting is to build better abs.

Understanding The Core Musculature

To better understand training your abs, it is crucial  to understand the anatomy and the muscles that make up your abdomen. Most people have an extremely superficial idea of what makes up a 6 pack and focus primarily on exercises that target the rectus abdominis (more on this in a moment).

Too many people also focus on the “show” aspect of the abdominal wall and don’t realize the many functions that the abs perform including:

  • Protection of the soft organs contained in the abdominal cavity.
  • Stabilization of the spine.
  • Assist in breathing, coughing, and other bodily functions.

As such, it is crucial to realize there are 5 main muscles that make up your abdominal region. We’ll go over each and explain their main functions below, as well as how you can target each so you can build a complete set of abs.

1. Rectus abdominis

The rectus abdominis muscle are the muscles that are generally known as 'abdominals' or 'abs'. These are the muscles that (when your fat percentage is low enough) are shown when someone has a six-pack. These abs are the most external of the core muscles. They start from the middle of your rib cage and run vertically to the pubic bone.

Some of the most common exercises to strengthen your rectus abdominis are crunches and regular sit ups. These exercises are easy to do and fit perfectly in most beginner level workouts. For a more advanced way of doing crunches, you can use a stability ball or perform them weighted to really make those abs burn!

Rectus Abdominis

2. Obliques

Your obliques consist of two parts: the internal and external obliques. They both run along the sides of your core. The external obliques are located along the sides and front of your abdomen and the internal obliques are located underneath the external obliques and run in the opposite direction. They are both used for flexion and rotation.

When you contract both your obliques at the same time, you’ll notice a forward flexion of your body. You can also contract each oblique individually which would result in a lateral flexion of your body (moving down to one side).

Your obliques play a big part in stability, making it possible to do lateral (sideway) and rotating movements. But more importantly they make sure that your torso doesn't rotate on it's own.

When you want to develop a lean, strong, and functional physique, you need to train your obliques. The most effective exercises to train your obliques are exercises where you twist or rotate your body. A great way to train these muscles is to do the oblique plank crunch or russian twists.

Obliques

3. Transverse abdominal muscles

The transverse abdominal muscles (TVA) lay behind the obliques and run from the belly button up to the rib cage. It also wraps around the spine and pelvis, providing us with protection and stability.

The TVA exists of two transverse muscles on each side of the body that are connected by a fascial sheet, making them one solid muscle. It is one of the deeper located core muscles.

The function of the TVA is to stabilize the thoracic spine and pelvis. The TVA also plays a role in the deep breathing process but is also engaged when we throw up, cough, when women go into labor, and with forced exhalation. It also contracts when you’re performing heavy lifts, acting as your body’s natural weight lifting belt.

People who play a wind instrument, blow up balloons or move heavy objects are all engaging their TVA. To find out where this muscle is located, all you have to do is exhale.

A great way to engage your TVA is by planking.

Transverse Abdominal

4. Quadratus Lumborum

If we translate quadratus lumborum (QL) from Latin to English the name would be "Square Loin", this provides us with a clearer view of where this muscle is located. The QL is a think, irregular and quadrilateral-shaped muscle that can be found in the back of the abdominal wall. Because of it's location it is often thought to be one of the back muscles.

Another interesting thing about the QL is that it's broader below than it is above. The most vital function of this core muscle is that it connects the upper and the lower body (From the top of the pelvis to the bottom rib and the side of your spine). Besides connecting the upper and the lower body, the QL helps stabilize the hips, spine and it can help in breathing.

A great ab exercise to train this muscle is the side plank. If you want to increase the intensity of the side plank on your QL, raise the arm and leg that you don't lean on while doing the side plank. This requires more balance and puts more weight on your QL making it harder to maintain the exercise.

Quadratus Lumborum

5. Psoas Major

The Psoas Major is part of the hip flexors. Together the hip flexors pull the thigh and the torso towards each other. The psoas major is the biggest and strongest of this muscle group. It runs from the lower spine into the inner thigh, crossing the hip joint, making it the deepest located of all your core muscles.

The Psoas plays a big role as the main stabilizer in certain exercises such as the Olympic lifts, but it's also prominent in daily activities like walking or running. Any activity that requires moving your legs involves the psoas muscle to some degree.

Given that fact, the best way to train your psoas major is by doing a workout routine that involves your legs. One of our favorites is the hanging leg raise because it's a fantastic way to engage your core, psoas major and for that matter, the rest of your hip flexor muscles.

If a hanging leg raise is too hard, try to just raise your knees up to your abs or try a lying leg raise. Another movement that mimics the hanging leg raise is the leg throwdown, but this movement requires the assistance of a partner to “throw your legs”.

Pro Tip: The psoas tends to be very overactive, especially if you work a desk job and spend long periods of time sitting. Thus to avoid excessive forward leaning in your bigger lifts, such as the squat, try doing some stretches that will relax the psoas.

Psoas Major

Some Final Thoughts on Ab Training

By addressing all of these muscles you are going to strengthen your core.

But if you know anything about ab exercises and how fitness in general operates, you’ll realize this isn't even the tip of the iceberg concerning ab workouts.

To find even more exercises to target your abs, check out our abs exercise database and for ideas on how to tie all of this information together browse the rest of this page to see the wide variety of ab workouts that we offer!

For more helpful information on ab specific training, check out some of our best articles on the topic!

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