Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Best ab workouts: Rediscover your abs with these 6 exercises

You can do these at home or the gym

Man using an ab roller at home
Getty Images

You can do some of the best ab workouts from anywhere, not just the gym. For a lot of people, working remotely and working out at home has become the new normal. A strong abdominal region can still help prevent injuries in all aspects of our everyday lives. A strong core can help us not only be a better runner, cyclist, or athlete, but it can also help us perform our day-to-day tasks with much greater efficiency.

The process of gaining a strong core doesn’t just happen in the blink of an eye. It will require eating a nutrient-rich diet and engaging in a regular concentration of ab exercises, all while limiting those take-out pizza indulgences. You wouldn’t dare skip leg day, so why would you consider skipping your lower abs or obliques?

There are alternatives for reaching those fitness goals and achieving abdominal success from the safety of your own home. Fortunately for you, most don’t require recurring monthly fees, expensive at-workout equipment, or even a lot of space. All you need is some motivation to get away from that desk and start working out.

Here are six ab exercises that you can incorporate into any workout, such as upper body workouts or even cardio days.

Man doing ab wheel in a home gym.
Getty Images

Ab wheel

Equipment needed: Ab Wheel

Here’s how to do it: Kneel on the floor with knees positioned on a soft mat or folded towel. Slowly roll the wheel forward while tightening the core and with arms fully extended until your body is parallel to the floor. While maintaining form, roll the wheel back to the starting position. That’s one rep. 

Note: If you are new to using an ab wheel, start slow and focus on form. And don’t overdo it on day one. You will want to be able to get out of bed and out of your car without agony.

A man doing a Russian Twist while holding a medicine ball.
Gerain0812 / Shutterstock

Russian twist

Equipment needed: Medicine ball. You can also use a weight plate, dumbbell, kettlebell, or anything heavy found at home, such as a gallon of water.

Here’s how to do it: While sitting on the floor in the up position for a sit-up, grasp the medicine ball with both hands while extending your arms out in front of you. Twist your body from one side to the other while keeping your arms extended. 

Man doiing a plank exercise.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Plank

Equipment needed: None

Here’s how to do it: Start on all fours, and proceed as if you were going to do a push-up. Bend your elbows and allow your forearms to rest on the floor while keeping your elbows under your shoulder. Extend your legs out behind your body, forming a straight line down the entire length of your body. Hold for as long as you can. Continue doing this until you can do it with ease, and then increase by five to 10 seconds each time.

Man doing side dip planks in his home
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Side plank dips

Equipment needed: None

Here’s how to do it: Start in a right-side plank, with your right forearm on the floor, your left hand on your hip, and your left leg resting atop the right. Slowly lower your hips toward the floor a few inches and return to the beginning position. Do 10 reps on each side.

Man doing dead bug.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Dead bug

Equipment needed: None

Here’s how to do it: Start out by lying face up on the floor with your arms straight up over your chest. Lift your legs directly over your hips and bend your knees to form a 90-degree angle. While keeping your lower back in contact with the floor, simultaneously lower your right arm back past your head while straightening your left leg toward the floor until both come close but without touching. Pause, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. That is one rep. Do 10 to 15 reps.

Man doing bird dog plank on purple mat
Matic / Canva Pro / Getty Images

Bird dog

Equipment needed: None

Here’s how to do it: Begin on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Maintain a neutral spine, keeping your core engaged and back flat. Look down toward the floor in front of you, keeping your neck long. Extend one arm straight out in front of you and the opposite leg straight out behind you. Imagine forming a long, straight line from your extended hand to your extended foot. Hold this position for a few seconds, focusing on keeping your core engaged and hips level. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Do 3 sets of 5 to 10 repetitions.

Second-guessing whether you’re doing your crunches the right way? Check out our guide on how to do crunches correctly so you can achieve those rock-hard abs.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Amber Sayer
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Amber Sayer is a fitness, nutrition, and wellness writer and editor, and was previously a Fitness Editor at Byrdie. She…
How to build strength and mobility with functional training
Strengthen your upper and lower body with functional fitness
a man doing pull ups

As you prepare to start your summertime fitness routine, you’ll want to include functional training. Now more than ever, there’s an increased focus on this type of training within the fitness-conscious world, and with good reason; functional training primes your body for your everyday activities. 

As we go on with the hustle and bustle of our day, we often overlook it, but functional training provides the strength to carry out the daily tasks that require you to push, haul, load, and lift. Keep reading to learn more about functional training and how to include it in your routine.
Does functional training build strength?

Read more
Is walking backwards on a treadmill beneficial? What you need to know
What to know about walking backwards as exercise
Sporty man training on walking treadmill at home, closeup

You'll only need to spend a few minutes examining the rows and rows of treadmills at your local gym to see a variety of approaches to cardiovascular fitness -- from power incline walking to running. While there's no right or wrong approach to fitness, how do you know which cardio routine is best to help you achieve your health and wellness goals?

One interesting workout you might see is a person walking backward on the treadmill. At first glance, this appears silly and, frankly, a waste of time. But is there some real science behind this trend? We break down both the benefits and limitations of walking backward on the treadmill and how to know if you should give it a try.
Why do people walk backward on the treadmill?

Read more
Working out? Here’s how to maintain flawless skin
Should I wash my face before or after working out?
man's face in water

In not-so-breaking news, physical activity can do the body good. There's seemingly endless research on how logging a good sweat session—or even a brisk walk—can improve numerous bodily functions, including the health of our organs like the lungs and heart. Yet, sweat, debris, bacteria, and even the sun exposure we get while breaking a sweat can have some not-so-great effects on our largest organ: the skin.

Does that mean you should throw in the towel and ditch your workout routine? No, but you may want to use a towel during a pre and post-workout skincare regimen. While you likely know all about the need to stretch before and after exercising to warm up and cool down muscles, what you do regarding skincare before or after workout sessions can make a big difference.

Read more