Want the defined six-pack abs but don’t enjoy doing abs in the gym? We got you.

Luckily, getting the washboard abs doesn’t take extensive effort or loads of ab exercises.

Whether you realize it or not, your abs and core muscles are recruited and directly or indirectly get trained in almost any exercise you do.

So when it comes to training your abs, fortunately, you don’t need to overdo it. You just need a properly designed strength routine that effectively targets different muscles in the abs and core.

You only really need five moves or even less if short on time to target everything from your side abs obliques to the front abs rectus abdominis.

When it comes to exercises and getting results, nailing your form and engaging the right muscles in the process pay the biggest dividends.

Be sure to pay attention to the form as you go through the workout and properly target the primary muscles to get massive gains.

1. Bicycle Crunch

Bicycle Crunch - ab workout

The bicycle crunch is one of the best ab exercises for working the rectus abdominis and oblique muscles, according to an ace study.

This modification is by no means necessary, but you’re certainly welcome to try it while you perform this killer exercise!

How to Perform

  • Lying on your back, lift your shoulder blades off of the ground, performing a crunch.
  • While holding the crunch position, bring both legs off of the ground as well.
  • Twist your right elbow to meet your left knee, bending the knee and tucking it toward your right elbow at the same time. Your right leg will remain straight as you do this.
  • Repeat on the other side, alternating the opposite leg and arm in a “bicycle” motion for the duration of the exercise.

2. Planks

Planks - lower ab exercises

Isometric exercises, such as planks, are awesome for core strength. By slowly increasing your hold time on planks, you’ll slowly but surely increase your strength and endurance. A great upper and lower ab exercise.

How to Perform:

  • Start on your forearms and toes, with your back flat as a board.
  • Ensure that your spine is completely straight and not bending upward or downward.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can (aim for 30 seconds to start) and perform 3 sets per day, 2-3 times per week.

3. Side Crunches With Leg Lift

Side Crunches With Leg Lift

A modification of the traditional side crunch, this exercise incorporates the obliques as well as some hip abductor muscles. Beyond that, the movement also forces you to balance on a small point of contact, bringing even more core muscle activation into play.

How to Perform

  • Lying on your right side, place your left hand on your head.
  • At the same time, you’ll elevate both of your legs as you bring your right shoulder blade and ribs off of the ground, effectively bending your body in half.
  • Slowly lower back down into the starting position and repeat for half of the timed set, switching to the left side at the halfway mark.

4. V-Up


The V-Up is an advanced movement that is difficult for even seasoned exercisers to master. However, with consistent practice, you’ll be well on your way to a picture-perfect V-Up in no time.

How to Perform

  • To start, lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms overhead.
  • Next, lift your shoulders and as much of your back as you can off of the ground.
  • Simultaneously, aim to lift both legs off the ground, keeping your trunk and knees straight.
  • At this point, your body should look like a “V”, hence the name of the exercise!
  • Perform 10-12 repetitions for 3-5 sets per session.

5. Prone Snow Angels

This move comes with much simplicity, yet works very well for core stability, back strength, and shoulder mobility. To hold the up position, it forces your core to brace and hold. It’s one of the primary functions of the core that doesn’t get trained often enough.

You are also strengthening and mobilizing your shoulders and back to bring more functions to many muscles in the back.

Perform this exercise for 10-15 repetitions per set for 3-5 sets.

How to Perform:

  • Start by lying face down on your stomach. Extend your arms back and keep your hands next to your waistline.
  • Brace your core and lift your hand up toward the ceiling.
  • Bring them up toward your head and down to mimic the snow angel motion.
  • Reverse the motions and bring your hands from the up position to the down for the prescribed reps. Rest before you begin the next set.

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