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The Ultimate Ab Workout: Do These 10 Exercises Daily For Fast, Hard Abs

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We all want to have strong abs. Even if you are not lean enough to see clearly defined, chiseled abs, just being able to feel your hard and strong abs underneath your belly can provide a big boost of self-confidence. 

Plus, having strong abs is the first step towards having a strong and functional core. 

Core strength is vital for helping maintain proper posture, preventing low back pain and other injuries, improving movement mechanics, and optimizing exercise performance, whether running, cycling, hiking, or lifting weights at the gym.

But, what abs exercises should you include in an abs workout? What are the best ab workouts?

In this guide, we will provide a complete ab workout so that you can get hard abs at home or at the gym and provide step-by-step instructions to each of the following exercises included: 

Let’s dive in! 

A bear hold.

The Ultimate Ab Workout: 10 Exercises For Fast, Hard Abs

We have designed this ab workout to be done with minimal exercise equipment so that you can do most of the exercises if you work out at home or all of the exercises if you have access to weights and other gym equipment.

No excuses! We have you covered!

Ready to work those abs? Let’s check out our ab workout:

#1: Hip Drops

This is an advanced progression of a side plank that further strengthens your obliques.

Here are the steps for this ab exercise:

  1. Lie on your left side with your legs stacked on top of each other. 
  2. Press up onto your forearm so that you’re in a side plank with your hips and torso off the ground.
  3. Dip your hips back down so that your bottom hip taps the floor. Then, squeeze your obliques to bring your hips back up in line with your body.
  4. Complete 10-15 reps and then switch sides.

#2: Spider-Man Push-Ups

This is a challenging functional core exercise that works your upper body, obliques, abs, hips, and glutes.

Here are the steps to perform this ab exercise:

  1. Get in a push-up position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the ground. As you do so, lift your right leg off the ground, bending the knee and hip and bringing your leg forward so that your right knee comes up towards your right elbow.
  3. Pause in the lowered position, keeping your leg up by your elbow.
  4. Press back up, returning your leg to the starting position.
  5. Alternate legs with each rep, aiming for 8-12 reps per side. 

#3: Russian Twist

This is a great core exercise for your abs, lower back muscles, obliques, and deep core muscles.

Here are the steps for this ab exercise:

  1. Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, holding a medicine ball or dumbbell between your two hands.
  2. Lean your torso back and lift your feet off the ground, engaging your abs as you move into a V-sit position. Beginners can keep their knees bent in a tuck position rather than straightened.
  3. Twist your upper body towards one side, bringing the weight to hover above the floor on that side of your hips.
  4. Then, rotate the other way.
  5. Keep rotating back and forth slowly and with control for 30-45 seconds.

#4: Crossover Mountain Climbers

This is a difficult progression of this cardio burst exercise that further engages the abs and obliques.

Here are the steps for this ab exercise:

  1. Get into a push-up position with your abs and glutes engaged and your weight concentrated on your hands.
  2. Alternate bringing each knee up under your chest, crossing your body so that you bring your right knee towards your left elbow and left knee towards your right elbow. Squeeze your obliques.
  3. Continue running this way, moving as fast as possible for 30-60 seconds.

#5: Medicine Ball Chops

This functional core exercise works your entire core and upper body. 

Here are the steps for this ab exercise:

  1. Stand upright with good posture, holding a medicine ball or dumbbell straight out in front of your body at chest height.
  2. Keeping your arms straight and core braced, bring the weight to the lower left of your body and then straight up to the upper right as if vigorously chopping a diagonal line across your body.
  3. Perform 12 chops and then switch to the lower right to the upper left.

#6: V Ups 

This exercise is great for your lower abs.

Here are the steps for this exercise for your ab workout:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended over your head. You can hold a dumbbell to make the exercise more difficult.
  2. Use your core to simultaneously raise your legs and upper body off the floor, folding your body at your hips into a V.
  3. Pause and then slowly lower your body back towards the floor without fully touching it. 
  4. Then raise back up.
  5. Complete 10-15 reps.

#7: Bear Holds With Shoulder Taps

This is a great functional core exercise that also strengthens your glutes, shoulders, and legs.

Here are the steps for this ab exercise:

  1. Kneel on all fours in a table-top position. 
  2. Press your weight into your hands so that your knees come off the ground, but your toes stay planted. 
  3. Engage your core to hold this position while bringing your right hand to tap your left shoulder. 
  4. Slowly bring your right hand back to the starting position, and then repeat with the left hand. Keep your back flat like a tabletop.
  5. Alternate sides, completing 10-15 reps per side.

#8: High Plank Clocks

You’ll need a small loop resistance band for this ab exercise, which also targets your shoulders.

Here are the steps for this exercise for your ab workout:

  1. Get in a push-up position with your hips in line with your body and place a loop resistance band around your wrists. Maintain tension in the band.
  2. Keeping your body as still and stable as possible, step one hand out at a time to each position of the clock, Right hand to 1:00, then back to neutral. Then out to 2:00 and back to neutral. When you reach 6:00, switch to moving the left hand to 7:00, 8:00, and so on.
  3. Perform five full cycles of the clock.

#9: Dumbbell Windshield Wipers

This is a great ab exercise for your obliques and lower abs.

Here are the steps for this ab exercise:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms straight up above your chest, holding one end of a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your arms fixed in this position.
  2. Keeping your legs together and knees straight, use your abs to bring your legs up so that your body is in an L shape and your feet are in the air perpendicular to the floor. 
  3. Keeping your knees straight, lower your legs together towards the right until they hover just above the ground without touching.
  4. Lift back up to the top position and then lower to the left.
  5. Complete 10-15 slow reps per side.

#10: Anti-Rotation Pulses

This is a great exercise for ab workouts if you have access to a resistance band.

Here are the steps for this ab exercise:

  1. Attach a resistance band with a handle behind a doorway or stationary object so that the band is at chest height. You can modify the difficulty with the width and thickness of the band. Beginners should use a thinner band to make it easier and can progress to a wider, thicker band as they get stronger. You can perform the exercise kneeling or standing.
  2. Position yourself so that your body is angled 90 degrees from the anchor point of the band, so it should be to the right or left side of your body.
  3. Hold the handle of the band with your arms straight out in front of your body. You should be far enough away from the anchor point from the band so that there is significant tension on the band in the starting position.
  4. Engage your abs and glutes while pulsing the band further away from the anchor point by about six inches and then bringing it back to the starting place. For example, if the band is anchored to your left side, pulse the band with extended arms to the right about 6 inches per pulse.
  5. Pulse 25-30 times and then switch sides. 

Try to complete 2-3 sets of the above exercise to get your best ab workouts. As you get stronger, add more reps or add weights to increase the form of resistance.

Beginners should aim to do this ab workout twice a week, and as you get stronger, try to work up to 3-4 times per week if possible.

If you are looking for even more core exercises and would like to try some planks, we have 20 Awesome Plank Variations for you here.

A spiderman plank.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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