Ab Work: 5 Moves to Add Right Now

Tired of doing sit-ups?  Try  these innovative ab moves from our favorite trainers to really chisel your core.  Bonus tip: Do these after your favorite cardio routine for the best burn.


The jackknife is a killer ab exercise that will really get your abs burning while testing your flexibility.  To perform a jackknife, lay on your back with your legs straight and your arms extending over your head.  On an exhale, keep your legs and arms straight as you bring them together in a jackknife position, letting your shoulder blades come off the floor.  Inhale as you return to the start.  The jackknife is an especially difficult exercise as the arm and leg movements work both your upper and lower abs at once, leaving your entire core on fire.

Squat and Side Crunch

You don’t have to get on the floor to work your abs!  For this exercise, place your hands behind your head and lower yourself into a wide stance squat.  As you come back up, raise your right knee and lower your right elbow, crunching your obliques.  This move really strengthens the side waist with the added benefit of working your thighs and booty.

Reverse Crunch

To perform this reverse crunch, lie on your back with your legs and arms extended.  On an exhale, reach your toes towards your fingertips, making sure to use your core rather than momentum.  On an inhale, slowly bring your legs back, pulsing twice towards the floor.  This move really targets your lower abs while lengthening your spine.

Side Plank Crunch

The side plank is a great exercise that really gets deep into your abs while also challenging your upper body.  Adding a crunch really takes things up a notch and challenges your obliques and balance even more. To perform a side plank, keep your arm straight and directly under your shoulder, forming a straight line with your body.  To add the crunch, begin by extending your top arm straight out.  Exhaling, bend your top arm and leg so your elbow and knee meet in your mid body.  Modify this as necessary by lowering to your bottom knee or placing your forearm on the ground rather than your palm.

Opposite Arm and Leg Cat/Cow

This is an excellent multi-tasking move.  The cat/cow stretch really engages your abdominals while stretching your spine, and by extending an opposite arm and leg you’re adding resistance and stretching in opposition, so your core has no choice but to be engaged to keep you from falling over!  To perform this move, being on your hands and knees. Once stable, extend an opposite arm and leg.  On an exhale, bend your extended arm and leg and bring them towards your belly as you round your back.  Inhale, extending the arm and leg and arching your back into a cow stretch.

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