The 6 Best Ab Exercises (And They’re Not What You Think)

The 6 Best Ab Exercises (And They’re Not What You Think)

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exercises for your side abs

Exercises for your side abs

Abs. I hate that term. Core. Not a huge fan of that one either. It’s easy to get mesmerized by the latest promises of washboard stomachs and all of the blond twenty-something girls that supposedly come with them. Six-pack abs might be sexy, but they don’t always mean you’re fit or healthy.

The qualities of a ripped midsection depend upon three factors: metabolic conditioning (cardio), diet and genetics. What I’m saying here is that you could get the aesthetics of a six-pack without any direct ab work.

If it makes you sleep better at night, do crunches until your heart’s happy. But my personal favorite (and most effective) exercises for trunk stability and strength are as follows:

The 6 Best Exercises For Your Abs And Core…

Gym Junkies

Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
Owner & Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!


  1. HELL YEH! L sit pullups are fucking tough. Ive been adding them to my workouts every week and I can feel my core getting stronger.

  2. Wondering why you dont think crunches are good exercises for your abs? I’ve been doing them for years and have a good looking stomach


  3. I tried the overhead carries yesterday and they kicked my butt!

    Im sore all over today (in a good way)


  4. PJ- the whole point is not that crunches are bad, just that there are more effective things for true functional core strength.

  5. Depends on the level of the athlete. For more beginner like athletes planks, later on one arm planks and/or wheight on your back.

    Roll outs. Ab-wheels are actually a good exercise tool.

    Pallof press.

    Other than that I think you mentioned my favorites (especially over Overhead Carrie).

  6. Good site. I love to do Dragon Flags, medicine ball slams, and “knee to elbows”. Only thing I would really add is that while abstaining from alcohol certainly helps gain a 6 pack, drinking will not keep you from getting or maintaining a 6 pack.

  7. @Dave.A: My personal choice? As in my favorite; the one I personally use the most often? Ball slams. No doubt about it. I’m not saying it is necessarily the “best” of those listed above, I’m just saying I do it more than the others. Maybe it has something to do with the psychological boost of slamming something into the ground as hard as you freakin’ can! 😉

  8. love the moves! i’m curious though; why didn’t you include planks/side planks? there are so many variations possible to make them even more challenging than holding the position for a minute or two, such as using a stability ball for a 2 or 3-point plank for instance.

  9. @tuscanystone: the home door pull up bars are usually very good and stable, I’ve used them before and so have some of my mates. I’m about 180lb and my mates are about that or less so couldn’t really say if they’re stable for heavier users.

    The downside is that they can damage paintwork and occasionally woodwork on frames which is an issue in rented accomodation.

    Also they are a hazard for drunk tall guys…

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