6 Effective Abs Exercises for 6 Pack Abs

There are plenty of abs exercises you can do. All you need, however, is just 6 variations for a thorough and effective core workout. Here are 6 beginner (to intermediate) exercises to get you started on your washboard abs.

Floor crunch

The basic crunch is an effective, beginner-friendly way to isolate and target the abdominal muscles (recuts abdominis).

But how?!

Floor Crunch

  1. Lie down flat on your back.
  2. Plant your feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Make sure your heels are on the ground.
  3. Bend your knees and cross your arms in front of your chest. 
  4. Contract your abs and inhale.
  5. Exhale and lift your upper body, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
  6. Inhale and return to the starting position.

Not hard enough!

Hold on to a dumbbell for added resistance. Weight plates may not be as ideal as they typically increase in 5 to 10kg per plate, which are big increases. 

Safety tips: Use your core to raise your upper body, not your head or neck. Move in a slow, controlled manner to engage the right muscles.

Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch engages your lower abdominal muscles and obliques more. If you are working up to this level, try this on a flat bench.

But how?!

Reverse Crunch

  1. Lay both hands on the ground, and lie down with the back flat against the floor.
  2. Bend your knees, then bring your legs up until they form a 90 degree angle from your torso. 
  3. Tilt your pelvis, and pull your knees in towards your chest
  4. Squeeze and slowly lower to starting position. 
  5. Repeat 15-20 times.

Not hard enough!

Set your bench to a 20 or 30 degrees incline if you have one.

Safety tips: Remember to keep your core tight and engaged through the motion to avoid lower back injuries.


The plank works many supporting muscles besides your abdominal including your back, shoulders and even quads if done right. It also helps with your posture! Therefore, if you’ve not been doing this, you should.

But how?!


  1. Get down on all fours, forearms and toes on the ground.
  2. Lift your knees off the ground, keep your back straight, and your core tight. 
  3. Hold for 45-60 seconds

Not hard enough!

If you’re in the gym, stabilise a weight plate between your glutes and lower back as you perform the plank. A non-weighted variation would be to reach forward with your right hand, hold for a count and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat with your left hand.

Safety tips: Be sure not to compromise your form. A saggy back during a plank can result in lower back pain later on, Do not let your head sag to avoid neck strains.

Mountain climbers

The mountain climber is another full body favourite because it works your abdominals, hips, glutes, and even arms. It is also easy on the back making it beginner friendly. 

But how?!

Mountain Climber

  1. Go into a push-up position with your hands shoulder width apart, and knees hip width apart. Brace your core as you do so.
  2. Move your left thigh towards your chest, without moving your arms and right leg.
  3. Alternate your legs smoothly, that will be 1 rep.
  4. Repeat 15-20 times. 


The bird-dog requires a little bit of coordination! It should still be generally easy to perform, plus it’s easy on the back. It engages your abs, as well as the muscles in your butt, hips, and back to stabilise the movement.

But how?!

Bird Dog

  1. Put your hands palms-down and shoulder-width apart on the floor. Keep knees hip-width apart. 
  2. Engage your core and inhale.
  3. As you exhale, straighten your right leg behind you (aligned with your hips), and extend your left arm in front of you (aligned with your shoulders).
  4. Alternate your legs and arms, that will be 1 rep.
  5. Repeat this 10-15 times.

Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is an advanced version for the floor crunch in working the abdominals and obliques.

But how?!

Bicycle Crunch - F

  1. Lie down on your back and lift your knees to 90 degrees. 
  2. Raise your upper body and tighten your core. This is your starting position. 
  3. Rotate your trunk and move your elbow to the opposite knee. Simultaneously, straighten the other leg.
  4. Repeat this motion for the other side and that will be 1 rep.
  5. Complete this 10-15 times.

Safety tips: Always keep your lower back planted on the floor and rotate your core instead of your neck to avoid strain.


Beyond the aesthetics of building abs, strengthening your ab muscles will help you live a better life. A stronger core means better posture, balance and treating any back pain too. My recommendation would be to choose 3 of these ab-focused exercises 2-3 times a week, and go for 3 rounds per exercise. 

May this article give you some inspiration for your next workout or to help you get started! 

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