Ab Exercises That Really Work

After speaking to the numerous Trainers in various gyms that I have worked for in the past, one thing seems to be the common theme for them all when they talk about ab exercises that work. Of course this seemed to be the case for past clients as well who thought that abs were made in the gym through hundreds of ab crunch exercises. Quite the opposite actually.

The thing is that we’ve all be brain washed by marketing guru’s to think that the latest magic ab machines or fad diet will bring us the look we’ve always wanted. The truth is that the common person is buying these machines and going on these fad diets, wasting their time and money on them. Without getting the so claimed results, most products usually end up as awkward shape seats.

Whilst the real fitness guru’s all have achieved their slim line figures through old fashioned exercise and healthy eating. What’s even more of a shock is that the fitness guys and girls most likely haven’t performed a thousand ab exercises daily. Some trainers I’ve spoken to say, they hardly even exercise their abs with traditional ab exercises – i.e. crunches or situps.

The truth is that if you want ab exercise that work, simply focus on regular cardio and weights training exercise, and almost forget training your abs so often.

Why? Regular cardio will burn the fat surrounding your abdominal muscles, and that’s what you need to shrink before you can even think about seeing any definition or six pack abs. Weights training will increase your lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have the higher your metabolism. That is what’s needed to burn more calories daily, burning more fat and uncovering your abdominal muscles.

A common tip that was mentioned is that whatever exercise they perform, they hold their mid section in tightly at all times. This is not only to help strengthen your core muscles, but will also help to tone your stomach whilst performing cardio or weights training. What I also recommend is to tighten your ab muscles a lot any time through the day, making your stronger and leaner in appearance. Just don’t hold your breath whilst you do this exercise.

Rule #1

If you can’t perform a Plank for 60 seconds first, and side planks for 30 seconds, then I wouldn’t even bother doing crunches. Always focus on static core strengthening exercise versus dynamic ab exercises. This will help strengthen your transverse abdominal muscles are the basis for core strength and will also improve your back and posture.


  • Work up to a 60 second front plank. i.e. Week 1 10 secs, Week 2 – 20 secs, Week 3 – 40 secs, Week 4 – 60 secs.


  • Work up to a 30 second side planks. i.e. Week 1 10 secs, Week 2 – 15 secs, Week 3 – 25 secs, Week 4 – 30 secs.

You can perform a couple of sets of crunches and leg raises 1-3 times per week, to help strengthen your abs. Use slow and controlled movements and just don’t overdo it. 1000 reps a day is not necessary. But once again perform plank tests above first.

Rule #2

If time is limited, you’re ALWAYS better off focusing more of your time on the cardio (running, rowing) and weights exercises. Such as squats and deadlifts, pull-ups and pushups. These exercises are a great because the use multiple muscle groups which includes your abs/core. So you’re saving time and getting more benefits working other lower and upper muscle groups.

Rule #3 – Yes, abs are made in the kitchen!

Of course all the ab exercises that really work won’t ever help if your eating plan is not in check. Another common theme amongst these trainers (including myself) was that 80-90% of the time they followed a clean healthy eating plan. Which generally meant they actually ate more than the common person would anyway. It was just better food choice obviously.

So if they’re eating more food, why do these fitness gurus have better bodies? It may not just be that when you’re overweight you’re eating the wrong foods, it may be that you are actually trying to restrict yourself too much.

In the end, when you understand, because you have achieved the result… there is no secret here. It just comes down to common old fashioned healthy eating and exercising. The ab exercises that really work come down to how you use you arms to chop up your veges in the kitchen, so to speak. Get your eating plan correct first. This will then complement all the above ab exercises.


As a Trainer and Coach for over 10 years now, I've helped many people reach their goals as well as achieve my own including having lost 35kg. I'm my very own guinea pig when it come to achieving a fitter, healthier life and now I'm here to help you. Start by signing up to the Really Really Fit newsletter, Free Book and Video training that will change your mindset and life.

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