The Best Abs Exercises You're Not Doing

When people think “abs” they usually think of endless crunches or sit-ups, but it’s really way more complicated than that.

What they really should be thinking about are moves that work the core — as in the entire core. These muscles are so much more than your six-pack (yes, everyone has a “washboard” they can be proud of, whether there’s some harmless padding on top or not), both in form and in function. Your core includes everything from the tops of your shoulders to the creases below your butt, from the outermost rectus abdominis (this is the muscle that looks like a six-pack) and side obliques to the deep stabilisers that support your spine. They’re also responsible for pretty much all coordinated movement — and non-movement — you do all day, from putting away groceries to sitting up at a desk.

Therefore, the very best “abs” exercises work all those core muscles in one of two ways (or both): by facilitating movement or by stabilising against movement. These 10 moves fit the bill.

More from Fitness


R29 Original Series

Watch Now
A look at the subcultures around the world that colour what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Explore the world's most vibrant cultural and culinary centres—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.