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12 Incredible Abs Exercises You Should Know

Everything you need to do to get a stronger core without doing a single solitary crunch. For everyone from fitness rookie to hardcore exerciser.

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A strong, stable core will help your body do incredible things.

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Like: run better, lift and carry stuff more easily, maintain good form when you exercise, hold tons of yoga poses, and prevent injury. Just to name a few.

We asked a trainer to come up with 12 awesome abs exercises to help you with that.

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To round up the must-know, best-ever exercises for getting stronger abs, BuzzFeed Life turned to personal trainer Rob Sulaver, C.S.C.S., founder of Bandana Training.

He gave us these 12 movements, which range from easy to hard. You should try to work some of these into your regular exercise routines. No matter where you're starting from, adding these moves to your current routine should help you develop core strength and stability. YES!

A couple notes before you get started:

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1. For moves that require movement: Start with 8 to 10 repetitions of each move, and do 3 sets per workout, Sulaver recommends. If 8 to 10 reps feel entirely do-able, go for 12 to 16. If you can do more than that pretty easily, move on to the harder exercises.

2. For moves that require a hold: Start with 30 seconds and keep adding 5 seconds until you're challenged. Never hold a position to the point of failure; stop holding when you feel you can no longer keep proper form.

3. Proper form and achieving full range of motion are more important than how many reps you can do or how long you can hold a position. To get the most out of every exercise, and to minimize risk of injury, be sure to master the movements before challenging yourself by increasing reps or time, or experimenting with a more advanced exercise.

Each exercise comes with instructions and helpful tips, thanks to fitness expert Holly Perkins, C.S.C.S, founder of Women's Strength Nation.

Beginner Moves:

1. Bicycle Kicks

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Keeping your lower back pressed firmly into the ground, place your hands on your head, and, using your abs to move you, come forward to bring your elbow to the opposite knee. Repeat, alternating sides.

Do

- Contract your abs to keep your torso up.

- Twist from your core and torso.

- Keep your elbows in line with your ears.

- Extend each leg fully at 45 degrees from floor.

Don't

- Twist by simply moving your arms.

- Pull or strain with your neck muscles.

- Touch the floor with your feet.

- Hold your breath.

Make it easier

- Think about creating all movement from your ab muscles.

- Find a rhythmic breathing that assists your movement.

- Rest for two seconds when your neck feels strained or tired.

2. Plank With Shoulder Touch

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Begin in a plank position with your hands planted under your shoulders, or slightly wider apart. Lightly tap your left shoulder with your right hand. Return your hands to the plank position. Alternate, performing the movement on the other side.

Do

- Maintain a strong plank position with a tight core and glutes throughout.

- Keep your legs straight.

Don't

- Rock from side to side.

- Sag towards the floor.

- Twist your hips.

- Neglect your supporting arm; maintain good form.

Make it easier

- Move slowly to maintain balance.

- Breathe in short, rhythmic breaths.

- Widen the distance between your feet.

3. V-Hold

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Sitting on a mat, stretch your arms in front of you, palms facing each other and, lifting your legs, contract your abs to "pull" yourself into the V position.

Do

- Hold for 30, 60, or 90 seconds.

- Hold your arms and legs as straight as possible.

- Keep a long, tall spine.

Don't

- Let your back curve or sag.

- Hold your breath.

- Pull with your neck muscles.

Make it easier

- Practice rhythmic breathing.

- Imagine holding arms and legs in place by activating your core.

4. Rowboat

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Lie on a mat with your head off the floor, chin tucked slightly. Reaching forward with your arms as a counterbalance, use your abs to pull yourself up as you bring your knees toward you, squeezing them to your chest.

Do

- Keep your arms straight.

- Reach your arms forward, shifting your weight to your sit bones as you come up.

- Use your abs to pull your knees in.

- Keep a long, tall spine.

Don't

- Pull or strain your neck.

- Round your lower back when legs are extended out.

- Separate your feet.

Make it easier

- Focus on activating all movement from your core.

- Exhale when your knees pull inward; inhale when you extend your legs out.

Intermediate

5. Prone Pike

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Place your hands directly under your shoulders, maintaining good plank form, with your body making a straight line from your head to your heels. Using the towel to help you, side your feet toward your head, lifting your hips.

Do

- Use your core for momentum.

- Press your shoulders away from your ears.

- Keep your knees straight.

Don't

- Lock your knees completely.

- Strain your neck.

- Pull with your arms.

- Bend at the knees.

Make it easier

- Exhale during the pike phase.

- Push your feet into the ball.

6. Body Saw

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Get into a forearm plank position with your elbows under your shoulders and your palms facing each other. (Use a rolled up mat or pillow to cushion your elbows.) Your body should make a straight line from your head to your heels. Place your toes on a towel and use your abs to pull your feet toward your head.

Do

- Keep your feet and ankles strong and still.

- Maintain a tight core and a long spine.

Don't

- Pull with your arms.

- Shift your weight onto your toes.

- Hold your breath.

- Move your feet.

Make it easier

- Visualize pulling and pushing from your core muscles.

- Lift up away from the ball towards the sky.

7. Mountain Climber

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Maintain a plank position with your hands planted under your shoulders, or slightly wider apart and your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Using the towel to help you move, slide your left foot to your left elbow, driving the knee into your chest. Do this on the other side and repeat, moving as fast as is safely possible.

Do

- Use your abs to keep your hips lifted slightly.

- Generate the movement from your core muscles.

Don't

- Let your hips sag.

- Hold your breath.

- Take short steps.

- Sacrifice form to move faster.

Make it easier

- Focus on bouncing, lifting, and landing with grace.

- Use your butt muscles to assist the movement.

- Visualize using your ab muscles to "suck" your knee and foot up to your hands during movement.

8. Plank With Feet On Stability Ball

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Keeping your feet flexed and together, place the tops of your feet or shins on top of the ball. Pointing your toes and maintaining a good plank with your hands under your shoulders and your body making a straight line from your head to your heels, actively drive through the ground.

Do

- Keep your head in line with your spine.

- Start with this exercise before you move onto the more difficult stability ball exercises.

Don't

- Sag in your lower back (or anywhere).

- Collapse in your shoulders.

- Lock your elbows.

Make it easier

- Allow the ball to touch a nearby wall.

- Take short breaths.

- Activate your legs.

- Spread your legs slightly to help maintain better control over the ball.

Advanced

9. Wrestler sit-up

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Lying on a mat, reach your arms overhead and stretch your legs out, holding them slightly off the floor. Tucking your chin and keeping your feel together, create rolling motion by activating your core. Once you get to the other side of the mat, use your abs to pull you into the sitting position, bringing your knees to your chest. Repeat, rolling to the other side of the mat.

Do

- Keep your arms and legs slightly raised.

- Use your abs to power you across the mat.

Don't

- Move your upper body and lower body at different times.

- Use momentum to move.

- Tug with your head to create movement.

- Arch your lower back.

- Let your knees or elbows touch the mat.

Make it easier

- Tap down with your feet for two seconds of rest.

- Bring your hands to your temples.

- Bend your knees slightly.

- Look in the direction that you are rolling.

10. Knee-Up With Stability Ball

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From a plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your body making a straight line from your head to your heels, place your shins on the top of the ball and point your toes. Pulling with your abs, drive your hips up towards the ceiling as you tuck your knees to your chest.

Do

- Raise your hips as much as possible: the higher the hips, the more active the core.

- Bring your knees as close as possible to your chest.

- Keep your arms straight but elbows soft.

Don't

- Sag your hips.

- Drop your chin.

- Move your hands or arms.

- Lock your elbows.

Make it easier

- Exhale as you pull and slide your knees forward.

- Energetically lift your body upwards towards the sky.

- Spread your feet to maintain better control over the ball.

11. Iron Cross Hold

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Keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels with your toes on the ground, reach your arms to your sides and, bending at the elbow, push up on your hands, using your abs to get you into position.

Do

- Keep your head in line with your spine.

- Keep your feet together.

- Open your fingertips outward.

- Try to stay on or close to your fingertips.

- Keep your shoulders strong and supportive.

Don't

- Sag through your upper body and shoulders.

- Allow your head to drop placing strain on the neck.

- Allow your lower back to sag.

Make it easier

- Activate your legs without locking your knees.

- Use short breaths to "fuel" the holding position.

- Adjust the distance between your hands to make this exercise easier.

12. Renegade Row

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Place your hands on dumbbells directly under your shoulders, maintaining a plank position with your body making a straight line from your head to your heels. Pull the dumbbell to your rib cage, maintaining a strong torso.

Do

- Maintain strong wrists, in line with your forearms.

- Position the feet at hip-width or wider apart.

- Maintain a neutral spine.

Don't

- Allow your hips to sag or to elevate higher.

- Allow your shoulder blades to cave in.

- Move too quickly.

- Twist your hips or rock during movement.

Make it easier

- Exhale when you pull up with the dumbbell.

- Activate your legs.

- Keep your legs straight with unlocked knees.

- Spread your feet to make this exercise easier.

Get to it and get ready for all the incredible things you'll do with a stronger core!

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