6. Reverse Crunch
This move effectively targets the abdominal wall, with an extra emphasis on the lower region (often referred to as the “lower abs”). HOW TO DO IT: Begin lying face up with your arms extended by your sides and your knees at a 90-degree angle above hips. Draw your abs into your spine and lift your hips and lower back off the floor, tucking your knees in toward your chest. (Use your arms to help lift your hips.) Slowly and with control, lower your back and hips to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
7. Bear Crawl
This MMA-style move may not look like it’s doing much for your abs, but it will have your core muscles activated like crazy while also pumping up your heart rate and chiseling your arms, shoulders, legs and glutes, too. HOW TO DO IT: From an all-fours position with your toes tucked under, engage your abs and lift your knees slightly off the floor. (Your hips should stay in line with your shoulders.) Keeping your shoulders and hips in a straight line, take a step forward with your left hand and left foot. Immediately repeat on the right side. Crawl forward as quickly as possible with good form taking 20 “steps” forward at a time. Try up to 3 sets.
8. Raised Legs Crunch
A twist on the traditional crunch, the raised leg position in this move makes it impossible to cheat by using the glutes or legs which can help deepen the contraction of the abdominal wall. HOW TO DO IT: Begin laying face up with your knees bent at 90 degrees over your hips and your hands clasped behind your head. Exhale and round your spine, lifting your head and shoulders off the floor. (Keep your elbows wide and avoid pulling on your head.) Return to start. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
This advanced move is a challenge for the abdominals and requires some flexibility, so feel free to modify by bending the knees as much as needed to build strength and mastery. HOW TO DO IT: Begin lying face up with your arms extended overhead and your palms facing up and legs out straight with your feet hip width apart. Engage your abdominals and sit all the way up into a “V” position, lifting your legs and trying to touch the tops of your feet with your fingertips. Lower with control back to starting position. Try up to 3 sets of 10 reps.
10. Standing Rotational Chop
This functional exercise works the abdominal muscles and lower back together, with an extra emphasis on the obliques. HOW TO DO IT: Begin standing with your feet wide and your knees slightly bent, holding onto the handle of an anchored cable or resistance band with your arms extended out in front of your lower chest. Brace your abs in tight to your spine and begin to chop your arms across your torso from side to side, keeping your hips steady while rotating your torso through the shoulders. (Adjust resistance as needed.) Do 3 sets of 15 reps. (Each side to side chop is 1 rep.)
11. One-Armed Farmer’s Walk
It may not look like an abs move, but this single arm variation of the farmer’s walk exercise will have your core muscles working overtime to stabilize your spine with every unevenly weighted step. HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet under your hips, holding 1 dumbbell or kettlebell to the side of your body with your palm facing in. Keeping your spine tall, abs engaged and shoulders square, take 5 steps forward, turn around and take 5 steps back to start. That’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 5 reps on both sides.
12. Burpee Tuck Jump
This advanced double whammy abs move is not only a dynamic way to work the core, it’s also a killer way to blast off major calories to help reduce body fat fast (which is crucial for showing off that six-pack!). HOW TO DO IT: Begin standing with your feet hip width apart and your arms by your sides. Squat down to the floor, bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Place your hands under your shoulders. Jump your legs back into a full plank position, bracing your abs in tight and immediately lower into a push-up, tapping your chest lightly to the floor. Then jump your feet back into a squat position and swing your arms up and immediately jump straight up, tucking your knees into your chest. Land in a squat position and repeat as quickly as possible with good form. Do 3 sets of 5-10 reps.