Given our collective obsession with abs, we wouldn’t be surprised if ab workouts turned out to be the most-Googled exercise. And for beginners, it’s a lot of information to take in all at once. So, instead of giving everything equal attention, focus on the ones you actually like doing—and stick to them. Working out is grueling enough without doing exercises your body hates!

Below, we’ve picked out 7 of our favorite ab workouts, all of which are great for newbies and fitness junkies alike. Remember: strengthening your core may be one of the hardest things to accomplish at the gym, but the benefits (burning belly fat, becoming less fatigued, and even improving back pain and posture) are well worth the sweat and tears. Let’s get to it!

BUT FIRST, WARM-UPS


All good workouts start with a good warm-up. Do a series of stretches, and try adding these dynamic warm-ups to better prep your core:

1. SKIP ROPE
PERFECT FOR: Overall body conditioning. Skipping rope is low-risk and low-impact. It’s not likely to put undue stress on your body, but it does a terrific job of increasing your heart rate and your ody temperature.

RECOMMENDED REPS: Do it for five minutes or set a number of jumps (e.g. 100, 200).

TIP: Invest in a good speed rope. Speed ropes have thinner cables than the usual jump rope, allowing you to do more rotations. They’re also usually designed with better grips to give you more control over your jumps.
TRY: Harbinger Power Speed Rope, P899

2. TRUNK ROTATIONS
PERFECT FOR: Activating your core

HOW TO (BEGINNER): Sit on the floor or on your mat. With a straight back, hold your hands in front of you, and twist your trunk left and right.

HOW TO (ADVANCED): Loop a resistance band to a sturdy object at the height of your chest. Hold the ends together with both hands and outstretched arms, standing with feet wider than hip-width apart. Turn sideways with your torso as far as you can, then control back to starting position and repeat.

RECOMMENDED REPS: 20-30 reps (10-15 each side), 3 sets

TIP: You can also pull the resistance band upward-sideways or downward-sideways for other variations.
TRY: Active Resistance Loop Band Set, P700

NOW, ON TO THOSE AB WORKOUTS


1. REVERSE CRUNCHES
PERFECT FOR: Lower abs

HOW TO: Lie down with your back straight, hands flat to your sides. Keep your knees together and lift them in a 90° angle. Pull your knees to your chest using your abs so that your tailbone rises off the floor, then slowly lower it back to the starting position, and repeat.

RECOMMENDED REPS: 30 reps, 3 sets

TIP: You can intensify this exercise by keeping your legs straight.

2. MODIFIED SIT-UPS
PERFECT FOR: Abs, chest, hip flexors, lower back—sit-ups strengthen a lot of muscle groups other than abs

HOW TO: Secure a resistance band somewhere to the level of your knees when you’re lying in the same starting position for reverse crunches. Loop your feet under the resistance band. Hands at the back of your head, pull up your chest using your upper ab muscles at the same time you draw your knees toward your chest. Control as you go back to your starting position.

RECOMMENDED REPS: 30 reps, 3 sets

TIP: Another way of amplifying the simple sit-up exercise is holding onto the bands (instead of looping them around your feet) for an assisted standard sit-up.
TRY: Manly Power Bands (150”), P593

3. WEIGHTED RUSSIAN TWISTS
PERFECT FOR: Obliques, core strengthening

HOW TO: Sit down with your knees together, feet flat on the floor and spine at a 45° angle. Hold a weight in front of your chest, and then lift your feet off the floor. As you twist to the side, straighten your legs, and then pull them back when you return to the center. Repeat on the other side.

RECOMMENDED REPS: 20-30 reps (10-15 each side), 3 sets

TIP: If you don’t have a dumbbell or kettlebell in hand, use a makeshift weight like a heavy bag.
TRY: Harbinger Lifting Grips in Black, P1,899, Active Resistance Tube Trainer, P2,500

4. V-SITS
PERFECT FOR: Core strengthening

HOW TO: Sit on the floor with your spine at a 45° angle and, keeping your knees together, lift your legs to a perpendicular angle. Keep your arms straight on your sides. Kick your legs straight at the same time you push your chest backwards as if you’re about to lie down (but don’t touch the floor!). Slowly pull back to the starting position, and repeat.

RECOMMENDED REPS: 20-30 reps (10-15 each side), 3 sets

TIP: Make sure your back and shoulders are straight. Don’t pull your shoulders in!
TRY: Re-Flex Prime 2.0 Knee Support, P286

5. MOUNTAIN CLIMBER SIDE PLANKS
PERFECT FOR: Full-body exercise with a focus on cardio and abs

HOW TO: Start with a plank position with hands directly under your shoulders and feet stretched behind you. Draw one knee to your chest, then do the same with the other as you pull it back. Repeat this alternating motion at least 3x (you can do more!), and then return to the plank position. Slowly shift your weight to one side as you attempt a side plank, and then shift again for a side plank on the other side.

RECOMMENDED REPS: Counting the mountain climbers and two side planks together as one rep, aim for at least 10 reps, 3 sets.
TRY: ASAB Organics Maca Root Powder (Raw) (70g), P295

6. BIRD DOG CRUNCH
GREAT FOR: Encouraging stability and boosting strength, especially in spine muscles; alleviating lower back pain

HOW TO: Start in a tabletop position, keeping your wrists directly above your shoulders. Move your knees under your hips. At your first inhale, extend your right arm forward, while lifting your left leg back. Square your hips and maintain a straight back. As you draw your right elbow to your left knee, engage your core by squeezing your abs on an exhale. Extend back out and repeat on the other side.

RECOMMENDED REPS: 6-12 reps, 2-3 sets

7. REACH-THROUGH TWISTS

GREAT FOR: Obliques
HOW TO: From a plank position, carefully shift to a side-plank. Make sure your abs are contracted, hips are raised, and your body is in a straight line. Slowly bring down your lifted arm, mirroring the movement of your torso as you twist it inwards.

RECOMMENDED REPS: 20-30 reps (10-15 each side), 3 sets

Phew, that was a lot. Do you feel the burn?

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