5 Effective Ab Exercises for Developing a Strong Core

Developing strong ab muscles is just one of the components needed to improve core strength. Strong abdominal muscles are important but a strong, functional core is the key to optimum performance! The ultimate goal is to activate the superficial and deep abdominal muscles to work in concert with the other core muscles. All of the core muscles work together to provide strength and create balance and stability. There are twenty-nine pairs of muscles make up the core.

This article looks at five beneficial abdominal exercises to start doing today. As you master these over time, you can then make your core training more robust by adding in other core exercises to strengthen the areas mentioned below.

Main Muscle Groups Making Up the Core

  • Abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus, external obliques, internal obliques, and transverse abdominis).
  • Multifidus
  • Erector spinae
  • Diaphragm
  • Pelvic floor muscles

5 Beneficial Abdominal Exercises to Start Doing

Tuck Crunch

Exercise Steps :

1.) Begin by lying down with your back on the floor or an exercise mat, with your arms lying across your sides and palms facing down.

2.) Once in position cross your legs at your ankles and slowly elevate your legs up in the air until your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.

3.) Next cross your arms on your chest as if you were doing sit ups and perform crunches while maintaining your leg position.

4.) Repeat for as many repetitions and sets as desired.

Coaching Tip: Initiate the movement from the abdominal muscle. There should be no momentum when performing the exercise.

Barbell Ab Rollout (Kneeling)

Exercise Steps :

1.) Start by placing a barbell on the floor in front of you. From a kneeling position in front of the bar, take a shoulder-width, overhand grip.

2.) With a slow controlled motion, roll the bar out so that your back is straight, bend your knees and keep your feet off the floor.

3.) Keep your arms straight throughout the exercise.

4.) Roll back up bring the bar under your shoulders and return to the starting position.

5.) Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.

Coaching Tip: Pull the navel in towards the spine and hold during the exercise.

Forearm Plank

Exercise Steps :

1.) Start by kneeling on all fours and aligning both hands right below your shoulders keep your knees beneath your hips.

2.) Extend both of your feet out behind you and squeeze on your core muscles, making sure that your body is aligned straight

3.) Hold this position for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Coaching Tip: Contract the thighs and buttock as you hold the position. To intensify the movement, imagine pulling the elbows towards the toes and push the toes towards the elbows….in an isometric fashion.


Exercise Steps :

1.) Begin by laying on a mat with your legs extended out towards the ceiling and slightly apart.

2.) Extend your hands above your head and in front of your chest.

3.) Squeeze with your abs and reach up with your arms in between your legs and hold this position for a few seconds.

4.) Return back to the starting position and then repeat for the desired number of repetitions and sets.

Coaching Tip: Try bracing the core prior to the start of the exercise, by pulling the navel in towards the spine during the movement.

Abdominal Pendulum

Exercise Steps :

1.) Begin by laying with your back flat on the floor, your legs together extended out in front of you and your hands placed out to your sides so that you are in a “T” position.

2.) Slowly lift your legs up and over your body so that you are creating a right angle to the floor, then twisting only at your hips, lower your feet slowly to the floor to your right without losing any control.

3.) As soon as you feel a stretch in your obliques, return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

4.) Repeat for as many repetitions and sets as desired.

Coaching Tip: This can be a challenging movement for some. It is easy to hold your breath throughout. Avoid that by inhaling as you drop the legs to the side and exhale your breath as you pull the legs back up (using core only) to the starting position.


The five abdominal exercises mentioned in the article require minimal or no equipment to perform. This combination of exercise will strengthen your abdominal muscles. Over time, incorporate additional exercises into the mix to challenge other core muscles like the back muscles (multifidus and erector spinae).

Stay Strong Together

Try the award-winning Jefit app for your next workout. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for planning & tracking your strength workouts. Named best app for 2022 and 2023 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual, the Greatist and many others. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule.

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