If you’re looking to tighten up your core and develop deeply defined abdominal muscles then you don’t need to go crazy with over-complicating things as there are really only a handful of exercises that you’re going to need.

Let’s take a look at five of the best core exercises that you can incorporate into your routine to help you firm up that flab and get those abs popping!

Reverse Crunches

The lower abs can often be the most difficult to feel working, making them hard to develop, so we recommend starting your abdominal workouts with a couple of exercises that will get them burning and help you develop a mind-muscle connection.

To perform reverse crunches, lay with your back on the floor, clench your lower abs, and then use that contraction to leverage your legs up while bringing your knees towards your chest. Finish the movement by slowly returning to the starting position.

You should notice that your lower back will lift gently off of the floor, and you may also want to hold onto something behind you to support yourself.

Hanging / Dip Position Leg Raises

Alternate how you perform this exercise from one workout to the next, so one time you can hang from a pull up bar and the next you can support yourself in a Roman chair or dip station.

Once in position, clench your lower abs as with the reverse crunches and bring your knees up to your chest.

To make this exercise more difficult you can either hold a dumbbell between your feet or keep your legs straight and raise them right out in front of you with your knees locked.

Decline Sit Ups

Now we’re moving on to your mid-upper abs.

On a decline bench, anchor your feet and then slowly lower your body down until you are in a decline position by around 15 – 30 degrees, then use your abs to bring yourself back up; roll your spine forward slightly at the top of the movement to achieve a greater contraction of your abdominals.

Make sure you keep your abs contracted throughout the entire movement, especially at the bottom, as this will prevent you from using your spinal erector and hip flexor muscles to lift your body on the way back up.

Lat Pulldown Crunch

This may seem like a rather elaborate exercise but it is in fact a wonderfully simple way of hitting the very top of your abs hard.

All you have to do is hold until the bar of a lat pull-down machine, and in the seated position exhale forcefully through your mouth while clenching your upper abs.

You will notice that the weight only moves a few inches, but with a little practice you’ll be able to create a very forceful contraction of your upper abs and move some serious weight.

Plank

To finish off we will hit your abs as a whole.

Simply get into the top of a press-up position, keep your abs flexed, and hold that position for 30 – 60 seconds, or as long as you can.

Ensure your lower back and butt don’t sag as you get tired, and instead focus on flexing your abs even harder.