9 Effective Ab Exercises To Your Best Abs

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You might’ve heard repeatedly that abs are built in the kitchen. Well, I don’t want to be a bearer of bad news but that still holds true. However, that’s not to say you can’t build amazing, sexy abs without the help of effective ab exercises.

There are several ab exercises (in combination with healthy eating) that will strengthen your core while simultaneously give you that nice abdominal outline you dream of.

For a lot of women, especially ones that just had a baby, getting a six-pack or having those nice outlines aren’t their first or main priority. You could be one of those women that are looking to strengthen your core after birth like myself. I’m a c-section mom and had my abdominal muscles cut though so I needed to get those muscles back together.

If you’re a mama who gave birth and have diastasis recti (abdominal separation), then I highly recommend avoiding the exercises that include any sort of crunch movement, planking, or twisting. As this can make it worse.

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Past Ab Journey

Viewers discretion is advised. I’m about to get real and raw with you.

Freshmen 15

freshmen 15 weight gain

I’m taking you back to 2012 when I went to the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Where I was 4 hours away from home and indulging myself in freedom. And not just social freedom but freedom to eat whatever and whenever I pleased. I paid a lot of money on their meal plan so I wanted to get my money’s worth.

Little did I know the excess calories and lack of exercise were negatively impacting my body. I went from struggling to get past the 100 lb mark to easily weighing over 130 lbs my freshmen year of college at an astounding 5 feet in stature.

First Time Working Out (Seriously)

beginning ab exercises

This was in 2013/ 2014 when I moved back home after losing my dad to cancer. I wanted to take care of my health and incorporate working out into my schedule. But I continued to overeat (maybe not as much as I did my freshmen year) but exercised more than I ever had before. I also started incorporating ab exercises into my workout routine.

NPC Bikini Competition Prep

ab exercises

In 2016 I decided to take my passion for fitness to a whole new level. I got a coach and was put on a strict diet over a course of 16 weeks. Along with my strict diet plan, I was on an intense workout plan. I had to wake up and do fasted cardio for an x amount of time, eat all of my prepared meals for the day, go back to the gym for my evening workout and cardio routine.

This lifestyle was not maintainable for me. However, those ab exercises and strict dieting gave me a six-pack for the first time in my life.

Maintainable Eating And Workout Schedule

abs before having baby

A year or two after I competed in a few NPC bikini competitions, I wanted to focus on creating a maintainable, healthy lifestyle. This meant I wasn’t on overdrive, fixing up low-calorie meals, and doing two cardio sessions a day.

I wanted to eat to fuel my workout, eat more to recover, and ultimately have no pressure to be “perfect”. My goal was to be happy with myself, live healthier, and also enjoy life.

Pregnancy

pregnancy third trimester

Then I got pregnant in 2019 and gained way more than the recommended amount. I dreaded going to every OB appointment after the weight just kept packing on. Because I would get scolded about my weight and asked what I’m doing to prevent further weight gain.

Yes, I was working out during my pregnancy. And no, I wasn’t eating a strict diet. The weight I put on affected me mentally but I was more determined than ever to “bounce back”.

Immediately After Birth

post c section body

Well bouncing back didn’t happen as quickly as I thought it was going to. I had an unexpected c-section, I was sore, weak, and in pain. Throughout my whole pregnancy, all I ever heard from everyone was “oh you’ll be one of those women that won’t even look pregnant right after birth”. So initially the expectations were set high. And that ended up not being the case for me,

10 Months Postpartum

c-section-recovery-postpartum

10 months postpartum with no strict dieting and unmanageable workout routine. I don’t post this to brag, but to show you that it’s possible to break through the stigma that babies wreck bodies. Give your body time and grace and incorporate these effective ab exercises while eating as healthy as you can.

9 Effective Ab Exercises To Leave You Sore

1. Swiss ball leg raises 3×20

Grab a yoga ball like the one below or use your body weight!

How to:

  • Lay down
  • Place the ball in-between your ankles
  • Raise your legs up making your abs crunch
  • Simultaneously raise your arms to grab the ball
  • Lower your legs while rotating your arms above your head
  • And repeat

Related Posts

10 Home Gym Essential Equipment For Every Mom On A Budget

15 Postpartum Weight Loss Tips And How To Lose Weight After Baby Long Term

A Meal Plan Example For Weight Loss During And After Postpartum To Give You A Jumpstart

2. Crunches 3×30

How to:

  • Lay down
  • Lift your legs up perpendicular to the ground
  • And crunch

3. Bench leg raises 3×15

How to:

  • Lay down on a flat bench with your bottom slightly off the bench
  • Hold onto the sides of the bench
  • Lift your legs up where your abdominal muscles are crunching
  • Come back down where your body is parallel to the ground
  • And repeat

4. Mountain climbers 3×20

How to:

  • Get in a push-up position
  • Jump one leg by your arm like you’re stretching
  • Then jump the leg back while jumping your other leg by the other arm
  • And repeat

5. Flutter kicks 3 sets of 45 secs

How to:

  • Lay down
  • Place your hands under your lower back for support
  • Lift your legs up 6 inches off the ground
  • And alternate your legs in a kicking motion with legs straight and at least 6 inches off the ground

6. Supine bicycle 3×20

How to:

  • Lay down
  • Put your arms behind your head
  • Reach your elbow to the opposite knee
  • And alternate while in a crunching position

7. Toe touch 3×20

How to:

  • Lay down
  • Bring your hand to the opposite leg
  • Crunch your abs
  • Do 10 reps and then switch and do 10 on the other side

8. Alternating ankle touchers 3×20

How to:

  • Lay down
  • Try and touch your ankle or heel with the same side arm
  • Then alternate to the opposite side
  • 20 reps all together

9. Side planks 3 sets of 45secs

How to:

  • Get on your side
  • Make a fist with your hand that’s on the ground
  • Use your other hand to balance by placing it on your abdomen
  • Put your feet together
  • Lift your side up in a side plank position for 45 secs

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    Final Thoughts

    I hope you enjoyed this list of effective ab exercises! If you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up for your free 5-day workout program and fitness log. Also, I will be posting a lot of workout videos on the Youtube channel so please subscribe here!

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    3 Comments

    1. I will start incorporating these movements in to my workout. I have been trying to be focused on the mid-section, and this will be a great help!

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