Most people who’re not familiar with weight training think that getting abs is all about doing more and more sit-ups or crunches. However, you have a much better shot at getting those well-defined abs if you focus on your entire core rather than just your abs. Here are 7 exercises which can help you do just that.
1. Dumbbell Pushup Row
Place a pair of dumbbells about shoulder-width apart on the floor. Grab the handles and position yourself in a pushup position. Lower your body to the floor and then press back up.
Once you’re back in the starting position, pull the dumbbell in your right hand up toward the side of your chest.
Pause, then return the starting position and repeat with your left hand. That’s 1 rep. Try to prevent your torso from rotating each time you row the weight.
2. Dumbbell Squat Thrust
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides holding a pair of dumbbells.
Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body as deep as you can into a squat. Place the dumbbells on the floor, then kick your legs backward into a pushup position.
Kick your legs back to the squat position. Stand up and jump. That’s 1 rep.
3. Planking Frog Tucks
Start in a pushup position with your body straight from your shoulders to your ankles. Bring your right foot forward and place it next to your right hand (or as close as you can).
Try to prevent your hips from sagging or rising. Return your leg to the starting position and repeat with your left leg. That’s 1 rep.
4. Overhead Split Squat
Hold a pair of dumbbells directly over your shoulders, with your arms completely straight. Squeeze your abs tight for the entire exercise. Stand in a staggered stance, your left foot in front of your right foot.
Push your hips back and bend your knees so you lower your body into a squat. Pause, then push yourself back up to the starting position.
Perform the prescribed number of reps, and then do the same number of reps with your right foot in front of your left.
5. Crossover Stepups
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your left side next to a step that’s at knee height. Place your right foot on the step. Press through your right heel.
Push your body up onto the step until both legs are straight. Lower your body back to the starting position.
Perform the prescribed number of reps with your right leg, then switch to your left leg and repeat.
6. Wall Slide
Lean your head, upper back, and butt against the wall. Place your hands and arms against the wall in the “high-five” position, your elbows bent 90 degrees and your upper arms at shoulder height.
Hold for 1 second. Don’t allow your head, upper back, or butt to lose contact with the wall. Keeping your elbows, wrists, and hands pressed into the wall, slide your elbows down toward your sides as far as you can.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Slide your arms back up the wall as high as you can while keeping your hands in contact with the wall. Lower and repeat.
7. Barbell Hip Raise
Sit on the floor with your upper back against a stable bench, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put a padded barbell across your hips and grab the barbell with an overhand grip, about shoulder-width apart.
Keeping your back against the bench and the barbell just below your pelvis, raise your hips—while squeezing your glutes—until your hips are in line with your body. Return to the starting position, and repeat.