No crunches, no weights, all coreYou should know by now that when you’re talking about the best abs exercises around, crunches don’t make the cut. You should also know that you don’t need fancy equipment to get a great abs workout. These 21 core moves—you’ll see lots of variations of planks, pilates exercises, and more in the moves below—will work your abs from every angle, wherever, whenever. All you need is your body and the urge to burn. Learn ’em, love ’em, do ’em. Over and over.
Quick word about abs workouts and best abs exercises, though, before you get started. These moves will help you strengthen the various muscles that make up your core, which in itself is a great goal. A strong core helps with balance and makes you more efficient at other moves. But if your goal is to lose weight or change your body fat composition—and in particular, if your goal is six-pack abs or spot-targeting your belly fat—you should know that it doesn’t matter how many pilates scissors you do or how long you can hold a plank. Even the best abs exercises aren’t going to help you accomplish those specific goals all on their own.
That’s because (say it with me) there’s no such thing as spot reduction. Also (and more importantly), weight loss and body fat loss require a concerted combination of exercise, a healthy and specific nutrition plan, and other contributing lifestyle factors, like getting good sleep and limiting your stress. There’s also the very real fact that what works for one person might not work for another, and no matter how much you work for it, a six-pack may not be possible for you—whether because of physical constraints, or because what it takes to get a six-pack isn’t at all worth it from a mental health perspective. Read Why It’s So Hard—and Sometimes Impossible—to Get Six-Pack Abs for more on this topic, if you’re interested.
So incorporate these best abs exercises into your workouts and enjoy the benefits. But make sure that your expectations are realistic and healthy. Staying sane and happy is more important than any of these best abs exercises. Remember that.