The Only Ab Exercises You’ll Need For A Toned Midsection

Toned Abs

Tone up your midsection with these top ab exercises…

If there was a body part that best represents a toned body, hands down, it would be the midsection.

For many people, fatty deposits usually end up in their midsection.

Thus, a toned, tight and taught midsection is the best indicator of having low body fat levels.

Your Midsection Has 4 Muscle Groups

1. Rectus Abdominis – The outer layer. Popularly referred to as the “abs”.

2. Transverse Abdominis – The inner layer. Provides your abs and spine stability and support.

3. External Obliques – Located along the side and front of the abs; used for flexion and rotation.

4. Internal Obliques – Located underneath the External Obliques and used also for flexion and rotation.

In choosing the exercises that you’ll need to develop a toned, tight and taught midsection, the following criteria was used:

  • Safety; it should not compromise the lower back
  • Utilises the 4 sections of the midsection
  • Full range of motion
  • Requires balance, stability and mobility
  • Functional

There are 10 abdominal exercises listed but you should only choose 3-4 exercises from the list.

The Top Ab Exercises

1. Plank – Recommended by trainers and orthopedics as the safest ab exercise. It helps build strength, flexibility and mobility in your abs, hips and lower back.

2. Oblique Twists – Great for improving trunk flexibility and lower back strength.

3. Mountain Climbers – Primarily focuses on the lower abs and can be used as a conditioning exercise.

4. Bird Dog Exercise – Primarily focuses on the external oblique and will help improve hip mobility and flexibility.

5. Swiss Ball Crunch – Primarily focuses on the upper abs; it is a safer variation of the crunch as long as the lower back remains in contact with the Swiss Ball.

6. Swiss Ball Pike – A challenging ab exercise that improves flexibility, mobility and agility. It also strengthens the upper body.

7. Ball Slams – An explosive ab exercise that also works the legs, lower back, upper back and shoulders.

8. Medicine Ball V Up – Great for toning the upper abs and develops flexibility in the hips and lower back.

9. Swiss Ball Rollout – This ab exercise is valuable in stretching the midsection to improve circulation.

10. Bicycle Crunch – An old school ab exercise that can also be used as a conditioning exercise.

Now let’s put it all together!

Ab Workout Routines

Listed below are 3 ab workout routines that you can use in your exercise program.

If you have a Swiss Ball and a Medicine Ball, you can actually do these workouts at home.

There are specific instructions for each workout. As you can see, you can also get a good cardio workout by training your midsection.

Workout A:  Swiss Ball Challenge

Instructions:  Straight Set Workout
Rest Periods:  60 seconds between sets; 120 seconds between exercises

1. Swiss Ball Crunch- 4 sets x 10 reps
2. Swiss Ball Pike –  4 sets x 10 reps
3. Swiss Ball Rollout – 4 sets x 10 reps
4. Plank x 30 seconds

Workout B:  Medicine Ball Challenge

Instructions:  HIIT; 4 Intervals
Rest Periods:  60 seconds between intervals

Swiss Ball Crunch

Swiss Ball Crunch is a great isolation exercise for the abs

1. Ball Slams x 30 seconds
2. Medicine Ball V Up x 30 seconds
3. Oblique Twists x 30 seconds
4. Plank x 30 seconds

Workout C:  Bodyweight Challenge

Instructions:  HIIT; 4 Intervals
Rest Periods:  60 seconds between intervals

1. Bicycle Crunch x 30 seconds
2. Mountain Climbers x 30 seconds
3. Bird Dog Exercise x 30 seconds
4. Plank x 30 seconds

Abs Workout Schedule

You may not be aware of it, but your abs are constantly working every day.

When you are walking, the abs are contracting to accommodate shifts in body weight and to absorb pressure on your knees and lower back.

Thus, your abs are high endurance muscles. You can train them as often as you like but it is also a good idea to give them a day off.

Here are 3 workout schedules to choose from depending on your schedule and capacity.

You can go through each option in order by staying with a routine for at least 1 month before switching to the next.

Option A:   3 days a week

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 A Rest B Rest C Rest Rest
2 A Rest B Rest C Rest Rest
3 A Rest B Rest C Rest Rest
4 A Rest B Rest C Rest Rest

Option B:   4 days a week

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 A C Rest Rest B C Rest
2 A C Rest Rest B C Rest
3 A C Rest Rest B C Rest
4 A C Rest Rest B C Rest

Option C:   6 days a week

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 A B C Rest A B C
2 Rest A B C Rest A B
3 C Rest A B C Rest A
4 B C Rest A B C Rest

Remember to always focus on form and technique when performing these exercises.

Lastly, do not forget to stay strict with your diet.

These are the only ab exercises you need but you still have to eat clean to remain healthy and to keep excess body fat away.