Elite fitness expert shares the only two ab exercises you’ll ever need

Nope, it doesn’t involve doing the plank

Man with his top off doing ab crunches
(Image credit: Getty)

Let’s be honest, there’s hundreds of ab exercises that can help us towards our goal of achieving a six-pack or toned tummy – from sit-ups to planks, as well as bits of home gym equipment we can use alongside our workouts, like an ab roller. It can all become a bit of a minefield. However, elite fitness trainer, Jeff Cavaliere, has shared the two key ab exercises you need to be doing that are worth your time, sweat and energy – and it doesn’t involve the plank either, so listen up.

Firstly, it’s important to point out (as Jeff rightly does so too) that when it comes to having visible abs you need a low body fat percentage, otherwise you simply won’t be able to see them. So, first things first, make sure your nutrition is in-check. Secondly, Cavaliere says it’s not so much about the exercises you’re doing, believe it or not, it’s more about the movement of the exercise. To work the lower abs he says you need to move your legs towards your upper torso, whereas to work the upper abs you need to move your head and torso towards the feet. ‘What about the obliques?’ you ask. Don’t worry, these two moves have those covered too.

The two moves are actually nothing wildly exciting or new, but they combine those all-important ab movements (legs towards your head, head towards your feet) that Cavaliere points out. Just make sure you've got something comfortable beneath you when you do them, like an exercise or yoga mat. Here’s what they are:

  • Corkscrew – It’s basically a reverse crunch, but instead of crunching straight at the top and going down again, when you reach the top of the crunch, twist your feet to one side. When you perform the second rep, you’ll crunch then twist your feet to the other side. Bringing your feet towards your head works the lower abs, while the incorporated twist works the obliques.
  • Upper circle crunch – Again, this is very similar to your crunch. The difference is instead of crunching up and down, you crunch and rotate, like you’re creating a circle in the air. This works the obliques, while moving your head towards your lower torso will work your upper abs.

And there you have it, two ab exercises that target your upper and lower abdominals, as well as your obliques. Not a fan of crunches? Try this five minute no-crunch ab workout instead.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.