Just four moves and no sit-ups to build stronger abs, here's how

Here's four ab-focused exercises to start improving muscle strength and definition in your mid-section

Woman completes an ab workout
(Image credit: Getty)

You won't get a set of abs just from completing countless sit-ups everyday. More often than not you will engage your abdominal muscles through other fitness training, just by default. But it doesn't hurt to engage in certain ab-focused movements to further build and refine this area of muscle, which you can test out with this four-move ab circuit.

The benefit of using some of the best workouts for abs is that the exercises typically include a lot of variety for just this muscle group, meaning you can target the entire abdominal area. Certified personal trainer Alex Rice designed her own routine using four versatile movements guaranteed to make you feel a burn across your abs.

The workout requires no equipment but if you like to have some form of padding underneath your lower back when you exercise feel free to place one of the best yoga mats underneath you. 

You will find with a lot of short ab workouts like when I tried the Daisy Keech ab workout, they often don't include breaks. This is usually because you are working for very short periods. But if you do find a break is necessary don't be scared to fit this into the routine yourself. Anything between 30-90 seconds of rest between sets can help to improve muscle development. 

Watch Alex Rice's Four-Move Ab Circuit

People can easily confuse their ab muscles with their core but the main thing to be aware of is that your core is formed of a large group of muscles around your midsection, meanwhile, your rectus abdominis (AKA your abs) form a small fraction of this dynamic muscle group. 

Rice's workout is targeting your abs with the four strengthening moves listed below:

  1. 10 (each) alt. leg extensions
  2. 8 (each) toe touch variation
  3. 12 table top pulses
  4. 30 sec modified boat hold

Certified personal trainer with over twelve years experience in fitness, Scott Laidler, recommends working on your abs towards the end of a bigger session because most forms of exercise use your abs, whether you are aware of this or not. 

For example, it makes more sense to complete an ab circuit after a session of strength training as you don't want to exhaust your abs and then try go squat or deadlift with some of the best adjustable dumbbells.

Alternatively, if weight training isn't you're preferred way to work out and perhaps you enjoy HIIT style training, then Laidler suggests incorporating ab exercises like the ones above into your HIIT circuits.

He notes, "Bear in mind that abs recover quite quickly in terms of being able to work them more frequently (which is a factor of them working incredibly frequently as an aid to everything else) also bear in mind that if you are new to ab training they can get very exhausted very quickly, so a little goes a long way".

Allowing your body adequate time and the right conditions to recover under is crucial. Eating a protein-rich diet will aid your body to repair and grow, and you can increase your intake with one of the best protein powders for weight loss

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.