You need just four moves to tone your abs, here they are

Four fundamental core exercises to improve strength and definition across your mid-section

Woman does a side plank
(Image credit: Getty)

If you exercise a lot then it's likely that you're already working your abs more than you think. Various activities like weight lifting, running, yoga and Pilates all engage your abdominal muscles. But, if you're new to training your abs or you want to ensure you really know what engaging your core muscles should feel like, then you'll want to try these four fundamental moves.

Some of the best workouts for abs naturally train your core as your four abdominal muscles make up a small section of this muscle area. So if you're making time to tone your abs then you may as well master working out your entire core. 

The core is responsible for supporting, moving and stabilizing your spine and helps to make everyday tasks and exercise easier. This workout shared by fitness trainer Anna Victoria shares four key exercises for strengthening the core that will train and define your abs by default.

No equipment is needed for this short routine but feel free to place one of the best yoga mats down on the space you will be working out on. This way you can ensure your back and butt are supported.

Victoria doesn't specify how long to spend on each move or how many sets so feel free to see what feels good for you, everyone's fitness abilities will vary. Generally speaking abs can be worked hard in short periods of time, so spending between 30 to 45 seconds on each exercise and aiming to repeat the circuit up to three times should leave you with a sufficient ab burn.

Anna Victoria's Four-Move Core Workout

If you're someone who isn't always sure if you're using the right muscles or never feel much pain from certain ab moves then Victoria has some advice. 

She wrote in the video caption, "Be sure you’re engaging your inner core (transverse abdominal) muscles (also called the corset muscles) and one way to think about doing that is on the exhale, focus on bringing your hip bones together".

She acknowledges that some people recommend bringing your belly button to your spine but doesn't find this useful explaining that this only gets you halfway there. Instead, Victoria suggests bringing your hip bones together on the exhale. Try this using her four fundamental core exercises below:

  • Deadbugs
  • Plank
  • Side Plank
  • Hover Plank

Research has shown that regular abdominal training alone won't reduce stomach fat but it will significantly improve muscular endurance. So it's worthwhile including moves like the ones above, and even adding one of the best ab rollers, into your fitness regime for building a stronger core.

If reducing body fat is a goal of yours then you will want to work on combining exercise, such as this rowing for weight loss plan, with some weight training (some of the best kettlebells are great from strength training at home) and make sure you are eating filling, nutrient-rich meals. Consuming one of the best protein powders for weight loss is a good way to increase your protein intake to aid muscle growth and recovery.

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.