Intense Ab Exercises You Can Feel Working


Ready for swimsuit season? Dreading the thousands of crunches you think you need to do to get there? Stop!

I’m like everyone else – I hate sit-ups and crunches. But, probably not for the same reason that everyone else hates them.

I hate sit-ups and crunches because they are too easy… yep, you heard me, too easy.

Cheating on Your Abs

It’s just too easy to cheat yourself when doing sit-ups and crunches.  Admit it – you don’t squeeze as many muscles as you could as hard you can with every crunch.

And really, all that you’re doing is cheating yourself out of the benefits of a good ab workout. And – ug – if we expect anything from all of our intense workout exercises – it’s f#%@ing awesome abs!

Do Ab Exercises You Can Feel

There are two types of ab and core exercises that work – and you’ll know they work because you’ll feel the burn.

  1. Big, Repetitive Movements
  2. Isometric Holds
Today, we’re going to look at Isometric Holds:

Isometric Holds

The Plank

The most popular of these is the plank. Holding a plank requires the engagement of most of the muscles throughout your core. Plus, it engages muscles in the legs, arms and shoulders.

Challenge yourself by holding a plank as long as you can, and then beat your time day after day. Every second counts… think about it. In if you can hold for 30 seconds today, add 1 second per day and by this time next month, you’ll be planking for a full minute.

Change it up switching your hand and/or foot position:

  • Place your elbows and forearms down on the ground (your hands under your face) – and watch that your tail doesn’t raise.
  • Lift and hold one foot up about an inch off the ground. Hold for as long as you can and switch feet.

Wall Press Leg Lifts

I found another great isometric move on Pinterest. It comes from the Fitness Magazine website and works that low-ab area – or the “pooch”:

  • Sit on floor with lower back against a wall, knees slightly bent and feet planted wider than shoulder-width apart. Place hands on floor between legs and squeeze abs.
  • Press into floor with fingertips and lift feet about 6 inches. Make it easier: Lift and lower left foot; then repeat with right to complete 1 rep.

Slow-Rise Head Stand

Now, this is one of my current challenges! Getting from a “dolphin” (basically a downward dog with your forearms and head on the floor) into a headstand without kicking your feet… you just slowly raise them upward.


The woman above  shows the move one leg at a time. This helps get the feel for balance and gives your neck and back a break until your abs are strong enough to hold both legs.

Once you’re ready to try this, start with both feet on the floor, and your head and forearms ready to support your weight. Slowly bring both knees into your chest, and raise them together into the air. Easy – right? Haha – not at all!

Feel the Burn!

Give these a try and feel the burn in your abs and throughout your core! Bye-bye easy crunches and hello swimsuit season!


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Author: Rachel Honoway

Rachel started based on her love for intense workouts and the results they produce. She's a wife, a mom to two elementary school aged boys and a small business owner - but here at, she gets to be a fitness enthusiast, bringing you tips, advice and routines to help keep you motivated to workout - pretty hard!

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