If you’ve been searching high and low for the secret to getting a flat stomach and six-pack abs—but haven’t had any luck—you’re not alone. After years of doing a bazillion crunches during every workout, I finally learned that determination only gets you so far when the approach is wrong.

Everybody wants a six-pack-which is great. For the best results, both aesthetically and functionally, you need to target all the muscles in your abdomen. One move alone does not tone all these muscles. You’re going to need at least a few to tighten up all over.

The Workout:

Here are the best hard abs moves to target all areas-even the ones you can’t see. Work the obliques, plus ab muscles you never knew you had, with hard-core exercises that deliver the results endless crunches can’t.

1. Roll Back:

Works: Rectus abdominis


  • Sit up straight, with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor.
  • Pull torso in close to thighs, reaching arms forward at shoulder level with palms down.
  • Exhale, drawing navel toward spine as you roll back onto tailbone, curving spine into a “C” shape.
  • Inhale and realign spine to straighten up.

Related article: Mix Up Your Core Workout With These 5 Exercises That Hit Every Angle Of The Abs

2. Twisting Roll Back:

Works: Internal and external obliques, the rectus abdominis


  • With arms extended forward, perform a roll-back, curving spine into a “C.”
  • Twist torso to one side, bending one elbow and pulling it back at shoulder level while reaching other arm to opposite knee.
  • Reach both arms forward and return to starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Related article: 5 Exercises To Work Off Your Waist And Curve Out That Core

3. Medicine Ball Sit-Up:

Works: Transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques


  • Hold a medicine ball over head, and recline all the way down.
  • Lift from core back to a sitting position, keeping the ball over head.
  • To make this more challenging, find a slant board at the gym.
  • Hook feet under the top of the board.
  • The downhill slant and extra weight add an extra challenge to ab muscles.
  • Increase the angle of the board and the weight of the ball for better results.

Related article: 5 Minute Tiny Waist Workout In Just Four Quick Exercises

4. Kneeling Crunch:

Works: Rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques


  • Kneel with one arm stabilised directly under shoulder, reaching other arm forward at shoulder level and opposite leg back at hip height.
  • Exhale, contract abs, and round back up to the ceiling while drawing elbow to knee, turning palm up.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Related article: Attack Your Abs From All Angles With This At Home Circuit Workout

5. Dead Bug:

Works: Transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques


  • Lie on back with legs raised, knees bent over hips and calves parallel to the floor.
  • Extend arms to the ceiling with palms forward, and pull abs tight, bringing navel to spine.
  • Exhale, lowering opposite arm and leg toward the floor, bringing remaining knee in over chest.
  • Keep low back connected to the floor at all times-don’t arch.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Related article: Mix Up Your Core Workout With These 5 Exercises That Hit Every Angle Of The Abs

6. Lunge Split Jacks:

Works: Rectus abdominis


  • Stand with feet in a staggered stance, left foot in front of right, 2 or 3 feet apart, then lower body into a split squat.
  • Jump up and scissor-kick legs, landing with right leg forward.
  • As soon as feet land, lower body into a split squat.

Related article: Start Building Your Strength And Shape With This 5 Minute Core Workout

7. Toe Dip:

Works: Transversus abdominis


  • Sit tall with both knees bent in front, feet flat on the floor.
  • Lean back onto elbows with shoulder blades down and together.
  • Tighten abs, sliding hands under lower back for support with palms facing down.
  • Lift legs so that knees are bent over hips with calves parallel to the floor, inhaling and dipping toes to the mat while maintaining those right angles at the knees.
  • Exhale, then return to starting position.

Related article: 6 Standing Abs Exercises For A Sexy Six-Pack And Slender Body Sculpt

8. Bicycle Crunches:

Works: Internal and external obliques, transversus abdominis


  • Lie flat on the floor with lower back pressed to the ground; pull abs downward to target deep ab muscles.
  • Interlace fingers and put hands behind head.
  • Start by bringing knees in toward chest, lifting shoulder blades off the ground.
  • Straighten right leg out to about a 45-degree angle from the ground while turning upper body to the left, bringing right elbow toward the left knee.
  • Make sure rib cage is moving, not just elbows.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • You should be creating a “pedalling” action; do this exercise with slow and controlled motion.

Related article: 5 Plank Variations For A Well Defined Six-Pack, Carve Your Core And Get Stronger

9. The “Jean-Zip”:

Works: Transversus abdominis

How to:

  • You can do this move discreetly, at any time throughout the day.
  • As if you were zipping up a tight pair of jeans, “scoop abs” by pulling navel in toward spine and then up, lifting the pelvic floor.
  • This move engages those deep abdominal muscle to flatten the belly-it’s the muscle that lies right under your zipper.