The Most Effective Ab Workouts to Do at the Gym

We’re all for planking your way to a stronger core. And odds are you have a handful of go-to bodyweight abs exercises that you do on the mat when you’re cooling down.

But if you’ve ever wondered how you can work your abs with the equipment available at your gym, we’ve got you covered with 4 creative and effective ways to take your abs routine up a notch.

We worked with Equinox trainer Gerren Liles to round up killer core moves using some of the most common gym equipment: a pull-up bar, a cable machine, a Bosu ball, an abs roller, TRX straps, and a barbell. And you can adjust them to fit any fitness level.

Next time you’re at the gym (and dread doing another crunch), pick three of the moves below and do 2 to 3 sets for the recommended number of reps. Stick to it, and we promise you’ll feel the burn — and see results.

Hanging leg circles

Grip a pull-up bar with palms parallel, arms extended. The bar should be high enough to hang from with legs extended, without feet touching the floor. Engaging core and keeping legs straight, draw a big circle in the air with your feet.

Be sure to brace your abs tight so your body doesn’t swing back and forth. Reverse the circle. One circle in each direction equals 1 rep. Do 8 to 10 reps.

Make it easier: Work up to the pull-up bar by doing the move in a captain’s chair first, which will provide more stability.

Cable isometric hold

Don’t let the cable machine intimidate you — it’s easier to use than you think. Stack on a light weight (start with 10 pounds or fewer) and position the carriage so it’s even with your chest. Stand next to the machine, left side facing away from it.

Next, hold 1 cable handle with both hands. Take 1 big step away from the machine. Extend both arms fully at chest height, come into a comfortable half-squat, and hold the weight steady.

Engage your abs to hold the handle straight in front of your body — don’t twist toward the machine. Aim for perfect posture. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Mountain climbers

Place the Bosu ball bubble side down. Start in a plank position, gripping the edges of the flat side of the ball.

Bring right knee in toward left elbow, then left knee in toward right elbow (like mountain climbers). Repeat, running legs to opposite elbows as quickly as possible for 30 seconds

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