16 Simple Yet Super Effective Abs Exercises to Add to Your Routine

core burners: a close up photo of a woman's abs muscles

If your current abs workout feels a bit dull or ineffective, then swap out some of your current moves with a few (or all!) of these exercises. These core burners were suggested by professional trainers, so you'll definitely be feeling them tomorrow.

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The Abs Moves Trainers Swear By

The Ab Moves Trainers Swear By

The feeling of being sore after a workout can make you feel like you really put in the work and challenged your muscles. But sometimes, the routine that used to be super difficult just doesn't do it for you anymore — which means you're getting stronger (yay!) and might want to up the intensity at your next gym session. Here, trainers share their favorite abs exercises to do when they want to feel that soreness and know they've worked their core. Be prepared, these are the very definition of "core burners." (

How it works: Add a few of these core burners to your current core routine, or do a set of each exercise for a full workout. Make sure you're listening to your body: Only do as many reps of each exercise as you feel comfortable (but challenged!) doing, and don't forget to rest when you need it.

You'll need: A stability ball, a medicine ball, and a set of gliders (if you don't have any, two washcloths also works)

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A. Lie flat on the floor, then raise right arm in the air and bend right leg so that right foot is flat on the floor.Sit up, using left arm for support.
B. Drive left heel into the floor and extend both hips off the floor into a one-arm bridge position.
C. Bring left leg under right leg, moving into a lunge position with right leg forward.
D. Drive left knee up off the floor, and bring left leg to stand next to right leg. Repeat these steps in the reverse order to return to starting position, then switch sides; repeat.

Casey Miller, C.S.C.S., certified personal trainer and founder of FitNV

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Wood Chop

A. Stand tall and hold a medicine ball with both hands at chest height. Twist torso as far as possible, bringing the ball up and above opposite shoulder.
B. Keeping chest up, bring the ball down all the way across body in a "chopping" motion — go slow and exhale on the way down. Return to the starting position. Do all reps on one side, then switch sides; repeat on the other side.

Nikki Noya, certified personal trainer

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Spiderwoman Plank

A. Start in a forearm plank, then bring right knee toward right elbow.
B. Return to original plank, then repeat on the right side. Continue alternating as fast as possible while maintaining proper form.

Amber Hirsch, NASM-certified personal trainer and master barre instructor

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A. Lie on back with legs spread hips-width apart. Extend arms overhead so body resembles an "X" shape.
B. Using core to lift upper and lower body, bring right hand and left foot together. Return to starting position, then switch sides; repeat.

Amber Hirsch

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Stability Ball Saw

A. Start in a plank position with forearms on a stability ball, making sure to keep core tight and body straight.
B. Move arms forward and backward in a sawing motion. For an added challenge, move elbows in a circle to the right, then a circle to the left.

Joan Scrivanich, C.S.C.S., exercise physiologist and running and triathlon coach at Rise Endurance

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Windshield Wipers

A. Lie on back with knees and feet up in the air, keeping knees and hips bent at 90 degrees. (To make this move more challenging, keep knees straight.)
B. Keeping body flat on the ground, lower legs down to one side, then bring them up and over to the other side.

— Joan Scrivanich

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J Turns

A. Start in a plank position with legs on top of a stability ball (the center of the ball should be about under knees). Use knees to draw a semi-circle to left side, pulling knees to left elbow (in a "J" shape).
B. Return to the starting position, then draw knees directly under chest. Return to the starting position and pull knees toward right elbow. Switch sides; repeat.

— Joan Scrivanich

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Gliding Mountain Climbers

A. Start in a plank position with feet on gliders. Keeping core engaged and palms pressing firmly into the floor, use right foot to glide right knee the space in between hands.
B. Slide foot back to the starting position, then switch sides; repeat. Continue alternating. (

Christina Lodde, certified personal trainer, former instructor at Barry's Bootcamp Boston, and former master instructor at Flywheel Boston

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A. Lie on the floor with legs extended straight on the floor and arms overhead.
B. Using core, bring hands to toes, then lower back to starting position. To make this move harder, don't touch feet down to the floor.

Holly Roser, NASM-certified personal trainer and creator of the H Method

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Russian Twists

A. Start in a seated position, with feet lifted in the air and ankles crossed.
B. Lean back on sit bones, and, keeping abs tight, twist torso back and forth from side to side. If this feels easy, hold a weight in hands, close to abs, while twisting.

Jamie Logie, certified personal trainer and owner of Regained Wellness

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Lower Abs Leg Lift

A. Lie flat on the ground, preferably by the side of a squat rack or pole to reach and hold on to. Extend legs toward ceiling, pressing lower back into the floor.
B. Lift legs up until butt lifts off of the floor, then return to the starting position. Repeat.

Jake Boly, C.S.C.S., founder of That Fit Friend

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Kneeling Medicine Ball Rollouts

A Kneeling on a soft surface, place medicine ball on the floor in front of body and place both hands on top.
B. Without dropping hips, roll the ball out as far as possible. Bring ball back to starting position and repeat.

— Jake Boly

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Body Saw

A. Start in a forearm plank position, feet on a set of gliders. Keeping lower back flat and shoulder blades back and down, slide body back as one unit.
B. Hold briefly, then return to the starting position or shift shoulders slightly past wrists. Continue sliding.

Polina Liu, British Weightlifting-certified instructor

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Leg Climb

A. Lie on back and raise one leg straight into the air.
B. Use hands to "climb up" raised leg to touch toes, then "climb" back down.

Lisa Kinder, NCSF-certified personal trainer

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Reverse Curls

A. Start in a crunch position with legs bent at 90 degrees and calves parallel to the floor.
B. Lift tailbone off the floor and bring knees toward nose. Return to starting position and repeat.

Makenzie Marzluff, certified pilates instructor and certified nutritionist

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A. Start at the top of a push-up position, hands directly underneath shoulders. Lower right elbow down to the floor, then the left.
B Press up on to the right hand, then the left to return to starting position. Repeat, alternating which elbow is first to lower and lift.

Brooke Taylor, NASM- and ACE-certified personal trainer, certified Pilates instructor, and founder of Taylored Fitness NY, Ltd

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