Sculpt your six-pack: Ab bench exercises you need to try

If you want to strengthen your core and improve your overall fitness, ab bench exercises are a great option.

A strong, toned core is a goal that many women aspire to achieve, not only for the aesthetic benefits but also for improved overall fitness and health. Ab bench exercises provide an effective way to target and strengthen your abdominal muscles.

woman doing ab bench flutter kicks

There are many different types of ab bench exercises that you can do, targeting all areas of your core, including your upper abs, lower abs, obliques and transverse abdominis. Some of the most popular ab bench exercises include:

  • Decline crunches
  • Knee raises
  • Leg raises
  • Oblique twists
  • Bicycle crunches

Depending on your fitness level, these exercises can be modified to make them easier or more challenging. You can also use weights or other resistance devices to add intensity to your workouts in building a strong core.

Ab muscles

Transverse abdominals: The transverse abdominis sometimes called the transverse abdominals or TVA are the deepest muscles found in the abdomen region.

The muscles wrap all the way around the trunk of your body, the obliques or muscles on the side of your abdomen, and the rectus muscles, which run down the center of your belly and are responsible for creating your six-pack.

Obliques: The obliques are made up of the internal and external oblique muscles.

The internal obliques are thin sheets of muscles on both sides of the ab area beneath and perpendicular to the external obliques. They have multiple functions in the body including supporting the ration and bending of the trunk.

External obliques start at the lower ribs and extend to the pelvis. The function of the external obliques are to assist with movements such as twisting the trunk and rotating the spine.

Rectus abdominis: The rectus abdominis is what most people focus on. They are located in the front of the abdominal wall and are only visible at a low body fat percentage. They start at the rib cage and extend down to the pubic bone.

The primary function of the rectus abdominis is flexion of the trunk,d but it also assists with stabilization and controlling the tilt of the pelvis.

Ab bench exercises

Ab bench exercises are a great way to improve your core strength, stability, and balance. They can also help you to reduce your risk of injury and improve your performance in other activities.

Decline bench exercises

Decline bench Russian twists

woman doing decline ab bench exercises in the gym
woman doing decline ab bench exercises in the gym
  • Start in a sit-up position. Rotate your right elbow towards your left knee and vice versa.
  • Keep your back straight and your core tight while doing this exercise.
  • Try not to curl your spine as you twist to make sure you avoid injury.
  • Get a good twist to really work those obliques.

Decline sit-ups

woman doing decline ab bench sit ups in the gym
woman doing decline ab bench sit ups in the gym
  • Lie on a decline bench, extend your arms with a medicine ball or weight plate directly above your shoulders.
  • Keeping your core tight and your arms extended, sit up.
  • Slowly lower yourself to starting position.

Flat bench or adjustable bench exercises

Jack knife

woman on the edge of a flat bench for jack knife exercises
woman on the edge of a flat bench for jack knife exercises
  • Sit sideways on a flat bench. Place your hands behind your hips and grab the underside of the bench for support.
  • Maintaining a neutral spine, lean back and extend your legs in front of you, lifting them off the ground.
  • Contract your core muscles to draw your chest and knees up and together, creating a V shape with your torso and legs.
  • Pause, then lean back as you lower and extend your legs in front of you.

Flutter kicks

woman doing ab bench flutter kicks
woman doing flutter kicks on the bench
  • Sit on the end of a flat bench and, maintaining a neutral spine, lean back. Grab the edges of the bench with both hands for support.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles and lift both legs to bench level.
  • Keep both legs straight as you alternately lift each foot in a fluttering motion.
  • Complete an equal number of reps with each leg.

Copenhagen plank

A version of a side-plank that also hits your inner thighs at the same time.

copenhagen plank starting position
copenhagen planks
  • Lie on the ground on your side, perpendicular to a flat bench with your feet facing the bench.
  • Place the inner side of your top foot on top of the bench and lift up into a side forearm plank: forearm on the floor, shoulder stacked over elbow, and hips lifted so your body forms a straight line from head to heels.
  • Lift your bottom leg so it hovers above the ground. To modify, allow the bottom foot to rest on the ground.
  • Hold for the specified amount of time, then repeat the exercise on the opposite side.


woman doing floor crunch for ab bench exercises with feet on the bench
woman doing floor crunch for ab bench exercises with feet on the bench
  • Lie on the ground with your legs over the side of the bench
  • Place your arms behind your head or across your chest. Contract your abs and inhale.
  • Exhale and lift your upper body, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
  • Inhale and return to the starting position.

Reverse crunches

woman doing ab bench reverse crunches
woman doing ab bench reverse crunches
  • Lie down on a bench and bend your knees, so your legs form an upside-down “L.” Make sure that when you are in this position, your lower back is flat on the floor.
  • Crunch through your abdominal muscles to bring your knees to your chest as you roll your lower back off the floor. Exhale as you bring your thighs up and back toward your chest.
  • Make sure that you keep your knee angle consistent at 90 degrees throughout the whole movement.
  • Return legs to starting position.

Decline mountain climbers

mountain climbers
ab bench decline mountain climbers
  • Get in a pushup position with your feet on the bench and your hands planted shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  • Your body forming a straight line from head to heels in your starting position.
  • Lift your right foot off the step and slowly draw your right knee toward your chest, then return to start.
  • Repeat with your left leg; continue alternating.
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