Summer’s right around the corner, which means many of us are trying to get our abs in tiptop shape. You may be cutting back on the junk food and pushing yourself to do hundreds of crunches each week to get your abs beach-ready.

But before you start pounding away at those crunches, you should know that there are tons of effective ab exercises that can help you accomplish your goal of getting a flat, toned tummy. Not only will these exercises help give you your desired look, but they can also improve your core strength, posture, and overall health.

Below are five effective ab exercises from Sami Clarke’s Body Glow Fitplan that will help you achieve sleek summer summer abs. The best part is, they’re equipment-free and can be done anywhere!

Remember, nutrition plays a huge role in creating and maintaining defined abs, so be sure to combine your ab work with a dialed in diet.

The Plank

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This exercise helps tone the rectus abdominus, the transverse abdominus, as well as the internal and external obliques. If you’re looking for an overall ab-toning and core-strengthening exercise, then the plank is one of the most effective moves to add to your workout routine.

To begin a plank, get into a modified push up position. Instead of planting your hands on the floor, bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and rest on your forearms. Be sure to stack your shoulders and elbows above your hands and keep your spine and hips aligned. Pull your belly button up towards your spine to engage your core.

For an effective plank, hold this position for at least 30 seconds. As your core muscles become stronger and more toned, you can gradually increase the amount of time that you hold the position.

Side Plank Rotation

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This version of the plank is a full-body exercise that targets your core, obliques, quads and glutes. To get into a side plank, lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other. Stabilize yourself on your forearm.

Lift your entire body up toward the ceiling and keep your core tight as you balance on your bottom leg. Reach your top arm toward the ceiling and keep you body in a straight line.

Engage your core as you twist your torso down and forward, then thread your arm underneath your body. Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times per side.

Mountain Climbers

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This cardio ab exercise strengthens the core while also working the triceps and deltoids. To prepare your body for mountain climbers you first need to get into a high plank or push up position. Your hands should be lined up with your shoulders with your palms planted flatly and firmly against the floor. For proper execution, extend your legs and keep your core engaged.

From the starting position, pull your right knee towards your chest. Then, extend your right leg to return it to its original position. Then, do the same thing with your left leg. You can alternate your legs quickly for a nice cardio workout, just be sure to keep your back flat and your core tight.

Leg Lifts

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This exercise is great for the core, particularly the lower abs. You can do leg lifts while lying with your back flat against the floor, or you can do hanging lefts if you have a chin-up bar. Both versions are an effective way to tone your abs.

If you’re doing your leg lifts on the floor, begin by lying on your back with your arms by your sides. You can also place your hands directly beneath your butt for added support. From this position, lift your legs up, bringing your knees towards your face. You can raise both legs at a time, keeping them together as you raise them, or you can alternate legs. Once your legs are almost to a vertical position and perpendicular to the floor, slowly lower them back down to the floor. Repeat this exercise for about 10-20 reps.

If you have a chin-up bar, begin with your hands about shoulder width apart with your legs hanging straight down. While maintaining a straight back, slowly lift your legs until they are parallel to the floor. Then, slowly lower them to the original hanging position. For the most effective results, be sure to keep your feet off the floor at all times while doing this exercise.


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Kickbacks are a great way to tone both your abs and glutes. To prepare for this exercise, get down on all floors. Tuck your toes and keep your back curved or neutral. Pull your belly button up towards your spine and raise your knees a couple of inches off the floor.

From this starting position, bring one knee up towards your face and then kick your leg back behind you while squeezing your glutes. Repeat this movement 10 times, then do the same thing with your other leg.

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