1000 rep abs workout to challenge your core

If you want to really focus on improving your ab tone, then try this 1000 rep abs workout. To make up the 1000 reps, you do 2 sets of 50 reps of 10 different exercises. It’s an intermediate/advanced level workout – 50 reps is quite a lot to do in one set. If you don’t currently work your abs regularly, then you should try some of the other abs workouts first. This crunches challenge is a good place to start.

1000 rep abs workout – the exercises

100 rep ab workout PDF

Please read these general exercise guidelines before you start. As mentioned above, 50 reps is a long set, so if you find that you are tiring and no longer able to do an exercise in a smooth, controlled way, then you should take a couple of seconds rest before completing the set. The exercises focus mainly on the “6 pack” muscles, with a bit of work for the deeper core stabilising muscles. For a workout that focuses more on the deeper muscles, see Best Core Exercises.

#1 Scissors

Scissors PDG

  1. Start by lying on the floor with your legs vertical.
  2. From here, lower your right leg to the floor, making sure you don’t let your low back arch.
  3. Stop just before your leg touches the floor and lift it back up to vertical, still being careful not to arch your low back.
  4. Repeat with your left leg and continue to alternate right and left.

#2 Straight leg crunch

1000 rep ab workout Straight leg crunch

  1. Start by lying on the floor with legs vertical.
  2. Curl your head and shoulders off the floor as you reach your hands towards your feet.

#3 Side reach

Side reach

  1. Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet about hip distance apart.
  2. Lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor, with your right hand supporting your head.
  3. Reach your left arm towards your left foot.  Complete 25 reps on this side and then lower your head to the floor and repeat to the other side.

#4 Bicycle crunch

1000 rep ab workout bicycle crunch

  1. Lie on your back with your knees and hips bent at right angles and your hands behind your head
  2. Bring your right knee towards your upper body and, at the same time, lift your left shoulder off the floor and reach your left elbow towards your right knee.
  3. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side.

#5 Double leg stretch

Double leg stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your knees and hips bent at right angles and your hands behind your head.
  2. Curl your head and shoulders off the floor as you straighten your legs.
  3. Return to the start position and repeat.

#6 Reverse crunch

Reverse curl

  1. Lie on your back and extend your legs so that they are vertical.
  2. Engage your lower abs as you curl your lower spine off the mat.  It should be a smooth curling movement.
  3. When your lower back has left the floor, start to reverse the movement – curl your spine back down under control.

#7 Rolling like a ball

Rolling like a ball

  1. Sit on the floor. Balancing on your hip bones, bring your knees towards your chest and put your hands on your lower legs. Point your toes.
  2. Keeping a curve in your spine and your chin tucked in, engage your core muscles and roll backwards.
  3. When your upper back is on the floor, contract your core and buttock muscles strongly to start to roll back to the starting position.
  4. This should be a SMOOTH, CONTROLLED movement. The spine gradually makes and releases contact with the floor, one vertebra at a time.

#8 Standard crunch

Standard crunch

  1. Lie on the floor, knees bent, feet about hip distance apart.
  2. Put your hands behind your head to support it.  Keep your elbows relaxed out to the side.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles and curl your spine smoothly away from the floor.  It shouldn’t be a jerky movement.
  4. Stop when your shoulder blades have left the floor and start to reverse the movement.  Again, it should be a smooth, curling movement on the way down.

#9 Oblique crunch

1000 rep ab workout oblique crunch

  1. Lie on the floor and take both legs into the air as shown.
  2. Take your hands behind your head and rotate your left elbow towards your right knee.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t lift your shoulder high enough for your elbow to touch your knee, just get it as close as you can.  Your left shoulder blade should lift up, but the right stays on the floor.
  3. Now lower your left shoulder blade back to the floor and lift your right elbow towards your left knee.

#10 V sit

1000 rep ab workout V sit

  • Lay on the floor and lift both legs to a 45angle with the floor.
  • Lift your upper body and reach your hands towards your feet.
  • Lower back down to the floor and repeat.

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1000 rep ab workout printable

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Ab workouts FAQ

The stock answer to this is that you can’t get rid of fat from a specific area. This  is repeated frequently and emphatically by almost everyone involved in fitness. Given that it’s the go-to answer, you would think that there’s a pile of evidence to support it. In fact, the evidence is surprisingly weak. On the other hand, there’s no evidence that you can exercise to burn fat from a specific area either.

What we do know for sure is that our bodies have preferred places to store fat – and the abdominal area is one of them. So you’re not likely to have a fat-free belly until you’re a healthy weight. The best way to be a healthy weight is of course to have a healthy diet and to exercise regularly. Any exercise helps with weight control.

Even if it doesn’t burn belly fat, regular ab exercise will make a difference though. The deep core muscles pull the abdominal area flat and having a strong core can make a real difference. In fact it’s often the case that what people think is fat is just poor muscle tone allowing the abdomen to protrude.

So, the best things you can do to look slimmer around your middle are to make sure you’re a healthy weight and do some core training.

Plank holds have been an enormously popular abs exercise for years now. This is probably due to the buzz surrounding the exercise in the form of challenges and extreme hold times, rather than being due to its merits as an effective exercise.

Done correctly, the plank will engage the deepest abdominal muscle, the transverse abdominis (TA). This is the one that plays the biggest part in pulling the abdominal area in flat, as well as playing an important role in pelvic and spinal stability. It’s a challenging exercise and most people will struggle to hold the correct position for more than a minute. These are the good points. However, the plank has its drawbacks:

  • Doing it with correct technique is difficult for those who are not used to core training. To be effective, the back and legs must form a straight line (like a plank). Inexperienced exercisers fail to do this.
  • It’s a static exercise (ie the muscles are held contracted). There are two problems with static exercises. One is that the muscles are only worked in one position and the other is that it causes blood pressure to increase.
  • It’s not functional – we do nothing vaguely resembling the plank in every day life. If we want to train our TA to engage when we’re active, then holding it in a static contraction isn’t the best way.

So should you do plank holds? Yes, it’s good to add them to your abs routine sometimes or to do a plank challenge for variety. But you should make sure your technique is correct and you shouldn’t waste your workout time trying to build up excessively long holds.

As with most “best exercise” questions, the answer depends on what you’re trying to achieve. The two main goals people have are flat abs and 6 pack abs. To have a flat abdominal area you need to train the deeper abdominal muscles. This is done by doing core stabilising exercises. The 6 pack muscles are the top layer of ab muscles and are trained by crunches and similar exercises – any exercise in which the upper body and lower body come closer together against a resistance.  If you want to train all your ab muscles, bicycle crunches are a good all-round exercise.