5 Best Bench Ab Exercises Workout (Light Up Your Core)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico | Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Last updated: November 23, 2023
Our content is meticulously researched and reviewed by an expert team of fact checkers and medical professionals. They ensure accuracy, relevance, and timeliness using the latest reputable sources, which are cited within the text and listed at the end of the article. Before publication and upon significant updates, we confirm factual accuracy, committed to providing readers with well-informed content. Learn more.

Many people struggle to make their abs more visible by choosing the wrong ab workout exercises.

I tested over 50 bench ab workout exercises and evaluated the best for building your ab musculature. I singled out the ones that showed greater improvement in strength and aesthetics.

After reading the article, you will know the best bench ab exercises to add to your workouts.

Quick Summary

  • Jackknifes is one of the bench ab workout exercises targeting both your lower and upper abdominal muscles.
  • To get the most out of your ab workouts, target multiple trunk movement patterns, such as flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation.
  • To make your abs more visible and increase core strength, you must combine effective ab workout exercises and a proper diet that supports your workout regime.

5 Bench Ab Exercises

A woman doing ab exercises on a bench

After testing over 50 bench ab exercises with my team and clients, I singled out the 5 best ab exercises according to the results.

Both beginner and advanced trainees can perform them.

In addition to these, the recommended ab workouts for men can also be beneficial.

These ab exercises will improve your ab conditioning, which is excellent for correcting your posture imbalances and lowering the risk of injuries [1].

Related: Kari Pearce’s Ab Workout

1. Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch primarily targets your rectus abdominis muscles, also known as the six-pack muscle.

How to Perform a Reverse Crunch

  1. Assume a lying position on your back on a flat bench with your hands holding its sides.
  2. Lift your hips from the flat bench, so the angle between your body and upper leg is 90 degrees. At the same time, your knees are bent to close a 90-degree angle with the hamstrings.
  3. Start the exercise by raising your hips from the weight bench and towards the ceiling without changing the previously mentioned angles.
  4. When you reach the top position, hold for one second and reverse the motion by bringing your hips down to the flat bench.

2. Copenhagen Side Plank

Copenhagen side plank will target the muscles such as your obliquus internus, obliquus externus, and adductor muscles.

How to Perform a Copenhagen Side Plank

  1. Assume a lying position on your right side, your right elbow on the floor, and your left leg on the weight bench.
  2. Your head, shoulders, hip, knees, and ankles should all be straight.
  3. Start the exercise by lifting your hips off the ground to transition to a side plank position with your left leg on the weight bench.
  4. Slowly lower your hips towards the ground and stop before they touch the ground.
  5. Hold the bottom position for one second and reverse the motion by raising your hips, so you come to the starting position with your left leg straight on the weight bench.

3. Decline Crunch

A woman doing a decline crunch on a bench for ab exercises

Decline crunch mainly targets your rectus abdominis, and the decline bench position of your adjustable weight bench requires a greater effort than doing it on a flat surface.

How to Perform a Decline Crunch

  1. Adjust the decline position of the bench to around 30 degrees.
  2. Assume a lying position and secure your left knee and ankle pads.
  3. Bring your hands to the side of your head and take a deep breath while your back is against the bench.
  4. Start the exercise by initiating the crunch motion. Engage your ab muscles and lift your torso toward your thighs.
  5. The top position is when your chest comes near your knees.
  6. Hold that position for a second and reverse the motion to go to the starting position.

4. Decline Mountain Climber

The decline mountain climber will target your triceps, chest muscles, shoulder muscles, serratus anterior, leg muscles, and all your abdominal muscles.

How to Perform a Decline Mountain Climber

  1. Assume a push-up starting position on the floor with your legs straight and feet on the weight bench.
  2. Your hands are shoulder-width apart, and all body parts are in the same line.
  3. Start the exercise by lifting your right foot off the weight bench and slowly draw your right knee toward your chest.
  4. Reverse the motion by bringing your right leg into the starting position (both legs straight) and repeat the same process with your opposite knee.
  5. Decline mountain climbers are done on time, and a good place to start is 30 seconds.

5. Jackknife

A person doing jackknife situps

Jackknifes (variation of sit-ups) is an excellent ab exercise targeting both the upper and lower abs.

Jackknife will also promote dynamic stretching to your tight hamstring muscles [2].

How to Perform Jackknifes

  1. Assume a lying position on your back with your hands extended above your head and feet close to each other.
  2. Start the exercise by lifting your upper body and lower body at the same time.
  3. The top position is at 90 degrees to the floor, and that is where your hands and legs are going to meet.
  4. Hold the top position for one second and reverse the motion by bringing your upper and lower bodies to the floor.

"In addition to strengthening the abdominals, a jack knife provides a stretch for the back and shoulders. It requires spinal articulation (carefully rolling the spine up and down), which improves flexibility and posture—essential for the health of your back. Pilates also recommended rolling exercises like this one to improve circulation and even sleep."

- Kristin McGee, Certified Personal Trainer & Teacher of Yoga & Meditation for Peloton


Can Bench Press Get You Abs?

No, bench press can’t get you abs. To get abs, you must do exercises that build your ab musculature and choose a proper diet to support your workout regime.

Which Ab Workout Is the Most Effective?

The most effective ab workout is the combination of ab flexion, anti-flexion, lateral flexion, lateral anti-flexion, rotation, and anti-rotation. Pick some exercises from each category to build well-rounded, visible core muscles.

What Are the Top 3 Exercises for Abs?

The top three exercises for abs are ab crunches, leg raises, and jackknifes. These exercises will build your ab musculature, but you should include anti-flexion exercises like a plank to make your core more functional.


  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/core-conditioning-its-not-just-about-abs
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23412177/
Was this article helpful?

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *