8 CrossFit Abs Workouts (Chisel Your Midsection in Minutes)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: January 15, 2024
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When it comes to core strength, CrossFit can help you get significant results by combining dynamic movements with heavy weights.

As a professional fitness coach, I have come across some of the best CrossFit ab exercises that have yielded incredible results for my clients.

So, I have compiled a list of these exercises for you.

Let's dive right in.

Quick Summary

  • The best CrossFit ab workouts include the sit-up, toes-to-bar, plank hold, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climber, burpee, and hollow rock.
  • CrossFit ab workouts can help you increase aerobic capacity and strength, build endurance, and gain flexibility.
  • According to PubMed and WebMD, CrossFit exercises are proven to improve VO2 max in men and women, which means better physical fitness.
  • CrossFit exercises offer functional and varied movements that will help you stay motivated and avoid plateaus.

8 Best CrossFit Abs Workouts

Doing bicycle crunch crossfit ab workout

Based on years of observation and experience, I've found that these eight CrossFit exercises can help you build incredible ab strength.

1. Plank Holds

Plank holds are both my favorite and least favorite exercise for two reasons.

Firstly, they're very painful (in a good way).

Secondly, push through the pain, and you'll see amazing results in a matter of weeks.

Here's how you perform this exercise:

  1. Get into a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend the elbows and drop to the forearms.
  3. Keep your abs contracted and hold this position for as long as you can.

2. Toes to Bars

Man pulling his toes to bars

I recommend this exercise to seasoned lifters only. Beginners tend to have a challenging time with this exercise and are better off sticking to planks or crunches.

Here's how you do the toes-to-bar:

  1. Hang on a pull-up bar to hold your entire body weight with a pronated grip.
  2. Point your toes, lock out your legs, and then raise them toward the bar using your abs and hip flexors.
  3. While engaging the core and lats, continue raising your legs past an L-sit position until your feet meet your hands at the top of the bar.
  4. Lower your legs back down in a slow and controlled manner to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for reps.

3. Sit-ups

Sit-ups are a classic exercise and they are one of my favorites because you can do them virtually anywhere.

Here's how you do them:

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms behind your ears.
  2. Slowly raise your upper body to a sitting position. Avoid tugging on your neck to get up.
  3. Pause for three seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for reps.

“If you only take one precaution seriously, let it be this one. Keep your neck in a neutral position and in line with your spine during sit-ups to avoid injury.”
- Amanda Capritto, Health Writer

4. Russian Twists

Holding a ball to do russian twists

I owe my oblique strength and definition to Russian twists.

I highly recommend this exercise for athletes to help build balance and strength in their core.

Here's how you perform a Russian twist:

  1. Sit on a quality exercise mat, your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Tilt backward and lift your feet off the floor at about 45 degrees.
  3. Turn your torso to the right while engaging your core and keeping a neutral spine.
  4. Switch your torso to the left. Keep your legs as still as possible when you are twisting.
  5. Repeat for reps.

5. Leg Raises

Leg raises are a simple exercise, but I wouldn't underestimate their efficacy.

They're a test of core strength and lower back flexibility — both of which are a requirement in most sports.

Here's how you do this exercise:

  1. Lay on your back with your hands near the glutes and legs extended.
  2. Lift your legs off the floor to the state when they are straight above the hips.
  3. Pause for three seconds while squeezing your abs before slowly lowering the legs halfway.
  4. Repeat for reps.

6. Mountain Climbers

A person doing mountain climbers indoors

I remember how my gym teacher in high school used this exercise as a punishment for goofing around in class.

This movement not only builds your core, legs, and arms but also doubles as a great cardio option, especially HIIT.

Here's how you do them:

  1. Get into a plank position with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  2. Bring your right knee toward your torso without lifting your hips.
  3. Quickly alternate to the other leg while squeezing your ab muscles.
  4. Repeat for reps.

7. Hollow Rocks

The hollow rock, or as I call it, the Plank's cousin, is a great exercise for building core strength.

I find doing them before the barbell squat, bench press, deadlift, or overhead press especially helpful because they strengthen the muscles around the spine, making heavy compound movements more stable.

Here's how you perform a hollow rock:

  1. Lay on a mat in a supine position with your arms up to your ears and your legs straight.
  2. Raise your legs and arms off the floor while engaging your ab muscles.
  3. Maintain this position for three seconds before returning to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for reps.

“Don’t fall into the trap of tucking your chin to your chest. Not only does this take the neck out of neutral alignment and increase the risk of neck strain, but it also reduces the tension on your core muscles.”
- Sara Lindberg, Fitness Expert

8. Burpees

A woman doing burpees

Burpees are one of my favorite bodyweight compound movements, only second to bodyweight squats.

They're an incredible calorie burner, especially when done at the end of a HIIT workout.

Here's how you do them:

  1. Stand with your shoulders hip-width apart.
  2. Lower your body into a squat position.
  3. Hop up and land into a squat while keeping your chest open.
  4. Get into a plank position while keeping a straight line from your head to your heels.
  5. Jump your feet back on the outsides of your elbows so that your knees track over your toes.
  6. Repeat for reps.

What Are the Benefits of CrossFit Abs Workout?

Doing crossfit exercises together

The benefits of CrossFit abs are increased maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max), strength, endurance, and flexibility.

  • Increased VO2 max: According to PubMed and WebMD, CrossFit exercises are proven to improve VO2 max in men and women, which means better physical fitness [1] [2].
  • Improved strength and endurance: CrossFit ab workouts are designed to give you a strong core, which will help you perform essential exercises more efficiently, increase your lifting power, stabilize your body, and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Improved body composition: A CrossFit abs workout can help you build muscle and burn calories [3].
  • Reduced back pain: CrossFit ab workouts will strengthen your core, which is essential for good posture and reducing constant tension in your lower back.
  • Boosted mental health: CrossFit workouts can positively influence motivational factors and a sense of community [4] [5].
  • Improved physical appearance: The CrossFit abs workout will help you look great aesthetically by helping you build muscle and reduce fat.

Related: CrossFit Bodyweight Workouts


What Are the Best CrossFit Ab Exercises?

The best CrossFit ab exercises are hallow holds, Russian twists, burpees, mountain climbers, leg raises, plank holds, toes to bars, sit-ups, and the Glute Ham Developer (GHD).

Is CrossFit Good For Abs?

Yes, CrossFit is good for abs; due to using functional and challenging movements, this form of training will allow you to efficiently target your core muscles.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23439334/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/what-to-know-about-vo2-max
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7473349/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27167711/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5526209/
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
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Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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