This is ab work’s best multi-tasker, targeting upper abs, obliques and lower abs.

Hanging reverse crunch - Women's Health & Fitness

RATIONALE: As well as causing contractions in all midsection zones – not just the ones you’ll hit with crunches – activating more muscles at once burns more calories per minute. How’s that for value?

TERMS OF USE: Aim for four–five sets of 12–15 reps, with 45 seconds rest between sets. Cap this workout at three times a week, avoiding consecutive days, to let your abs recover. Spend the rest of the time cleaning up your diet – abs really are made in the kitchen!

ARSENAL: A bar. Use a chin-up bar at the gym or park, or use the monkey bars at your local playground.


1. Hold the bar with a shoulder-width underhand grip.

2. Draw your navel into your spine and pull both knees up to your chest.

3. Minimise the amount of swinging by controlling the movement and centralising it in your abs.

UP THE ANTE: Add variety with the grip you use and throw in a few side-to-side movements, rather than all forward.

Want to lose weight? Use our handy online calculator to find out your BMI and ideal weight, then choose a workout plan.