The Best Isometric Ab exercises to Build Strong Core

The isometric ab exercises are the safest and the effective way to develop a strong and sturdy core.

Moreover, they strengthen and tone core muscles, improve hip mobility, enhance endurance, help you build six-pack abs, and may flatten your abdominal muscles.

So if you workout at home, you can include the below isometric abs exercises in your overall workout regime.

Related: 10-Minute Abs Workout That Requires No Equipment

The Top 8 Isometric Ab Exercises to Do at Home

1. Bilateral Lying Leg Raise Isometric Hold

The leg raises isometric hold is proven to be one of the most effective exercises for the core muscles.

In a study, a total of 18 healthy, physically active females completed three different abs exercise such as the plank, bilateral leg raise, and unilateral leg raise. The result showed that the bilateral leg raise exercise showed significantly greater activation in the abdominal muscles compared to the plank exercise.

Best Isometric Ab Exercises

How to do a both leg raise isometric hold

  • Lie on your back on the floor with your legs are straight in the horizontal position.
  • Put your hands just below your buttock so your pelvis is supported.
  • Raise your legs toward the ceiling until they are in the vertical position (or until your hips are fully flexed).
  • Squeeze your abs in the same position for 10 to 15 seconds and then return your leg to the start.
  • Repeat two to three times.

2. Forearm Plank Hold

The plank is one of the universal exercises for strengthening crucial core muscles. It activates nearly all the core muscles at once without extra movements. With just 15 seconds to 2-minute plank every day help you strengthen your core rapidly.

Best Isometric Abs Exercises
Image by Freepik

How to do the plank hold

  • Get into a regular push-up position with your body is straight from top to the bottom.
  • Bend your elbows and place your forearms on the ground, so your trunk supported on them.
  • Keep your legs straight and feet together behind you. That’s the start.
  • Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, hold in this position for as long as you can endure, and then take rest.
  • Repeat two to three times.

Tips: If you feel difficult, you can try high plank variation i.e. keep your arms straight instead of bending your elbows. And if you make it more advance, lift your one leg off the floor.

3. Side Plank Hold

The side plank primarily strengthens the oblique. For a stronger core, strengthening the oblique muscle is as important as strengthening the rectus abdominish.

How to

  • Lie on your right side, place your right forearm on the ground underneath your shoulder, and keep your legs straight in a stacked position.
  • Keep your left arm on your side, lift your hips off the floor and maintain a straight torso. That’s your start.
  • Engaging your core muscles, hold in the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Once you complete the left side, switch to the other side and hold for the same amount of time.
  • Repeat twice on both sides.

4. V sit hold

V-ups is one of the advance bodyweight abs workout and to perform this move, you should already have strong core. It is tough but also effective and help you build 6 pack abs faster.

It is complete core workout because it works on the entire core muscles such as obliques, rectus abdominish and hips.  

How to perform V sit hold

  • Lie on the floor on your back with your legs are straight in front of you and your feet together.
  • Lift your legs off the ground and hold them to 45 degrees (approx.) angle with your torso.
  • Now, with your core engaged, slightly lift your torso off the floor and bring your arms straight forward so your body forms a V shape.
  • Hold in the V-up position for as long as you can and then return to the normal position.
  • Maintain a strong core and neutral spine position throughout the hold.
  • Challenge yourself and try to hold for longer duration.

5. Bird-Dog isometric Hold

Bird-dog is basically a part of yoga training. It works on the important part of the body; core and lower back.

The bird dog exercise will strengthen your core, hips, and lower back muscle. It also improves balance, posture, hip mobility, and range of motion.

Including this move in your isometric ab exercises list can be efficient for your fitness goal.

Isometric Abs workout
Isometric ab workout

How to do bird dog isometric hold

  • Get on your all fours with your arms are underneath your shoulders and knees below your hips.
  • Brace your core and keep your back as flat as possible.
  • Keeping your shoulders and hips in the neutral position, raise your left arm straight In front of you and your right leg straight behind you until they are parallel to the floor. Your eyes should be looking downward.
  • Hold in this position for 10 to 15 seconds and make sure your core is engaged throughout the movement. Once is completed on one side, switch to another, and repeat twice.

6. Tabletop Hold

If you’re a beginner, the table top crunch isometric hold is for you. It is safe and effective way to strengthen and stabilize your core. This exercise is also known as dead bug hold.

Isometric Exercises for Abs
Isometric Exercises for Abs
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  • Get on your all fours, with your arms are under your shoulder and knees below your hips.
  • Keep your arms straight, core tight, and lift your knees four to five inches off the ground.  
  • Hold in this position for 15 seconds and then return to the start.  
  • Do two to three times.

Isometric Exercises for Ab to at the Gym

9. Hanging L-shape Hold

Once you easily do the above exercises, challenge yourself with some advance isometric abs exercises. The hanging L-shape hold is one of the great workout that not only strengthen your core but also works on entire body.

To do this exercise, you need access of a pull-up bar or something where you can hang.

How to do hang L-shape hold

  • Hang onto the pull-up bar with your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Raise your legs until they are parallel to the ground so your body forms an L shape.
  • Keeping your core engaged, hold in the position for 10 to 20 seconds, and then lower your legs to the start.
  • Do it two to three times.
  • You can also do this L-hang hold on the parallel bar.

10. Cable Crunch Hold

If you have gym subscription, then you’ll have option to do resistance isometric exercise for ab and the cable crunch hold can be effective for building strong abs.

Here’s how to do cable crunch hold:

  • Attach the rope to the cable machine to the upper section.
  • Stand on your knees in front of the machine, and grab the rope firmly.  
  • Pull the rope toward your stomach so your abs fully engaged.
  • Hold in this position for up to 15 seconds and then return to the start.
  • Make sure to keep your core tight throughout the entire movement.
  • Repeat for the desired number of sets.

11. Ab wheel Rolling Isometric Hold

The ab wheel rollout is a complete core workout that helps you build six pack abs. If you work out in the gym, you can do include this movement in your isometric ab exercises.

How to do rollout isometric hold

  • Get on your knees and hold the handles of the ab wheel roller.
  • Keeping your knees on the floor, brace your core, and roll the roller until your abs are stretch.
  • Hold in this position for up to 10 seconds and then return to the start.
  • Repeat as many times as you like.

Do Isometric Exercises Build Six-pack Abs?

Yes, the isometric ab exercises can build six-pack abs if you’ll be consistent. However, the results depend on person to person. People with low body fats can have visible abs in less time compared to people with a high body fat percentage.

The isometric exercises challenge your ab muscles to remain tight in a static position. And as a result, your ab muscles fully activate and engaged during the entire hold.

Although, the body fat percentage is crucial for having visible six-pack abs. If your body fat percentage is high, then you need to lower it down first. And it is possible only with a proper calorie management program or calorie deficit diet.

Isometric Ab Exercises Home Routine

  1. Lying Leg Raise Isometric Hold
    • 15 seconds hold
    • 2 sets
    • 30 seconds rest
  2. Forearm Plank Hold
    • 30 seconds hold
    • 15 seconds rest
    • 2 sets
  3. Side Plank Hold
    • 30 seconds hold
    • 15 seconds rest
    • Both side
  4. V Sit Hold
    • 10 seconds hold
    • 2 sets
    • 20 seconds rest
  5. Bird-Dog Isometric Hold
    • 15 seconds hold
    • 2 sets
    • 20 seconds rest
  6. Tabletop Hold
    • 15 seconds hold
    • 2 sets
    • 30 seconds rest
  7. Rotational One Leg Toe Touch Hold
    • 10 seconds hold
    • Both side
  8. Crouch Hover Plank Hold
    1. 15 seconds hold
    2. 30 seconds rest
    3. 2 sets


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