The Top 11 CrossFit Ab Workouts

We all have the same story.

We were flipping through ESPN 3 (or 4, or “U” or whatever) at 4AM and saw a bunch of ripped, good-looking people doing ridiculous-looking pull-ups and other odd exercises.

We didn’t care so much for the exercises, the commentary, or for the infomercials that occupy this time slot, but we did care about the athletes’ abs.

They all had abs and they all looked like something from out of 300.

And we wanted them!

So, the story about how you got into CrossFit may not be exactly the same, but the prospect of developing insane abs was probably near the top of the list. Of course we all know that “abs are built in the kitchen”, but it couldn’t hurt to accelerate this growth by performing one of the top CrossFit ab workouts, right?

Lucky for you, I got 11 for you to choose from today. I can already hear those six packs rippin’!

The Top 11 CrossFit Ab Workouts

2023 CrossFit Games Quarterfinals WOD 4

May as well start with a workout that is both a heck of an ab workout (good luck with all of those GHD sit-ups and V-ups!) as well as being a workout that courted a bit of controversy. Are V-ups really that hard to get right?

Maybe they are that hard, after all! At least make sure you get your row calories and flow correct on this one!

2017 Rider’s Throwdown WOD 2

Most wouldn’t consider Diane (which the second half of this workout essentially is) to be lumped in with Crossfit Ab workouts, persay.

…but take a look at the first part of this one…45 GHD sit-ups to get your core nice and primed before the deadlifts and other fun begins.

You’ll never look at one the top “Girls of CrossFit” WODs the same again after this one!

Jorge

155 pounds is, at least for me, when I have to start thinking about my squat cleans a bit more. I actually need to start bracing when it gets this heavy (as laughable as that sounds!)

Considering that there are 45 reps of these in this one, you could say it requires quite a bit of bracing.

…then throw in 90 GHD sit-ups!

Abs…engaged!

Mr. Joshua

A lot of GHD sit-ups.

A lot of deadlifts

There really isn’t much else to say. This one is an ab and core killer!

Mat Fraser’s Hardest WOD

While 180 GHD sit-ups is a lot for any CrossFit workout, the hard part of this one is keeping that pace up for 20 minutes. I mean, getting through 24 calories on the Assault Bike in a minute under any non-sprint circumstances is hard enough, but to do it ten times over the span of 20 minutes…

…when you finish this one the GHD sit-ups might actually feel like the least of your worries. One of the all time great Assault Bike workouts, “hard” CrossFit workouts, and CrossFit ab workouts.

ACFT Plank Test

Yeah, we’re going a little bit outside of the box on this one, but anyone who has really given it there all on a max effort/time plank can empathize with this one. This one quickly goes from a “this is sort of boring, time is moving slow” to “oh gosh, every second feels like my stomach is going to implode, it hurts so bad, make it stop!”

If you can rock out yuge sets of toes-to-bars and GHD sit-ups and have been sleeping on your plank…give this one a try.

…and prepare to be humbled.

Awful Annie

Yeah, “regular” Annie sure has a lot of abmat sit-ups. There aren’t many who would doubt that it has earned its spot on the list of the top CrossFit ab workouts.

…but Awful Annie, though…zero doubt about this one!

Between the 150 GHD sit-ups and heavy cleans, your core doesn’t really have a second to rest. I guess this is why it was specially designed to be a part of the “pre” 2020 CrossFit Games workouts.

Michael

I’ve seen this one programmed with GHD sit-ups, but this old school hero workout is a good enough CrossFit ab workout by itself.

There is a surprising amount of core/ab engagement going on during the back extensions that by rep 30 or so of each set of sit-ups, you feel really happy that you’re not doing GHDs.

…and if you decided that you were going to be cool and tough and perform GHD sit-ups anyways…good luck come round 2!

2021 CrossFit Games Quarterfinals WOD 2

crossfit ab workouts

If you were “lucky” enough to make it to the QFs back in 2021, you were probably pretty happy to see a somewhat manageable first quarterfinal workout.

…and then you got hit with this one…yeesh.

To be honest, as hard as the GHD sit-ups are here, the sheer number of pistols and rope climbs might be even more difficult aspects of the workout.

If you decide to take this one on, just keep telling yourself “it’s only 4 rounds…it’s only 4 rounds!”

Barbara

Another one of our favorite CrossFit Girls, you get to do a lot of sit-ups in this one.

This is good…but not quite good enough by itself to classify it as one of the top CrossFit ab workouts.

Now, consider that you have 3 whole minutes of rest each round! Whatever pace your were thinking of performing those sit-ups…better kick it into overdrive.

AB – GHD

You know, I just thought about how we can affectionately refer to this one as “Mat Fraser’s Hardest Workout – Lite”.

Same Assault Bike-GHD sit-up combo, but with no time crisis and the ability to do the reps at your own pace.

…but 150 GHDs and 150 Assault Bike calories are…still hard. Plus, consider that this is the “lite” version of what the 5-time CrossFit Games champion thinks is the hardest workout…

(lite = will annihilate 95 percent of people!)

Do the 6-Pack Training…but Beware the 6-Pack Training

I know you didn’t just perform all 11 of these back-to-back (and if you did, please stop reading now and go secure some endorsements for having the world’s best 6-pack or whatever). However, even before performing one of these, remember that ab cramping is real.

…and it can be really embarassing.

On my last day of training at the old CrossFit B’Bros location, I went a little too hard on my ab session and started experiencing serious muscle cramping. After flailing around on the floor for a minute or two, I started to compose myself just as the reigning CrossFit Games champion stepped by, politely asking if I was okay.

Learn from me: don’t go too hard on these CrossFit ab workouts. The reps have a sneaky way of catching up to you and you never know when elite CrossFitters may be in the vicinity!

You worked your abs and now you’re ready to run (anything to avoid counting your macros, I’m sure)? Check out our list of the top 22 CrossFit running workouts!

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AUTHOR

Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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