My Top Nine Favorite Ab Exercises

One of the first things I noticed when I started taking pole classes was that it seemed like everyone there had impossibly strong abs. Pole requires a lot of core, so this makes a lot of sense. I’ve compiled my nine favorite abs exercises (other than just dancing) below. Please use common sense if you try these- for example, don’t plunge your head towards the floor until you are sure that you can hold on and not land on the floor.

  1. Chair figure 8’s. Sit on a folding chair, facing the back of the chair. Throw your legs over the back of the chair. Extend your arms like you are holding a giant beach ball. Move your hands in a figure eight position.
  2. Pole Sit-Ups. Climb one or two times up the pole. Drop into a waterfall and bring your upper body up like a sit-up. Repeat.
  3. Pole obliques. Stand to the side of the pole and grab on with the knee that’s closest to the pole. Lean away from the pole, as far as you can without leaning forwards or backwards. Pull your body back upright. Repeat. Repeat on other side for the same number of reps.
  4. Wheelbarrow kicks. Lay down on your back. Lift both legs behind your head and hold for a minute because it feels good to do that. Then actually start the workout by lifting your legs straight into the air, trying to make a straight line between your shoulders, hips, and ankles.
  5. Press up headstands. Facing the pole or a wall, clasp your hands together and make your forearms into a triangle shape. Place your head on your forearms. Straddle your legs to the sides, and slowly lift them up to the wall or pole. Do not kick. Lower and repeat. (As a side note, remember when I wrote about trying to do a press up headstand? This video is of me doing one! Not necessarily with straight legs and perfect form, but still!
  6. Planks. Simple and effective.
  7. Ab roller. An ab roller is a wheel with handles on either side of it. You get on your knees, hold the handles, and roll the wheel until it is extended in front of you and then bring it back.
  8. Ankles to Bar. Hold onto a pull-up bar. Lift your ankles to the bar and lower. Repeat.
  9. Shoulder mount Around the World. Go into a shoulder mount. Hold the shoulder mount and make a giant circle with your legs. If you can do it once, try to repeat it. This one is still a work in progress for me.
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  1. I’ve been really focusing on using strength vs. momentum in the press up handstands. Great post!


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