Will Running Give You Abs?

Will Running Give You Abs? Running is a cardio exercise that helps you shed excess fat while strengthening your muscles.

It’s a potent way to get fit and exercise your calves, hamstrings, and quads while increasing your overall endurance and improving heart health.

But what about your core muscles? Will running give you abs? We’ve answered this question in the following article, so keep on reading.

Will Running Give You Abs?

Before answering this question, you need to understand what getting abs means. Abs refers to the abdominal muscles that make up your abdominal wall.

And getting abs means reducing the abdominal fat in this area to make your muscles look more defined, eventually creating a ripped and fit look.

When you run properly after warming up the muscles and getting them ready for the exercise, you actually train your abs to support your body.

Eventually, these muscles will grow in size with regular exercise.

Running also improves the overall blood circulation and burns the excess fats to provide your body with enough fuel to support the movement of the muscles.

This fat is accumulated in different parts of your body, including your abdomen and around the waistline.

In addition, running strengthens all your core muscles, including your back, hips, and abdominal muscles.

When you run regularly, your core muscles will be less prone to injury, and you can increase your pace or distance.

When all these factors combine, your abs become more toned and visible. So although running doesn’t directly target your abs, it will definitely make them more defined.

Are Strong Abs Important for Runners?

Strong abs are essential for runners and all athletes for various reasons.

First of all, stronger muscles work harder, so they need more energy. As a result, your body burns more calories to keep them working.

Moreover, as your abs grow bigger, your muscle mass increases. People with higher weights burn more calories while running, so your overall fitness level will increase.

Strong abs and core muscles support your body better. As a result, you’ll be less prone to injuries that can affect your running routine.

Will Running Give You Abs? How to Get Abs Through Running

Will Running Give You Abs:woman with abs

When you run, your core muscles become stronger to support your weight and reduce the impact on your joints.

You also burn the fats that accumulate in front of and behind the abs, so they’ll appear more defined.

However, specific types of running can help you achieve this result faster.

These running techniques allow you to focus on your abs more than regular running methods.

  • Incorporating interval running is an excellent way to burn more fats and make your abs more visible. This training technique involves accelerating for a short period, followed by a recovery period where you run at a comfortable pace.
  • Interval running burns more fats than regular running at a steady pace because it pushes your body to the limit. Moreover, after you’re done exercising, your body burns more calories while you’re resting.
  • Raising up your knees while running will definitely strengthen your abs and make them look more defined. As you push your knee higher, you’ll be contracting your abs and moving them, eventually targeting the fats that accumulate in this area.
  • Going up a hill while running will push you to contract your abs. With every step, you’ll be targeting a different muscle group, so your running will be more beneficial.
  • Combining running with other exercises that target the abs will lead to the best results. Running will improve your endurance and stamina, while a specific exercise that targets the abs will help tone those muscles.

Which Exercises Will Give You the Best Abs?

It’s safe to say that getting toned abs isn’t the main purpose of running, but it’s definitely a desirable side effect. Your overall body gets toned, and all your muscles increase in size as you go running every day.

However, if getting a ripped look is your main target, you can opt for other exercises that focus mainly on working the abs.

You can practice these exercises alone, combined, or add them to your current running regimen to keep all your muscles in the best shape.

Remember, however, that eating at a calorie deficit is essential to get stronger and more defined abs.

You need to focus on proteins, fibers, and carbs while cutting down on sugars and fats to achieve this desirable look in a few months.


Crunches are the go-to exercises for those who like to build and tone their abs. They’re easy and beginner-friendly, and you can practice them wherever you like.

You can simply lie on your back with your feet on the floor and knees bent while supporting your head with your hands.

As you bend to the front, you’ll actually feel your abs contracting and tensioning, which also helps burn the fats that accumulate around the waist area.

The movement should come from the core and not from the neck. You should focus on a slow and controlled movement because a rapid movement won’t deliver the desired effect.

You can also make the exercise a little bit harder by lifting your feet in the air and keeping your knees at a 90-degree, while pulling them close as you exercise.

Doing crunches is a sure way to tone your abdomen, but it’s not for everyone. For example, if you suffer from a back or neck injury, crunches might not be right for you.

As a result, they’re potentially unsafe for older adults who are most likely to suffer from back problems.

You should also understand that crunches don’t work all your muscles, as they only target your abs.

So, they should be part of a complete workout regimen that targets different muscle groups and not done on their own.


Will Running Give You Abs:male & female doing plank

Planks engage your core muscles, including your abs, and target different muscle groups at the same time.

There are several ways to execute planks successfully, and the easiest and most common one of them is lying on the floor face down while supporting your upper body with your forearms.

Next, you need to contract your butt to lift your torso without arching your back.

As you hold this position for a few seconds, you’ll be focusing on the core muscles that are usually more challenging to target. You can increase the exercise’s duration as you gain more power and endurance.

Overdoing this exercise can cause chronic inflammation in the intercostal muscles between the ribs and the pectoral muscles in the chest. Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to overdo this exercise, which can be as bad as not exercising enough.

Bicycle Crunches

Doing bicycling crunches or maneuvers can be an alternative form of doing crunches. You need to lie on your back and bring your knees up at 45 degrees.

Keep your hands behind your head but don’t lift them up and start a pedaling motion.

While maintaining a slow pedaling motion, you need to touch your right knee with your left elbow and touch your left knee with your right elbow.

The goal is to go slow and steady while breathing slowly to target the right muscle group.

This exercise can work for you if you don’t suffer from back or knee injuries. However, this is why it’s not usually suitable for older people.

Dumbbells Side Bend

Using nothing but a single medium-weight dumbbell, you can target your abs from the front and sides to make them stronger and more toned.

This exercise requires you to stand with your feet hip-width and hold a dumbbell in your right hand.

Keep your back straight and activate your core muscles to bend to the side as far as you can while keeping your knees straight.

After that, return to your starting position and repeat for 10 to 20 reps per one set, depending on how you progress.

Your goal isn’t to use the heaviest weight but to have some resistance to engage your muscles.

In some cases, this exercise might not be suitable for you, especially if you suffer from lower back pain or have had spinal fusion surgery.


Doing a bridge or a hip raise engages the glutes as well as the hips and abs.

You don’t need any equipment as you simply sleep on the floor with your back flat while resting your hands beside you.

Then you bend your knees and start contracting your buttocks to lift your hips while supporting your body using your hands.

As you squeeze your belly to lift your hips, you’ll be targeting your core and ab muscles.

It can definitely improve your overall stamina and endurance because this exercise targets different muscle groups.

You can make this exercise more variable by keeping your legs straight.

In this case, you’ll have to use an exercise ball. However, you should be careful while doing this exercise, as raising your hips too high can lead to a painful injury.

If you’re pregnant or have just delivered a baby, you should avoid this exercise. It should also be avoided if you’ve recently had a surgery that involves your back, hips, or pelvis.


man doing L sits

An L-Sit is a fundamental exercise that relies on your bodyweight to build resistance and strengthen your core and ab muscles.

In addition to working your abs, the L-sit exercise targets multiple muscles like your obliques, quads, hip flexors, shoulders, and triceps.

This exercise holds and strengthens the muscles without stretching or lengthening them. As a result, it’s an excellent exercise if you suffer from a spine injury or lower back pain.

You can do an L-sit exercise while you’re sitting on the floor or using dip bars. You can also use two benches of the same height to support your body.

To do this exercise, set up your equipment, so your benches or rails are a little narrower than your shoulder width.

Place them on each side of your body, lower your arms, and pull your shoulder blades to lift your body. Keep your legs together and lift them off the floor until they’re in front of you.

Hold this position while keeping your knees straight, and then return to the starting position. You can try to maintain this position for 10 seconds and then work your way up to 30 seconds.

To avoid injury, you need to lock your elbows to the sides. You should also keep your back straight to engage the right muscles.

Will Running Give You Abs? Final Thoughts

Running doesn’t primarily target your abs, but when you run, all your muscles become stronger.

You can practice interval running if you want to engage your abs or lift your knees up to tone them.

There are other exercises that mainly target this muscle group. Incorporating them into your running routine will help you achieve your fitness goals.