People always ask, “What are the best ab exercises?”
The following 5 ab exercises have been consistently found to engage, strengthen, and tone the abs better than any other. As in all of these exercises, the most important key is to engage, or contract your abs all the way through the movement. Contract your abs by squeezing or drawing in your belly button to your spine. Doing this for every exercise will allow you to deliver the most tension to your abs.
Note: If you are a hardgainer and are trying to gain weight, which you should be, it is going to be very difficult to lose fat at the same time. You shouldn’t worry about that now. Worry about getting your weight up to your desired goal (say, 185 lbs) and then cutting off 5 lbs or so of body fat. You should incorporate abs at the end of your workouts.
Bicycle Ab Crunch
Lie flat with your feet in front of you with your hands behind your head. Contract your abs.
Bring one knee up to a 45 degree angle while the other is extended, as if you were peddling a bicycle. Touch your right elbow to your left knee, and alternate.
You can can change up the movement and get a different burn by raising your legs higher, or sit up higher and lower your legs, as if you were pedalling downhill. Move at a moderate pace. Make sure not to pull your head towards your knees.
Captain’s Chair/Roman Ab Crunch
Step up on footsteps and stabilize your back against the back pad. Grip the handles. Contract your abs.
Lift your knees in toward your chest. If you want you can change up this motion with your knees pointed left and then right to work your obliques more. This is also good for the hip flexors.
Alternatively, you can keep your legs straight with a slight bend in the knees and use the same motion. Try holding the position longer to feel a better burn. This exercise also works your lower back as well.
Exercise Ball Crunch
With your lower to mid-back firmly against the exercise ball and your feet on the floor, inhale, contract your abs, and slowly crunch up, keeping your abs firm the entire time. Your hands may be held against the back of your head or at your side.
As you begin your movement upwards, remember to not pull your head up. Keep your knees in line with your waist to stabilize your hips, pelvis, and lower back.
Alternate crunching from side to side to work more of the obliques.
Vertical Leg Crunch
Have your knees slightly bent and legs straight up in the air. Cross your legs if at the ankles if you like.
Take your fingers, point them straight up, and crunch up toward your toes, making sure to contracts your abs while not pulling your head up.
Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Alternately, you can perform this exercise on a bench and grab the back of the bench as you crunch up.
Put your arms at your side with you palms facing the floor or behind your head.
Lift your feet off the ground. With your hips flexed at a 90 degree angle, lift your butt off the floor and bring your knees in towards your chest, contracting your abs as you do.
This exercise can also be performed with an exercise ball or medicine ball between your thighs. This helps keep the tension on your abs and
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