ab exercises

Achieve Your Dream Midsection: The 21 Must-Try Ab Exercises

A strong core is the foundation of a physically fit and healthy body. It not only improves your stability and stance, but it also lowers the chance of injury and makes it easier to participate in a wide variety of physically active sports. According to the findings of the American Council on Exercise, the most popular target area for development and strengthening is the rectus abdominis, sometimes known as the “six-pack muscle.”

There is a vast selection of ab exercise that target the abdominal region, and it may be difficult to choose the most effective ones. Because of this, we have compiled a list of the top 20 ab exercises that can help you strengthen your core and help you shed weight around your midsection.

You will be able to get the most out of your core training if you understand the theory and outcomes behind these routines. Everyone, from exercise rookies to seasoned athletes, can benefit tremendously from the strengthening and toning of their abdominal muscles with the help of the exercises in this article.

1. Plank

Isometric exercise includes holding a plank position for an extended period of time. Because of this, they are fantastic for strengthening the abdominal muscles, which form the basis of a body that is strong, sturdy, and resilient.

How to Perform Plank Exercise

  • To begin in a push-up posture, place your hands so that they are immediately beneath your shoulders and your legs so that they are extended behind you.
  • Reduce your height until your upper arms are parallel to the ground, with your elbows bent to a right angle of ninety degrees, and your hands and forearms resting there.
  • Always make sure that your head, hips, and feet are aligned so that they form a straight line.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles and hold this position for ten to thirty seconds, varying according to your fitness level.
  • Come down to the ground and lie down there for a few moments to relax before doing it once more.

Also See: Lat Pulldown 101: The Key to a Strong and Defined Upper Back

2. Russian Twist

Russian Twist ab exercise
Photo: Gifs.com

Russian Twists improve abdominal and oblique muscles. Sitting on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat, hold a weight or medicine ball in front of your chest and twist your body. This move strengthens abdominal muscles and improves stability. An extra load or lifted legs can make this ab exercise harder. To avoid injury, exercise with proper form and control.

How to Perform Russian Twist

  • Start by sitting on the floor, knees bent, feet flat.
  • Both hands should hold the medicine ball or weight in front of the chest.
  • Lean backwards with a straight back and strong abs.
  • Rotate your upper body right and lower the weight or medicine ball to your right hip.
  • After stabilizing, rotate left, bringing the weight or medicine ball to the left hip.
  • Repeat this twisting motion as many times as you want with a strong core and straight back.
  • Extending your legs or lifting them off the ground makes the ab exercise harder.

3. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle Crunches ab exercise
Photo: GIPHY

When performing a set of bicycle crunches, you are working a variety of abdominal muscles, including the rectus abdominis (often known as the “six-pack muscle”), the obliques, and the hip flexors. Perform crunches on a bicycle in accordance with the following instructions:

How to Perform Bicycle Crunches

  • Put your hands behind your head and stretch your legs flat on the floor.
  • Raise your shoulders and draw your right knee toward your chest and your left leg straight out in front of you.
  • Twist to touch your left elbow to your right knee.
  • Bring your left knee to your chest and spin so your right elbow contacts your left thigh. Lower yourself and repeat on the other side.
  • Switch sides to finish your set.

Note: Relax with your head neutral and hands at your sides. Keep your back straight and prevent hunching or craning. Start with less repetitions and build up strength.

Also See: Lower Right Abdominal Pain: Causes, Diagnosed & Treatments

4. Leg Raises

Leg Raises ab exercise
Photo: Gfycat

Using only your own bodyweight, you may develop your lower abs, obliques, and hip flexors by performing an exercise in which you raise your legs toward your glutes. The following is the correct form for performing leg lifts:

How to perform Leg Raises

  • Lay on your back with your arms at your sides and extend both of your legs so that they are stretched out in front of you.
  • Raise your legs till they are parallel to the ground while maintaining the position in which your knees are together.
  • Bring both of your legs back to the starting position in a calm, controlled manner.
  • Carry out the procedure an unlimited number of times if you so like.

5. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a fantastic ab exercise for the cardiovascular system and train the entire body, particularly the legs, abdominals, and arms. The following are the instructions for climbers regarding their physical activity:

How to perform Mountain Climbers

  • Position your hands so that they are squarely under your shoulders, and your feet so that they are flat on the floor.
  • Quickly bring your right knee up to your chest, and then switch to your left knee shortly afterward.
  • Holding a plank position with your torso and arms in a straight line, quickly alternate bringing each knee to your chest. Keep your arms straight.
  • Continue moving forward either until the allotted quantity of repetitions has been accomplished or the time has run out.

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6. Hanging Leg Raises

The advanced abdominal ab exercise known as hanging leg lifts targets the rectus abdominis as well as the hip flexors to produce a strengthening effect. The following are some instructions on how to perform hanging leg lifts.

How to Perform Hanging Leg Raises

  • Find a sturdy horizontal bar or pull-up bar that is able to support your weight and use that.
  • You should grab the bar with an overhand grip, and your hands should be spaced somewhat further apart than shoulder-width apart.
  • While you are hanging from the bar, make sure that your arms and legs are extended in a straight line below you.
  • By contracting your abdominal muscles, you may bring your legs in a straight line up to your chest.
  • Bring your legs back to the beginning position in a careful manner.
  • Carry out the procedure an unlimited number of times if you so like.

7. Scissor Kicks

Scissor Kicks
Photo: Gfycat

Scissor kicks with your bodyweight work the rectus abdominis and hip flexors, which helps tone the lower abdominals. The following are the stages involved in performing a scissor kick:

How to Perform Scissor Kicks

  • While resting on your back with your knees bent slightly, give yourself a leg stretch by lifting your legs straight into the air.
  • You should move your right foot closer to the floor while keeping your left foot off of it.
  • In order to successfully complete this, you will need to switch your legs and lower your left knee to the floor while maintaining your right knee up.
  • You need to perform the motion while alternating your legs in order to get the correct number of repetitions.

8. Reverse Crunch

Reverse crunches using only your bodyweight target the hip flexors and rectus abdominis to build strength in the lower abs. Read the following passages to learn how to perform a reverse crunch:

How to Perform Reverse Crunch

  • While resting on your back with your knees bent slightly, give yourself a leg stretch by lifting your legs straight into the air.
  • While maintaining the position of your legs together, lift your hips off the ground and bring them in toward your chest using your abdominal muscles.
  • Invert the movement by gradually bringing your hips down until they are in the starting position again.
  • Carry out the procedure an unlimited number of times if you so like.

9. Side Plank

Side Plank
Photo: Gfycat

Planks on the sides strengthen the oblique muscles of the torso. It also helps to develop the core muscles, which include the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors. The side plank can be performed by following these steps in order:

How to Perform Side Plant

  • Put your right elbow under your right shoulder and your legs straight out in front.
  • Stack your feet and lift your hips. Hip-mounted left hand.
  • Release after 20–30 seconds. Do two or three sets per side.
  • Raising the top arm or stacking the top and bottom feet like a tripod makes the manoeuvre harder.

10. Vertical Leg Crunch

The Vertical Leg Crunch strengthens the “six-pack muscle” when done properly. This harder crunch is done on your back using your legs as resistance.

How to Perform Vertical Leg Crunch

  • Start by lying on your back with your legs overhead and your hands behind your head.
  • Contract your abs and slowly lift your upper body to your knees.
  • Lower your upper body but keep your legs up.
  • 12-15 repetitions, 2–3 sets.

11. Flutter Kicks

Flutter Kicks
Photo: Pinterest

The rectus abdominis, also known as the “six-pack muscle,” can be effectively strengthened by performing traditional flutter kicks. This ab exercise targets the abdominal muscles by having the participant kick the ground in a short, explosive action while lying on their back. The goal of the ab exercise is to strengthen the abdominal muscles.

How to Perform Flutter Kicks

  • To begin, it is recommended to lay on one’s back with one’s hands put below the lower back for support. This position is called the “back rest.”
  • Raise both of your legs off the ground and start kicking your feet in a rapid, scissor-like motion with the first one.
  • Whenever you perform this ab exercise, make sure there is a gap of at least 6 inches between your shins and the floor.
  • Perform two or three sets, with each one lasting thirty to sixty seconds.

12. Twisted Mountain Climbers

Twisted mountain climbers work the abs, obliques, and hip flexors. For further challenge, this Mountain Climber twists.

How to Perform Twisted Mountain Climbers

  • Start a push-up with your hands beneath your shoulders and your body straight from your head to your heels.
  • Bend your knee to meet your elbow on the same side.
  • Switch legs and pull the opposite knee to the chest.
  • Repeat for 30-60 seconds. 2–3 sets.

13. Barbell Floor Wiper

The advanced barbell floor wiper works your lower back and oblique muscles, which run along your torso. This barbell ab exercise is great for challenging abs.

How to Perform the Barbell Floor Wiper:

  • Laying on your back with your feet together, hold a barbell overhead.
  • Raise your knees and walk toward the barbell with your arms at shoulder height.
  • Keep your legs straight as you progressively drop one side, then lift them back to centre and repeat on the other side.
  • 12-15 repetitions, 2–3 sets.

14. Medicine Ball Slam

High-intensity Medicine Ball Slams work the rectus abdominis, oblique muscles, and hip flexors. This medicine ball-resistance abdomen workout is harder.

How to Perform the Medicine Ball Slam:

  • First, stand shoulder-width apart with a medicine ball above your head.
  • Raise the ball high and hit it hard and fast.
  • After the ball bounces, catch it and slam again. 8-10 reps.
  • Do three to five sets.

15. Side Jackknife

The difficult Side Jackknife targets the oblique muscles on the sides of the body. Rotating your torso while pushing your knees and elbows together works your abs harder.

How to Perform Jackknife

  • To get started, lay on your side and extend one arm above your head while stretching out your legs as far as you comfortably can.
  • Put in a hurried effort to bring your legs and arm together, bringing your elbow to touch your knee as you do so.
  • Eight to ten repetitions should be made of returning to the beginning position.
  • It is recommended that you perform two or three sets on each side.

16. Dragon Flag

Dragon Flag, an advanced core ab exercise, targets the rectus abdominis, obliques, and lower back. This workout, which involves lifting and lowering the legs while keeping a straight torso position, is great for abs.

How to Perform Dragon Flag

  • Start by lying on your back with your legs up and arms behind your head.
  • Maintaining a straight line from head to toe, slowly lower your legs.
  • Raise your legs until they are parallel to the ground, then return to the beginning position while keeping your torso straight.
  • 2–3 sets of 8–10 repetitions.

17. Cocoon

Cocoon strengthens the rectus abdominis, obliques, and lower back. Holding their bodies in a balllike shape and raising their legs alternately works abs harder.

How to Perform Cocoon

  • Begin by rolling over onto your back with your knees bent and your arms wrapped around your legs. This is the starting position.
  • Maintain a foetal position with your arms encircling your bent knees and your legs lifted off the ground.
  • After keeping this stance for a few seconds, raise one leg at a time, starting with the lower leg.
  • Perform two to three sets, aiming for eight to ten reps per leg throughout each set.

18. Hollow Rocks

Hollow Rocks

Advanced abdominal exercises like Hollow Rocks improve the obliques, lower back, and rectus abdominis. Rocking in a hollow stance increases ab workout intensity.

How to Perform Hollow Rocks

  • To get started, locate a posture in which you are comfortable, such as lying on your back with your legs and arms outstretched.
  • Raise your body as well as your limbs off the floor and do a combination of arm forward and legs to chest at the same time.
  • You should hold this posture for a few seconds before commencing a rocking motion back and forth while maintaining your legs and arms off the floor. During this rocking action, you should keep your arms and legs off the floor.
  • Perform two to three sets, with 8 to 10 repetitions in each set.

19. Barbell Roll Outs

Barbell Rollouts are a challenging abdominal, oblique, and low back exercise for those with intermediate to expert strength training backgrounds. Rolling out with a barbell from a kneeling position is a terrific way to enhance the difficulty of an ab workout.

How to Perform Barber Roll Outs

  • The first thing you should do is get down on your knees on a mat and bring a barbell up in front of you.
  • Grab the barbell with both hands, but keep your arms at your sides for the entire exercise.
  • Roll the barbell out in front of you slowly while keeping your stance stable and your arms in a straight position.
  • Continue rolling until you reach the edge of the mat, at which point you should turn around and roll back toward the beginning.
  • Perform two to three sets, with eight to ten repetitions in each set.

20. Cable Crunch

Cable Crunch
Photo: Gfycat

To strengthen your upper abs, obliques, and rectus abdominis, try doing the Cable Crunch. For those who want to focus solely on their abdominal muscles, the cable crunch machine is an excellent choice.

How to Perform Cable Crunch

  • Initially, a rope handle is attached to the upper pulley of a cable machine using a fastener.
  • Take a position facing the cable machine and get a firm grasp on the rope grip with both hands.
  • First, you need to take a few steps backwards to put some tension on the wire. Next, you should bend over at the waist and bring your elbows as close to your knees as possible.
  • Hold this stance for a few moments before going back to the beginning of the process.
  • Perform two to three sets, with eight to ten repetitions in each set.

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