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6 Best Ab Exercises

A List of our Favorite Abdominal Exercises for your Workout Routines

Welcome to our list of the 6 Best Ab Exercises!

Everyone wants ripped abs, but what are the most effective abdominal exercises to help make it happen? No need to worry our flabby friend, we've got the skinny on ab training.  Use our fat loss workouts and these great ab exercises to get going before the summer starts. 


Continue reading below to see our handpicked list of the 6 best ab exercises.  Need more than 6 for your repertoire? See our abs exercises main page.

The 6 Best Abdominal Exercises

1. Hanging Hip Raises

Hip raises are our first of the 6 best ab exercises and is a more effective variation to its popular cousin, the hanging leg raise. This belly buster forces your abs to statically contract as you bring your knees parallel to your waist (the hanging leg raise portion of the lift) and dynamically contract as you complete the exercise by further bringing your knees in to your chest.

Throughout the exercise, your forced to stabilize your core as your body weight and hanging legs serve as a natural source of resistance.  


The lying hip raise is an easier variation of hanging hip raises and is done while lying on the floor rather than hanging from a pull-up bar.  

2. Oblique Crunches

Oblique Crunches are a great abs exercise to work your obliques and abdominal muscles.

Our favorite variation is done on an incline bench to add resistance to an already effective abdominal exercise. The Decline Oblique Crunch keeps tension on your abs throughout the lift as you crunch and as you return to the starting position. 

oblique crunches

Make the exercise easier by Decreasing the incline or lying flat on the ground with your quads and hamstrings raised so they're perpendicular to your back and the floor.

Make the exercise more difficult by increasing the angle of the incline or holding a medicine ball, dumbbell, or weight plate at your chest or behind your head.  Behind your head will be the most challenging.

 

3. Bicycle Crunch Exercise

The Bicycle Crunch Exercise is one of our 6 best ab exercises but is also one of the most difficult to get the hang of. It's called "the bicycle crunch" because you lie on the ground and simultaneously kick your right leg forward while bring your left knee towards your chest, then alternating, all while crunching to each side.  Lot going on there.  Learn this abs exercise by viewing the Bicycle Crunch Exercise page and pedal your way to a tighter core.  

We're not the only ones to rank the bicycle crunch highly. Check out the results of this study done by the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

 

4. The Plank Exercise and Side Plank Exercise

Walk the plank to a tighter core with the Plank Exercise and Side Plank Exercise. 

These isometric exercises are great core exercises that force you to keep your abdominals and obliques steady and straight while holding your body weight above the ground. They may seem easy, but each probably tests your core strength and endurance more than any of the best ab exercises.

Our favorite variations to the plank exercise:



side plank exercise

Forearm plank with one leg: Lift your forearm and opposite leg off the ground while keeping the other forearm in place or lift one leg and the opposite forearm, hold it for a period of time then switch

  • Plank with knee to elbows: From a standard plank, alternate bringing each knee to the opposite side elbow while keeping the other leg and forearm on the ground.
  • Exercise ball plank: : Place your forearms on the ball and your toes on the mat or resting your feet on the ball and your forearms on the ground.

  • 5. Swiss Ball Jackknife

    The Swiss Ball Jackknife is another great abdominal annihilator. The act of rolling the ball into your chest and flexing at the waist fires on the abs to dynamically contract while your arms, chest, and shoulders have to stay strong to stabilize your body.  

    6. Swiss Ball Crunch

    The Swiss Ball Crunch or Exercise / Fitness Ball Crunch is another great fitness ball exercise that works your abdominal muscles.   

    swiss ball crunch

    This exercise is a variation of the standard Ab Crunch but the stability ball helps keep your abdominals engaged throughout the lift while you balance yourself.

    This is one that seems easy, but we promise you'll feel it. Make the exercise more difficult by holding a weight behind your head or your arms straight behind you.


    Now that you know the 6 Best Ab Exercises...

    Add at least a few of them or their variations to your abdominal workouts.  Also, make your you check out our other "best exercises" pages:

    Also, check out these Related Pages:

    You know the 6 Best Ab Exercises.  Now learn the best workout routines.
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