The 10 Best Ab Exercises

Ten of the most effective exercises for developing the abdominal's, side oblique's and core muscle groups

Develop your abdominal muscles

Everybody wants those six pack abs. But, they're not necessarily easy to get unless you know the right ab exercises. If, however, you perform the right ab exercises and perform them regularly, you'll see true results.

Here are some of the best ab exercises you can do. And, most of them require no special equipment.

1) Bicycle Exercise

Experts say this is the very best ab exercise you can do. It strengthens all the major stomach muscles. Lie on the floor on your back. Bring knees up and lift shoulder blades off the floor. Then move elbows toward the opposite knees in a bicycle motion. Remember not to pull on your neck as you do this exercise.

2) Captain’s Chair Leg Raises

This is also one of the best ab exercises. They are done on the Captain’s Chair machine at the gym. Your arms support your body so your stomach muscles do all the work as you raise and lower your legs slowly.

3) Crunches on an exercise ball

Crunches done on an exercise ball are more effective ab exercises than crunches done on the floor, because being on the ball means your abs must do all the work without the help of your legs.

4) Vertical Leg Crunch

In this crunch, you lie on the floor with legs up in the air, crossing your knees. Lift up off the floor, in a crunch, as though you’re trying to get your chest to your knees. This exercise works the rectus abdominus, which is the primary abdominal muscle and the obliques, too.

5) Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch is a very small movement, but it is one of the best ab exercises because it works the rectus abdominus at the very bottom of the muscle, where it’s harder to work. Lie on the floor with hands on the floor. Bring knees to the chest until they’re at a 90 degree angle. Lift hips off the floor, as though you’re trying to bring your feet to the ceiling.

6) Long Arm Crunch

This is an ab exercise that is less commonly performed, but it's quite effective. Lie on a mat and extend the arms straight out behind the head with hands clasped, keeping the arms next to the ears. Contract the abs and lift the shoulder blades off the floor. This exercise works the upper part of your abs.

7) Vertical Leg Raise

This exercise is fairly common, but it is one of the best ab exercises you can do. Lie on your back and lift your legs into the air, with knees slightly bent and feet crossed at the ankles. Lift up as though you were trying to make your toes reach the ceiling.

8) Full Vertical Crunch

In this ab exercise, you'll put legs in the air just like in the reverse crunch. As you lift contract your legs up in that same motion, however, also lift shoulder blades off the floor.

9) The Plank

The plank is one of the greatest ab exercises, because it builds both muscles and endurance. Lie face down on the floor, with palms on the floor and weight resting on forearms. Push up off the floor, going on to toes and elbows. Hold the position for 20-60 seconds.

10) Abdominal Hold

To perform this ab exercise, sit on the edge of a sturdy chair with palms down, hands on the front edge of the chair, fingers pointing down. Raise your feet 2-4 inches off the floor, and then lift your butt off the chair. Hold the position for as long as you can.

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