If you Google the ‘best exercises for abs’ oddly you don’t get a precise answer. You get plenty of lists of exercises and you will find some similarities, but nothing that is the end all be all answer.
Why is that?
Well, much like other body parts, people can get a great workout in a lot of different ways. Looking at bodybuilders and their training regimes helps shed some light as many people use similar training methods and exercise, but not always the exact same thing. Yet you can line people up side-by-side and see that they all look amazing.
So how can you pick the best exercises for abs? Well in this case we can provide some of the ones that activate the most sections of the muscle and then provide some tips of how to make them and other abdominal exercises as effective as possible. Because even if you use the best exercises for abs, if you do them wrong then they won’t be very effective!
The Top 5 Ab Exercises
- Swiss Ball Rollups – This is arguably the best exercise out there because it combines stability and a crunching motion that keys on the lower abs. Assume a pushup position with your shins on a Swiss Ball. Start by using your legs to draw the ball towards you by doing an inverted leg lift and rolling the ball down towards your toes. Pause then reverse the motion but keeping going back until you get your knees on the ball. You can count reps or just do 30-60 seconds of them.
- Standard Planks – Standard planks are simple and can be done anywhere yet are insanely effective. Plus after they become too easy you can make adjustments such as planking with your feet on a Swiss Ball or feet on a Swiss Ball and hands on a medicine ball. The slight motion and balance with make your muscle work hard to keep you stable. Then there are one-arm and one-leg variations.
- Side Planks – This is the best exercise to work the sides of your body. Unless your goal is to add muscle you should skip weight side crunch movements. A side plank will effectively work the length on the body as you try and support and hold the spine straight.
- Vertical Leg Crunches – This one has to be included in the best exercises for abs because it is a killer! Lie on your back with feet straight up in the hair. With hands supporting the neck crunch up like you are trying to touch your chest to your toes.
- Cross Crunch – From your back stretch out your arms and legs to form and “X”. Now bring your right leg and left arm up at the same time and touch your toe. Lower to the starting position and try the other side. This hits everything!
The best exercises for abs only work when done properly so follow these simple tips for any ab exercise:
- Exhale on the contraction for a tighter contraction.
- Go slow and stay in control. You want to keep tension on the muscle as long as possible.
- Be consistent by working the abdominals first and not last so you have the most energy.