Popular Abdominal Exercises

Today we are going to look at a few of our favorite common ab exercises. This list is by no means an exhaustive one. It just contains some common ab exercises that we like best.

It is imperative to use proper form when doing exercises to prevent injury and get the most benefit out of the workout. Below are steps on how to do each of these ab workouts:

  • Sit Ups
  • Twisting Sit Ups
  • Crunches
  • Reverse Crunches
  • Leg Raises
  • Side Bends
  • Great Walls
  • Iron Inch

Sit Ups:  The old standard ab exercise is still a good one for many.

How to do:
1.  Lie on your back on the floor and hook your toes under a heavy piece of furniture. Even better, use an ab board and hook your toes under the ankle constraints.

2.  Bend your knee comfortably and keep them bent throughout the entire set. This helps to relieve concentrated back strain.

3.  Place your hands behind your head and lock your fingers together.

4.  Curl your head, shoulders, upper back and lower back slowly in succession off the floor until your torso is perpendicular to the floor.

5.  Hold the upright position for a second and reverse the movement slowly until reaching the starting point.

6.  Resistance may be added by varying the degree of incline if you are using an ab bench or by holding a weighed barbell plate behind your head. Advanced athletes may want to do both!

Twisting Sit Ups: This is a variation on the popular sit-up. This exercise will involve the intercostals and the obliques.

How to do:
1.  Lie on your back on the floor and hook your toes under a heavy piece of furniture. Even better, use an ab board and hook your toes under the ankle constraints.

2.  Bend your knee comfortably and keep them bent throughout the entire set. This helps to relieve concentrated back strain.

3.  Place your hands behind your head and lock your fingers together.

4.  Curl your head, shoulders, upper back and lower back slowly in succession off the floor until your torso is perpendicular to the floor.

5.  Hold the upright position for a second and reverse the movement slowly until reaching the starting point.

6.  Resistance may be added by varying the degree of incline if you are using an ab bench or by holding a weighed barbell plate behind your head. Advanced athletes may want to do both!

7.  Do a second repetition however during this rep twist to the right as you rise up.

8.  Do a third repetition twisting to the left.

9.  Continue reps straight, right, left until the end of the set.

Crunches:  Crunches are the most popular exercise today. They are great for working the larger ab muscles such as the rectus abdominis and the intercostals.

How to do:
1.  Lie flat on your back and place your calves on a flat bench seat.  Your hamstrings should be perpendicular to the floor.

2.  Place your hands behind your head with fingers interlaced together.

3.  Perform the following movements simultaneously
a.  Pull your hips from the floor using your lower abdominal muscles
b.  Raise your shoulders and back from the floor using your upper abdominal muscles
c.  Force your shoulders in moving them toward your hips
d.  Exhale hard

4.  Hold the contracted position for a slow count of 1-3 seconds.

5.  Keep repeating this movement until fatigued.

Reverse Crunches:  This is a fantastic exercise for the lower abs.

How to do:
1.  Lie flat on your back with legs extended.  Raise your legs into an L position with your abs.  You can flex your knees a bit.

2.  Lower them to almost floor level and raise them again.

3.  Keep going until failure.

Leg Raises:  This exercise is as old as the sit up and works both the upper and lower rectus abdominus and to a lesser extent the intercostals.  If you want more stress on the lower abs, use a flat bench.

How to do:
1.  Lie on your back on an inclined ab board with your head toward the raised end.

2.  Grasp the end of upper bench with your hands to stabilize your body.

3.  Bend your leg 15-20 degrees or until you feel your back relax.

4.  Use your abdominal muscles to raise your feet in an arc to a position directly above your head.

5.  Drop your feet in a return arc until they clear the bench.

6.  Repeat until the desired number of repetitions are completed.

7.  Add resistance by raising the incline angle of the bench or by holding a light plate or dumbbell between your feet.

Side Bends:  This exercise can be done with or without dumbbells in your hands.  It works all the ab muscles however focus is placed on the obliques.

How to do:
1.  Stand up straight and with your arms straight down at your sides.

2.  Bend sideways holding your pelvis very firm.  First one shoulder should bend down toward the floor.

3.  When you reach a point where you cannot bend further, inhale, hold your breath and raise yourself back to the erect starting position exhaling when you reach the vertical position.

4.  Repeat this movement numerous times before switching to the opposite shoulder.

Great Walls:  This is a simple yet highly effective ab exercise that works all the ab muscles but is focused more on the upper abs.

How to do:
1.  Stand straight up.

2.  Concentrate as hard as you can on your abs.

3.  Tense your abs as hard as possible.  Put all your energy into tensing your abs.

4.  Maintain the incredible tension for a count of 6 and relax.

5.  Immediately tense the abs again.

6.  Continue this cycle until failure.

Iron Inch:  This is a simple, highly effective exercise that almost never used.  It is excellent for the lower ab region.

How to do:
1.  Sit on the floor, legs together, stretched out in front of you.

2.  Keep your back erect and clasp your hands behind your head.

3.  Using the power of your abs and hips try to inch across the floor for a distance of 10 feet.  Do not bend your knees or get your back or arms into the movement.

4.  Using your lower abs move your right hip and then your left hip and inch.  Continue until you reached 10 feet or cannot move further.

5.  Rest 90 seconds and repeat this movement backwards to your starting spot.

6.  After you have mastered this exercise place a weight in your lap for greater resistance.

There you have it – some excellent exercises for the abs. The important thing to know is that it doesn’t really matter what specific exercise you use to work your abs out on any particular day. The most important thing is that you do something. Normally, abs can stand more work than the average muscle. Start slowly and build up to this and the result will be a beautiful set of abs.

Get Them Abs Tight People!

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