Want to get those shredded six pack abs? You definitely need to do some abdominal strength training and develop your midsection. Not to mention, when you train your abs, your core strengthens which may eliminate hip pain, enhance your pelvic muscles, and support your spine.
So, here are 15 ab exercises you must be doing if not already.
1. Cable Crunch
I always love to kick start my ab training with cable crunches. They are very effective at targeting your core muscles. To perform this exercise, kneel below a high pulley and hold the cable using a rope attachment. While gripping the rope, bring your hands down to the sides of your face. In the kneeling position, bend your torso at the hips in a forward leaning movement as you contract your abs. Hold this position for a second or two and gradually return to your starting position.
2. Ab Machine Crunches
This hits your abdominal muscles with more resistance. Sit on the ab machine with your arms at 90-degree angle and rest your triceps on the pads. Now, lift your legs and crunch your upper torso while you breathe out. Throughout the motion, concentrate on your abs.
3. Ab Wheel Rollout
The ab wheel rollout dramatically strengthens the core muscles. Take the ab wheel and place it in front of you. While on your knees, grab the handles of the ab wheel and roll straight forward to stretch the body but do not touch the floor. Hold the position for a second and return to your starting position.
4. Hanging Knee Raises
It’s pretty simple! Grab the pull-up bar and raise your knees as much as you can. Brace your core as you reach the top position and gradually lower it to your starting position.
5. Extended Leg Crunch
A very useful variation of crunches. Just like standard crunches, except the only difference or modification here is that your legs are made straight, raised from the ground at an angle less than that of 90 degrees.
With your legs raised, bring your head and shoulders up as if trying to catch a glimpse of the junk in your front.
6. Ab Crunches
Normally, I don’t prefer the simple ab crunches but for the sake of variation, I’ll add it to the list. Just lie flat on the floor or a bench. Bend your knees at 90-degree angle and place your hands on either side of your head. Now, perform the crunch by raising your shoulders above the ground in a slow and gradual manner.
7. Seated Barbell Twist
You need a barbell with or without plates and a flat bench for this exercise. Place the bar behind your head, resting on the base of the neck and keep your feet flat on the floor and your head in place. Now, rotate your trunk to each side in a controlled manner. This will target your oblique muscles and tighten your core along with training your abs.
8. Seated Bench Knee Tucks
Sit on the edge of a bench and keep your legs stretched out in front of you. Grab onto the bench if you need the extra balance while leaning your torso back at a 45-degree angle and gradually bring your knees towards your chest. Gradually lower your legs to your starting position without letting your feet touching the floor.
9. Swiss Ball Twisting Crunches
This exercise requires more focus and balance. Sit on an exercise ball and place both your hands behind your head and your feet on the floor. Now, turn towards your side using your waist to produce tension in your abdomen. Make sure your legs are stationary throughout the exercise. Hold the side contraction for a second, then twist towards the other side.
10. Dumbbell Reverse Side Bends
Grab a heavy dumbbell and stand upright with your feet at shoulder’s width apart and face forward. Slightly bend your knees and with the dumbbell in your right hand, lean towards the left side at the waist. Now straighten your torso and contract your obliques. After completing a number of reps, do the same for the other side.
11. Knee Raise on Parallel Bars
Just like the hanging knee raises, except this variation requires you to support your weight by holding yourself up instead of hanging from a bar. If hanging knee raises are difficult, then this is the more easy option.
While supporting your weight, raise your knees up to your chest. If this feels too easy, extend your legs a little to add more tension to your abdomen.
12. Toes to Bar
Similar to the hanging knee raises, however, with toes to bar you keep your legs fully extended while raising them up in order to touch the bar with your toes. During the whole movement, be sure to keep your legs straight.
13. Russian Twists
Grab a medicine ball or a weight plate and sit on a sit-up bench with your torso at about 45 degrees. Hold the plate or medicine ball in front your chest. Now, twist your torso towards the side. Hold the contraction and then twist towards the other side.
14. Alternating Reach Crunch and Catch
Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Now, extend your arms fully in front of you. Raise your head using your abs to do a crunch and try to reach your left knee with your right hand. Descend back, do another crunch and this time trying to reach the right knee with your left hand but keep both the arms extended.
15. Bottoms Up
This is pretty tough. Lie flat on your back, keeping the arms straight by your side. Now, tuck the knees towards your chest by flexing the hips and knees and extend your legs directly above you so that are almost vertical to the ground. Finally, elevate your pelvis to raise the glutes from the floor, hold the position for a second and return to your starting position.