How To Do
The Best Ab Exercises

Below are detailed descriptions on how to do the best ab exercises. Consult with your Physician before starting any new exercise routine or program.

bicycle crunches, best ab exercises bicycle crunches, best ab exercises

Exercise: Bicycle Crunches

Best Ab Exercises Rank: #1 for Rectus Abdominis, #2 for Obliques

Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced

Primary Muscles Used: Rectus Abdominis, Obliques

Preparation: Lie flat on your back, lower back pressed into the floor, thighs perpendicular to your torso, lower legs parallel to the floor, fingertips placed lightly behind your ears.

Movement: Extend your right leg out at an approximately 40 degree angle from the floor, while simultaneously bringing your left knee in. Use your abs to twist your right shoulder and elbow up and across your body toward your left knee. Touch your knee with your elbow if you can. Reach only as far as you can without straining. Lower yourself back to the floor, then reverse the movement for the other side. Use a continuous fluid motion.

Bill's Tips on Technique:

- Exhale on the lift of each movement.

- Don't pull on your head. Keep the tennis ball size distance between your chin and your chest.

- Keep constant tension on your abs throughout the movement. Don't rest at the bottom of the movement.

- Use a smooth controlled movement. Go slow. Don't rush.

- Your shoulder blade should come off the floor, not just your elbows.

- Keep your lower back pressed into the floor.

- This exercise is at the top of the list of the best ab exercises.


best ab exercises, captains chair

Exercise: Captain's Chair

Best Ab Exercises Rank: #2 for Rectus Abdominis, #1 for Obliques

Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced

Primary Muscles Used: Obliques, Lower Rectus Abdominis

Preparation: Rest your elbows on the support pads. Stabilize your upper body by lightly grasping the handles, lower back pressed against the back pad. Your hips and knees flexed at 90 degrees. Keep your head up, eyes looking straight ahead.

Movement: Using your lower abs, slowly roll your knees up toward your chest, curling your pelvis toward your rib cage. Your lower back should lift off the pad at the top of the movement. Pause at the top, then slowly lower back to the starting position. Don't let your legs hang straight down. Don't let them go past 90 degrees

Bill's Tips on Technique:

- This movement is similar to a reverse crunch on the floor, only using the chair instead. Both moves are among the best ab exercises for your lower abs.

- Focus on using your abs vs. your hip flexors (leg muscles) This is one of the best ab exercises for your lower abs.

- The hips shouldn't move more than a few inches. Just lifting your knees up and down changes the emphasis from your abs to your legs.

- Exhale as your knees come up towards your chest.

- Go SLOW. Don't use leg swinging. Control the movement on the way down.


stability ball crunch, best ab exercises stability ball crunch, best ab exercises

Exercise: Stability Ball Crunches

Best Ab Exercises Rank: #3 for Rectus Abdominis

Difficulty: Beginner

Primary Muscles Used: Upper Rectus Abdominis

Preparation: Lie back over the ball with your back slightly curved over the ball. Your feet should be flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, with your thighs and torso parallel with the floor. Hands behind your head, with your fingertips lightly by your ears.

Movement: Contract your abs to lift your upper torso, lifting your shoulders off the ball. Don't raise further than 45 degrees. Pause at the top, then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat

Bill's Tips on Technique:

- Exhale as you lift, inhale as you return to the starting position.

- If you're having trouble balancing you can spread your feet further apart. A narrower base will challenge your balance to a greater degree.

- Keep your chin up, looking up at the ceiling. Don't pull on your head.

- If this version seems too challenging, place your arms across your chest to make it easier.

- Of all the best ab exercises, this (along with the Vertical leg crunch) is the best one for beginners




 reverse crunches, best ab exercises reverse crunches, best ab exercises

Exercise: Reverse Crunches

Best Ab Exercises Rank: #3 for Obliques

Difficulty: Beginner

Primary Muscles Used: Obliques, Lower Rectus Abdominis

Preparation: Lie on your back with your lower back pressed into the floor. Head and neck should be relaxed, with your hands down at your side, palms down. Both your hips and knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle.

Movement: Contract your lower abs to raise your hips towards your rib cage, slowly curling your tailbone up off the floor. Your legs will reach towards the ceiling with each rep. Exhale on the lift, inhale and slowly lower your hips back to the starting position. Don't push with your hands.

Bill's Tips on Technique:

- Focus on the lower abs doing the work, not the hips (just like the Captain's Chair) This movement, along with the Captain's Chair are the best ab exercises for your lower abs.

- When you return to the starting position, touch the floor lightly and then start the next rep. Don't rest at the bottom.

- A more difficult version can be performed by placing your hands behind your head instead of down at your sides.

- Use a slow and controlled movement. Don't rock up and down, or use momentum to swing your legs up.


vertical leg crunch, best ab exercises

Exercise: Vertical Leg Crunch

Best Ab Exercises Rank: #4 for Rectus Abdominis, #5 for Obliques

Difficulty: Intermediate

Primary Muscles Used: Upper Rectus Abdominis, Obliques

Preparation: Lie on your back (lower back pressed into the floor) with your legs raised straight up, knees over your hips, with knees slightly bent. Place your hands behind your head, fingertips lightly behind your ears.

Movement: Using your upper abs, raise your shoulder blades off the floor, rib cage rolling toward your hips. Pause at the top, then slowly lower back to the starting position. Lightly touch your shoulder blades on the floor and repeat. Don't rest at the bottom.

Bill's Tips on Technique:

-Keep your chin up, looking towards the ceiling. Don't pull on your head.

- Exhale as you lift, inhale on the way down.

- Go SLOW. Take two seconds to lift, pause one second, then take two seconds to return.

- This is one of the best ab exercises that you can do easily, anywhere.

- Keep a constant tension on the ab muscles and focus on your upper abs doing the work.


Plank, best ab exercises

Exercise: The Plank

Best Ab Exercises Rank: #4 for Obliques

Difficulty: Intermediate

Primary Muscles Used: Obliques, Rectus Abdominis, Shoulder, Back, and Hip Muscles

Preparation: Lie face down with your weight on your forearms and toes. Elbows should be bent at 90 degrees and directly under your shoulders. Rest on your forearms, knees, and toes before starting

Movement: Lift up off your knees so that you are supported on your forearms and toes. Your back should be level. Keep your head in line with your body and spine in a neutral alignment, bracing your abs throughout the holding of position. Hold the planked position for 20 to 30 seconds to start.

Bill's Tips on Technique:

- Keep breathing throughout the held contraction. Don't hold your breath.

- Don't let your body sag in the middle. Lock in a solid position.

- Gradually increase the hold time, up to 60 to 120 seconds.

- Focus on bracing your abs as you hold the position.

- This exercise, along with the Ab Roller/Ab Wheel, are among the best ab exercises that involve more than your abs. Your core muscles (abs, back, and hips) along with your shoulder muscles are heavily used in the Plank.


ab wheel, best ab exercises ab wheel, best ab exercises ab wheel, best ab exercises

Exercise: Ab Wheel

Best Ab Exercises Rank: #5 for Rectus Abdominis

Difficulty: Advanced

Primary Muscles Used: Rectus Abdominis, Obliques, Transverse Abdominis, and Upper Body Muscles

Preparation: Kneel on the floor facing the Ab Wheel, thighs perpendicular to the floor. Grip the handles in each hand.

Movement: Slowly glide forward to a stretched out position. Inhale as you're moving forward. Keep your abs braced (as though someone was going to punch you in the stomach) throughout the movement. Using your arms and upper body, roll yourself back, exhaling as you return to the starting position.

Bill's Tips on Technique:

- The Ab Wheel exercise is not for beginners. You need a fair degree of core strength to do it safely.

- Only go out as far as you can under control, without breaking form or straining. As you get stronger you'll be able to roll out further and further, until you can go out fully.

- Protect your back. Maintain the natural curvature of your lower back throughout the entire movement. Avoid rounding your back at any point.

- The ab wheel and plank are two of the best ab exercises for your core.

- Remember: 1) Always keep your abs braced strongly. 2) Maintain the natural curve in your low back. 3) Avoid spine flexion (rounding) at any point throughout the movement. That will help you do it safely and avoid potential injury.

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