Top Ten Most Effective Abdominal Exercises

Abdominal muscles are an integral part of your core, which consists of the obliques and back muscles as well. Strong abdominals help to support your posture and back and allow you to comfortably perform sports and workout routines as well as keep up with your everyday activities, reports the Mayo Clinic. The best abdominal exercises don’t require any special equipment, but you also can get an effective core workout with a variety of fitness machines and exercise aids.

Bicycle Maneuver

According to the American Council on Exercise, the bicycle maneuver is one of the most effective exercises to work the abs. The exercise is a variation of the crunch and requires you to lie on the floor on your back and pump your legs as if you were riding a bike while touching your elbows to opposite knees.

Captain’s Chair

The captain’s chair is a common piece of equipment found in fitness studios. You hang from your forearms and raise your knees while remaining vertical. The exercise requires slow and deliberate movement to tighten the entire abdominal region.

Stability Ball Crunch

There are a number of variations on the standard crunch that pump up the workout to provide a more effective routine. Lying on your back on a stability ball while doing crunches engages additional abdominal muscles to provide a more complete workout.

Vertical Leg Crunch

The vertical leg crunch is another variation of the standard crunch that requires you to extend your legs straight up in the air and cross your ankles before lifting your shoulders. The extra tension in the abs makes this crunch even more effective.

Reverse Crunch

Instead of raising your shoulders off the floor, in the reverse crunch you raise your hips toward your body for an intense abdominal workout. Start by bending your knees so that your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Leave your hands by your sides so they don’t become engaged and then lift your hips.

Torso Track

The torso track is a gadget that works effectively to tone the abs, according to the American Council on Exercise. It consists of a roller attached to a 2-foot track. You kneel behind the track, hold the handles and push and pull on the rollers. Gadgets can provide effective workouts for those who are not well-disciplined to do floor crunches on their own.


The bridge is an effective core exercise that strengthens a number of muscles in the lower back and buttocks in addition to the abdominals, reports the Mayo Clinic. It is easy to perform by lying on your back and lifting your hips off the ground. You can perform the bridge as an isometric exercise by holding each move for a count of 10.

Double-Leg Abdominal Press

A popular ab exercise that is easy to do is the double-leg ab press. It is an isometric exercise that you do by lying on your back and raising both knees. Press on your knees with your hands while trying to force them towards your chest. Hold for a count of 10 and relax.


Rotations move your abs in a side-to-side range of motion and engage the abs in an additional strengthening routine. Lie on the floor and bring your knees up to your chest. Then twist from side to side, touching your knees to the floor on each side while holding them together.

Side Bends

Side bends are performed standing up and also provide an additional workout for your total abdominal region. With feet shoulder-width apart, hold a free weight in your right hand at your side. Raise your left arm over your head and bend towards the right. Do 20 reps and then switch sides.

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