The Perfect Ab Workout

I’m sure we’ve all looked at our stomachs and wished they were at least a little bit more defined. Well, here’s a list I compiled of the best exercises for your abs. Warning: There are a LOT of exercises. Mix and match your favorites, or challenge yourself to complete the entire list! What’s so great about these exercises is that you can do them in the comfort of your own home without any equipment–but you can do them at the gym and add weights to intensify the exercises!

  • Crunches and sit-ups. These are a pretty obvious choice. But don’t limit yourself to the classic exercises when there are so many variations! Try putting your legs up, either bent at a ninety-degree angle or straight. Oblique crunches, cross crunches, bicycle crunches, v-crunches, crunch chops, reverse crunches, and starfish crunches are just a few more ways to mix up your basic crunch!

crunch

  • Roll-ups. Start in a laying down position, then use your abs to pull yourself into a sitting position.

rollup.jpg

  • Bird dogs. On your hands and knees, lift one arm and the opposite leg at the same time. Repeat several reps on each side.

bird-dog

  • Pulse ups. Lay on your back with your feet straight up in the air. Use your abs to pull your body up.

pulse-up

  • Windshield wipers. You can do these with your legs straight or bent (like in the picture). Start by lying on your back with your legs bent or straight up in the air, then move them from side to side to work your obliques. Keep in mind that this should be a controlled motion!

windshield

  • Alternating superman. Of course, you can do a regular superman as well. With an alternating superman, lay on your stomach and simply raise one arm and the opposite leg, then switch.

alt-superman

  • Straight leg raise. Lay on your back and raise one leg, then the other. Repeat multiple times on each side.

straightleg

  • Planks. Of course the infamous plank made the list! Just like with sit-ups and crunches, you can mix this exercise up to target different muscles and keep your workout from getting boring. Extended planks, walking planks, superman planks, side planks, plank twists, side plank toe touches, and planks with leg raises are all viable options.

plank.jpg

  • Russian twists. These are especially helpful if you have weights. If you don’t, don’t sweat it–you’ll still get a good workout in with this exercise. In a seated position, raise your legs and twist your upper body from side to side, using your abs and arm movement to stay balanced.

russian

  • Scissors. These may look easy, but you can bet that you’ll be feeling the burn after just a few reps! Lay down and alternate raising your legs about six inches off the ground. Keep your motions smooth and controlled.

scissors

  • Hollow hold. While lying down, lift your arms and legs and use your abs to hold the position for as long as you can.hollow-arch-still005
  • V-ups and tuck-ups. Start by lying down with your arms and legs extended. Use your abs to pull your body into a V (or a tuck) position. This motion takes some practice, but it will definitely help to define your abs!

V-up

What’s your favorite ab exercise? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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