The 10 Most Effective Abdominal Exercises

Man with toned six pack abdominals

If you’re on a mission to get flat abs, creating an effective program with the top abdominal exercises will definitely be a must. Some people go into the gym and perform the same workout over and over again, hoping it will eventually bring them the results that they’re looking for.

The main thing to note with this is that the abdominal exercises that you’re performing should always be changing. Not only should you be altering each of the abdominal exercises so that it becomes more intense in nature itself, but you should also be changing around the sequence of abdominal exercises that you perform as well.

The minute you stop presenting your body with a changing stimulus is the minute you’re going to hit a progress plateau, so you really must be working to avoid this.

Let’s have a look at the 10 most effective abdominal exercises that you should start adding to your workout program regularly.

The 10 Most Effective Abdominal Exercises

Woman performing a sit up

One thing that you’re going to notice about all of the abdominal exercises that are listed below is each is unique in its own way. Some offer a decreased level of stability, so will have the abs contracting harder because of that.

Others will have added weight in the movement that your abs have to work against, so they’re going to have to try harder to get you into the crunch position.

Still others will have a totally different pattern of movement from what you’re used to with most abdominal exercises, so that in itself presents a new challenge that they’ve never dealt with before.

By utilizing all these variables as you select your abdominal exercises, you ensure that you not only don’t become bored with the exercises, but that you also don’t suffer from that plateau.

1) Pike Sit-Up

The very first of the abdominal exercises to try out is the pike sit-up. Since you’re moving both the legs as well as the upper body into the sit-up position, you’re working more muscle fibers at once.

In addition to that, your goal should be to hold the sit-up position for at least a few seconds, which will help you maintain constant tension throughout the exercise.

Aim for five reps total with a 10 second hold at the top.

2) Plank On An Exercise Ball

The plank is one of the most well know abdominal exercises that you should consider adding to your workout program. To help advance this exercise even further, consider doing it on an exercise ball. This is really going to reduce your overall base of support tremendously and will cause those abs to work harder.

Be aware that this will take some getting used to at first, so allow yourself some time to adapt. You may only be able to hold it for 10-15 seconds when first starting out. Placing the hands up on the ball is much harder than the feet on the ball as well, so keep that in the back of your mind also.

3) Single Leg Squat

While the single leg squat isn’t considered one of the abdominal exercises per say, if you perform it, you’re going to see why we’re listing it as one you should be doing.

This exercise is really going to work to throw your entire body off balance as you squat down which is going to have your abs contracting.

When doing this you want to aim to keep the foot lifted off the floor as best as possible and lower all the way down until you’re in the full squat.

Perform 5-10 reps on one leg and then switch sides and repeat.

4) Decline Sit-Up With A Twist

Moving along, the decline sit-up with a twist is yet another of the most effective abdominal exercises that you can be adding to your workout. The decline sit-up already adds an extra element of intensity as you have to work against gravity, but with the twist thrown in there, now you’re also going to be challenging the oblique’s as well.

When performing this one you want to take about 3 seconds to come all the way up to the full crunch, aiming to perform two twists to each side as you do.

5) Clocks

Another great one of the abdominal exercises for working every single muscle fiber in the core is the ‘clocks’ exercise. For this one you’re simply going to lay back down on the ground and then lift the legs up until they’re at 90 degrees. From there, begin rotating them around in a circular fashion while keeping them entirely off the floor.

Aim to perform 3-5 revolutions in one direction and then switch directions and repeat again.

6) Captains Chair With A Pause

The captains chair is another one of the well-known abdominal exercises and is great for building up lower ab strength. To take this one a step-further, perform the standard leg raise in the captain’s chair but then take a short pause at the top of the movement.

This will really build up the intensity on the lower abs and you’ll feel the difference immediately.

7) Side Plank

To further work the oblique muscles, turn to the side plank. This one of the abdominal exercises is excellent for producing maximum muscle control as it’s isometric in nature. Any movement that has you holding a position for an extended period of time is going to grant you better overall ab control so you never get that protruding ab look when you’re working around.

Hold it for 30 seconds on each side.

8) Ab Wheel Roll Out

If you happen to have an ab wheel, this is definitely one of the top abdominal exercises to perform. This will place a huge amount of tension on both the lower and upper abs, as well as the lower back as well.

Note that you may not be able to roll all the way out at first, so have some patience and go as far as you can comfortably go.

9) Single Leg Prone Ball Roll In

To advance the prone ball roll in, try performing it on just a single leg. Advancing this one of our abdominal exercises like this is going to cause more of the ab muscles to work on one side of the body, so is perfect for getting that very defined look.

Just be sure to perform an equal number of reps on both sides for balance.

10) Squat On An Exercise Ball

Finally, if you’re really up to the challenge, the toughest of the abdominal exercises is the squat on an exercise ball. This one will put your core strength as well as balancing abilities to the test, so be very careful when doing it.

Always use a spotter when first starting out and try and perform it in a very open space to ensure safety.

So there you have the top abdominal exercises that you should consider. You definitely don’t have to add all of these to your program at once, but adding a few of them per workout is definitely going to produce the best results possible.

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