People look for the best abdominal exercises because the core region of the body is the most sought after physical improvement by fitness enthusiasts. Having a six pack gives the impression of being really fit. There are dozens (actually hundreds) of programs and machines that claim to work. Would regular exercise work? I would argue that it does.
There are a number of really good exercises to get rock hard abs. Basic equipment found in any gym can be used like stability balls, BOSU, and a high pulley on a machine. We recommend these 5 best abdominal exercises to help you get great results.
Best Ab Exercise #1 – Plank
Stability and core strength are crucial for other moves you will do in the gym like deadlifts. Different types of planks will work a large portion of your core muscles including you abdominals. The best part is that they only take a few minutes as they can be very challenging. A basic plank is done with your body held straight with your weight balanced on your toes and forearms. You hold this position to failure, rest for 30 – 60 seconds and repeat. Do 3-4 sets.
Best Ab Exercise #2 – Core Exercises
Core exercises (also called stability exercises) help to develop the abdominals but also the obliques and other minor muscles to stabilize the spine. The best exercises to use are body weight movements through a full range of motion. These exercises include reverse crunches on the floor or incline bench, knee or leg raises using a captain chair or hanging from a chinup bar, the bridge, and ab wheel rollouts.
Best Ab Exercise #3 – Windshield Wipers
Of these best abdominal exercises, I find this one the most challenging. Doing ab work while hanging from a chinup bar can be difficult on your grip so use an aid like wrist straps if needed. While hanging, bring your feet up as high as you are able to and then rotate your lower body from side to side – your legs will look like windshield wipers. Rotate as far as is comfortable based on your flexibility.
Best Ab Exercise #4 – Hanging Straight Leg Raise
As a more advanced move, try this best abdominal exercise! As done with windshield wipers, hang from a chinup bar with your legs straight. Lift your legs up so your feet end up over your head near the bar. This will curl your hips towards your head and activate your lower abs – the least worked abdominal muscles you have.
Best Ab Exercise #5 – Cable Crunch
As much as I like body weight exercises, I am a firm believer that building larger muscles requires heavy weight. The best abdominal exercise to develop your six pack with weights is to use a cable pulley system. There are two versions I have personally used. Kneel in front of the system with a rope on the cable held on either side of your head. Do a crunch motion bringing your elbows down to your knees and return to the start under control. Put enough weight on the system so you can just finish 3 sets of 10 reps.
The second one is quite different. Attach legs straps to your ankles and attach them to the cable. Lay on your back on the floor and put tension on the cable with your legs straight. Bring your knees to your chest and slowly return to the start keeping tension on the cable at all times. Do as many as you can for 3 sets.
There are other best abdominal exercises but there are also compound movements that will help your core development as well. Don’t forget to use deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and heavy squats. For body weight exercises, any time you are hanging your lower body, you tense your core muscles to stabilize yourself so you don’t swing. That makes for a great workout! For a good finish to your workout, do 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 15 reps using an ab wheel to do roll outs. Chances are, you will feel it a lot the next day. Have fun!