Best Abs Exercises: Upper Abs, Lower Abs, Obliques

You are at the right place if you are looking for the Best Abs exercises including Upper Abs exercises, Lower Abs exercises, Obliques, and Core Exercises.

To build the impressive six-pack abs, first we needed to understand the anatomy and functionality of the abs, which help to perform the abs exercises at the best level.

When most of us refer to our abs, we’re usually representing the rectus abdominis (“abdominal muscle”). The abdominal wall can be divided into two separate anatomic parts, each of which functions differently.

The front wall consists of one muscle, the rectus abdominis (also known as the “abs”).

Know About Rectus Abdominis

This muscle arises from the lower margin of the rib cage and sternum and passes vertically downward to attach to the pubic bone. The two rectus abdominis muscles (one on each side) are encased in a sheath of fascia that forms the central demarcation down the middle of the abs, known as the linea alba. Fascia divisions in the muscles are responsible for the “six-pack” appearance.

The rectus muscles cause flexion of the trunk, bending the torso forward toward the legs.

The motion is carried out by the upper abs, which pull the rib cage down toward the pelvis, or by the lower abs, which lift the pelvis upward toward the chest.

Back to the whole “upper abs” being more visible than “lower abs” thing. It’s important to know that as far as biology is concerned, there are no upper abs and lower abs. There are just abs, or more specifically in this case, the rectus abdominis or “six-pack muscle,”

Rectus Abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique and transverses abdominis,
The sidewall consists of three layers of muscles, external oblique, internal oblique and transverses abdominis.

External oblique

The external oblique is the outer visible layer that passes run diagonally on each side of the rectus abdominis. They can be found between the lower rib region and the pelvis. These muscles help with side-to-side bending, flexion of the spinal column, torso rotation, and compression of the abdomen.

Internal oblique

The internal oblique muscles lie under the external obliques and run into the lower back or erector spinae. And the fibers of the two muscles pass at right angles to one another, therefore they are often referred to as opposite-side rotators.

Transversus Abdominis

The deepest part of the abdominals is the transversus abdominis, which lies horizontally across the abdominal wall. Its primary role is to assist with breathing, especially exhalation from the lungs. It also helps with the stabilization of the spine.

Serratus Anterior

The serratus anterior muscle forms part of the sidewall of the chest. This muscle arises from the scapula behind and passes forward around the chest wall to attach to the upper eight ribs. The serrated is a fingerlike projection into the external oblique. It can be targeted during exercises that work the oblique muscles.

Hip Flexors

The last group of muscles we will discuss here are the hip flexors, which help move the trunk and legs into flexion movements. While they are technically not abdominal muscles, they are involved in a lot of ab or core exercises.

21 Best Abs Exercises To Six Pack Abs

An effective abs workout should include exercises that target all areas of your midsection. For your upper abs select a crunch or setup. For your lower abs choose from leg raises, knee-ups, or reverse crunches. To complete your workout, target the sidewall with a twisting, oblique crunch, or side bend, and many more.

Here are the best Abs Exercises to develop the impressive six-pack abs

1. Sit Ups

A Full Sit Up is a core body exercise that strengthens your upper and lower abs transverse abdominis, and obliques in addition to your hip flexors, chest, and neck. They promote good posture by working your lower back and gluteal muscles.

Sit ups are classic abs exercises done by lying on your back and lifting your torso. They use your body weight to strengthen and tone the core-stabilizing abdominal muscles.

Perhaps one of the reasons the Full Sit Up has gotten negative attention is due to the poor form used by so many people.

When done slowly and carefully, sit-ups will not cause back pain, and instead can aid digestion, build muscle, and improve posture over time.

Decline Sit ups

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis (Upper)

Secondary: Quadriceps, hip flexors.

Execution Technique

  1. Hook your feet under the pad and sit on the decline bench with your torso upright.
  2. Place your hands behind your head, contract through your abs to lift your shoulders and upper back off the decline bench.
  3. Hold this position for a second before slowly lowering back to the starting position, making the negative portion of the rep as slow and deliberate as the positive portion.
  4. Repeat the desired number of reps.

Tips

  • Avoid overusing your hip flexors. Focus on proper posture and using your core.
  • Don’t lean forward with your head. Keep a natural head position.
  • Don’t let your shoulders roll forward. Keep your chest up and shoulders back.

2. Crunches

The crunch motion occurs in the upper spine, and your shoulders rise a few inches off the floor. Your lower back remains in contact with the floor, and there is no motion at the hips. This is In contrast to the sit-up, where the movement occurs at the waist and hips.

You may position your hands at your sides or across your chest, or you may interlock them behind your head. As your hands shift position from your sides to your chest to your head, the resistance increases.

Crunches abs Exercises

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis (Upper)

Secondary: Obliques

Execution Technique

  1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent, feet and low back are flat on the floor.
  2. place your hands behind your head, contract through your abs to lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor.
  3. Hold this position for a second before slowly lowering back to the starting position, making the negative portion of the rep as slow and deliberate as the positive portion.
  4. Repeat the desired number of reps.

Tips

  • Keep the movement slow and controlled. Don’t use momentum.
  • Don’t pull on your neck with your hands, this will strain the neck.
  • Breathe out as you crunch, maintain your core muscles tight and engaged.

3. Cable Crunch

Cable crunches, also known as kneeling cable crunches, are a weighted Crunch variation that targets your abdominal muscles. Perform cable crunch exercises by kneeling in front of a cable station with a pulley attachment

Doing crunches on a cable apparatus offers one huge advantage over doing them on the floor. The cable allows you to increase resistance, enabling you to train to failure using heavier weights and fewer reps. This increased emphasis on strength and hypertrophy is exactly the kind of workout the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your abs need to get big and carved.

You may perform this exercise while facing toward or away from the weight stack, depending on personal preference.

Cable Crunch abs Exercises

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis (Upper)

Secondary: Obliques, serratus anterior.

Execution Technique

  1. Kneel in front of a high pulley. Grasp rope attachment in each hand and place your wrists against the sides of your head.
  2. Lower your torso by flexing your hips, but allow the weight of the rope to lift your upper torso so that your lower back is extended.
  3. Keeping your hips fixed, exhale as you pull the rope downward by flexing your abdomen so that your back becomes arched.
  4. Hold for a count of two. Relax your abdomen and allow the rope to lift your upper torso so that your lower back goes back to being extended.

Tips

  • Keep your neck in a neutral position.
  • Keep your hips fixed. All of the movement should be in your abdomen.
  • Don’t choose a weight so heavy that your lower back handles most of the resistance. 

4. Machine Crunch

Doing abs crunches exercises with an ab crunch machine is a great way to work your abdominal muscles and obliques. Without a doubt, adding this movement to your workout regime will help you on your path to getting great abs.

This is a convenient way to add resistance to your ab work for better ab development. Depending on the machine’s design, your hand’s hold handles alongside your head, or your hands simply rest on the chest pad.

Your torso should move from the upright position to almost parallel with the floor. When you sit on an ab crunch machine, you stand a chance at going through a full range of motion. Not only that, but this will also further help you to get faster and more efficient results.

Machine Crunches

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis (Upper)

Secondary: Obliques, serratus anterior.

Execution Technique

  1. Sit on the ab machine and select a slight resistance. Position your feet under the pads and hold the handles at the top.
  2. Make sure your arms are bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Keep your feet stationary and perform crunches as instructed in the machine directions, focusing on the contraction of your abs.
  4. Pause and slowly return to starting position as you inhale.

Tips

  • Use a slow controlled motion to target the muscles.
  • Keep your motions slow and steady to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Do not overload the machine. Go with the weights that you have worked with before and eventually build up.

5. Lying Straight Leg Raise

Lying leg raises are touted as killer abs exercises. But your hip flexors actually reap some major benefits of this move. So don’t be surprised if your hips feel a bit of the burn during this one. Lying leg raises can also help alleviate low back pain since it improves the overall strength and stabilization of your core.

Straight leg exercise is often used in Physical Therapy to help patients improve the strength of their lower extremities.

The straight leg raise exercise does not require you to bend the knee joint. This is encouraged when an individual has advanced arthritis in their knee.  The straight leg raise exercise strengthens the muscles of the upper thigh, the quadriceps, without placing any stress on the knee joint.

You need no special equipment to do a straight leg raise other than space where you can lie on your back freely. To make the straight leg raise more challenging, add a small cuff weight to your leg.

Lying Straight Leg Raise abs Exercises

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis (Upper)

Secondary: Obliques, serratus anterior.

Execution Technique

  1. Lie faceup on the floor/bench with your entire body straight and your hands at your sides to stabilize your torso.
  2. Hold your legs a few inches off the floor.
  3. Raise your legs up toward the ceiling until they are just short of perpendicular to the floor.
  4. Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position.

Tips

  • Keep your lower back pressed against the bench or mat.
  • Move slow and with control, making sure not to arch your back at any point in the move.

6. Incline Leg Raise

leg raises are among the most popular abs exercises. These moves are very similar to sit-ups, but in this case, the abdominal muscles lift the lower body and pull it forward the upper body and not the opposite.

Incline Leg raise works the rectus abdominis (six-pack muscles) and the oblique (side abs). But, due to the nature of the exercise hip and leg muscles are also engaged, particularly at the beginning of the movement.

If you have an adjustable sit-up bench, you can make the move harder or easier by changing the angle of the board.

To maximize muscle contraction on the way up, raise your knees as high as possible toward your chest. To keep tension on the abs, do not lower your legs all the way down or allow your feet to touch the floor.

The greater the incline, the greater the difficulty of this exercise. Therefore, beginning lifters should set the incline low until they get the hang of the movement and gain strength. It not just targets your rectus abdominis but also strengthens and stabilizes the hip flexors.

Incline Leg Raise abs Exercises

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis (lower)

Secondary: Quadriceps, hip flexors, Iliopsoas.

Execution Technique

  1. Lie supine (on your back) on an inclined bench with your legs together.
  2. Place your hands beside your head and grip the bench for support. Support the back by Press your lower back against the bench.
  3. Keeping your legs slightly bent, exhale as you slowly raise your legs and curl your hips off the bench by flexing your abdomen.
  4. Try to hold the contracted position, with your legs in the air. Inhale as you slowly lower your hips and legs to the starting position.

Tips

  • Keep the movement slow and controlled. Do not use momentum.
  • Do not let your heels rest on the floor.
  • For added intensity, hold a dumbbell between the feet.
  • Keep your lower back pressed against the bench.

7. Hanging Knee Raise

The hanging knee raise is one of the great abs exercises for isolating the abdominal muscles, building strength in the hip flexors, and developing the six-pack. Its Increasing basic strength and hypertrophy of those muscle groups can assist in movement like squats, cleans and snatches, bracing, and more.

Hanging knee raises are a lower abs exercise consisting of lifting and lowering your knees to your chest while hanging on a pull-up bar. This move mainly targets your abdominal muscles, including your obliques, but also works your hip flexors.

Raise your knees as high as possible to maximize muscular effort. As you lower your legs down, keep your knees slightly bent to maintain tension on the abs.

Hanging knee raises when done from the bar (as opposed to the Roman chair) challenge the grip muscles and can be a good way to build grip strength for more advanced hanging exercises.

Hanging Knee Raise abs Exercises

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis (lower)

Secondary: Quadriceps, hip flexors, Iliopsoas.

Execution Technique

  1. Grab a bar with an overhead grip, with the hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Keep your core and glutes tight to keep your back and hips in the correct position.
  3. Lift your legs, bending your knees on the way up to pull your knees up toward your chest while rounding your lower back to bring your glutes forward and up.
  4. Pause in this position for a second,  Slowly lower your legs back down to the start position without swinging, inhaling as you go down. Continue for the desired reps.

Tips

  • Try not to use momentum to raise your legs. keep the movement slow and under control.
  • To make it more difficult, straighten your legs (hanging straight leg raise), or hold a dumbbell between your feet.
  • Remember to engage your core before you raise your knees
  • Keep your back straight to avoid putting too much pressure on your spine.

8. Hanging Straight Leg Raise

A hanging leg raise is an exercise that primarily works the abdominals and hip flexors, and is a great addition to any fitness routine for overall core strength, spine health, and mobility.

In fact, studies have shown that hanging leg raises activated the rectus abdominis by 100% and activated the oblique muscles by 88%. 

Hang on a pull-up bar and lift your legs, and in turn, your abdominals are tightening and strengthening. It may sound as easy as grabbing a bar and literally pulling your legs up, but they’re really difficult, and there is a slew of common mistakes people make when attempting the move. a lot of people using momentum to pull up, and as a result, hyperextend their backs.

Hanging Straight Leg Raise abs Exercises

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis (lower)

Secondary: Quadriceps, hip flexors, Iliopsoas.

Execution Technique

  1. Grab a bar with an overhead grip, with the hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  2. Keep your core and glutes tight to keep your back and hips in the correct position.
  3. Keeping your legs straight, lift both legs, toward your chest, using your hips and ab muscles. Exhale as you lift your legs up.
  4. Slowly lower your legs back down to the start position without swinging, inhaling as you go down. Continue for the desired reps.

Tips

  • If you’re a beginner, do the bent knee variation and gradually straighten your legs as you get better at this exercise.
  • Make the hanging straight leg raise more difficult by holding a dumbbell between your feet.
  • Do in a controlled motion while lift your legs until they are at a 90-degree angle.
  • For harder variation, pull your legs up as high as you can above your waist line. 

9. Hanging Windshield Wiper

The hanging windshield wiper is an advanced exercise for strengthening your core and the twisting movement pattern of your body. This is an advanced variant of the Hanging Leg Raise, so before attempting it make sure you have good grip strength, flexibility and balance.

Hanging windshield wiper gets its name from the posture adopted, that resembles the window wipers of a car, as an individual performs each rep. The goal is to rotate the torso from one side to the other, whilst maintaining a horizontal position. Doing the windshield wiper movement helps to build a very strong core.

The hanging windshield wiper restores the normal range of movement and motor control to the muscles and hip joint.

Hanging Windshield Wiper abs Exercises

Muscles Involved

Primary: Internal and External Obliques

Secondary: Rectus Abdominis, Quadriceps, hip flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris).

Execution Technique

  1. Grab a bar with an overhead grip, with the hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  2. Keep your core and glutes tight to keep your back and hips in the correct position.
  3. Lift your legs towards the bar. Keep your arms and legs straight. Your legs are perpendicular to your torso. Now, rotate your legs to one side until they are parallel with the floor, roughly 90 degrees.
  4. Slowly and with control rotate your legs to the other side. Keep your legs as straight as possible. Continue for the desired reps.

Tips

  • Do not lower your legs beyond feeling a mild stretch in your side.
  • You can make the move easier by bending your knees.
  • Don’t use momentum to aid you, use your core strength.

10. Seated Knee Up

Seated Knee up is also known as the seated knee tuck and it is an essential part of any core workout routine. If you want to build six-pack abs or simply increase your core strength, seated knee tucks are for you! 

In addition, it is one of the excellent abs exercises for defining the abdominals. Knee-ups are very important for athletes involved in running, jumping, and kicking when bringing the legs forward and upward and whenever raising the legs in execution of various stunts in a fitness competition, on gymnastics apparatus, and in dance.

For most effective execution, keep the trunk stable and bring the knees as close to the chest as possible. Doing this produces greater shortening and stronger muscular contractions of the abdominal muscles.

Raise your knees until your thighs almost touch your abdomen. As you lower your legs down, stop before your heels make contact with the floor to keep tension on the muscles.

Seated Knee Up abs Exercises

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis

Secondary: Obliques, Quadriceps, hip flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris).

Execution Technique

  1. Sit on the edge of a flat bench, legs hanging down with knees slightly bent, and grip the bench behind you.
  2. Lean backward and raise your legs a little off the floor, keeping them straight and together.
  3. Raise your knees up toward your chest, keeping your legs together.
  4. Lower your legs back down until your heels almost touch the floor.

Tips

  • Keep your back straight and your feet off the floor.
  • Make the seated leg raise more difficult by holding a dumbbell between your feet.
  • Lean back slightly so that your torso makes a 45- to a 60-degree angle with the bench.

11. Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch is a challenging core exercise that primarily hits your rectus abdominis, the muscle in your abdomen that makes up your “six-pack.

The reverse crunch is an intermediate-level variation of the popular abdominal abs crunch exercises. Your upper body remains on the mat as you contract your abs to draw your legs towards your chest.

A reverse crunch offers many of the same benefits as the traditional crunch. However, because your neck and most of your back, stay on the ground, it’s thought to be easier on your spine.

Reverse Crunch abs Exercises

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis

Secondary: Obliques, Quadriceps, hip flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris).

Execution Technique

  1. Lie faceup on the floor with your hands extended at your sides. Feet are up and thighs are perpendicular to the floor (your hips and knees should form a 90-degree angle).
  2. Slowly bring your knees toward your chest, lifting your hips and glutes off the floor.
  3. Try to maintain the bend in your knees throughout the movement.
  4. Slowly lower your legs back to the starting position under control motion. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Keep the movement slow and controlled. Do not use momentum.
  • To make this exercise more difficult, perform it on a decline bench with your head on the high end.

12. Incline Reverse Crunch

The incline reverse crunch is similar to the traditional reverse crunch except that it is performed on an incline bench or slant board. Since it requires you to work against gravity, it puts more tension on the abs and is more difficult than the standard version.

The incline reverse crunch is a dynamic bodyweight exercise that strengthens the hip flexors and lower abdominal region. This exercise also improves stability and mobility throughout the lower back. Placing your torso on an incline increases the range of motion and places more tension on your abs, which makes the exercises more difficult.

Incline Reverse Crunch abs Exercises

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis

Secondary: Obliques, Quadriceps, hip flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris).

Execution Technique

  1. Lie on an incline, such as on a decline bench with your head where your feet normally go. Hold on to the leg pads to hold your torso in place on the bench.
  2. Bend your hips and knees to 90-degree angles for the start position of the reverse crunch.
  3. Maintain the bend in your knees and hips and flex your spine from the bottom to lift your hips up off the bench and curl your knees toward your head.
  4. Slowly reverse the motion to return your legs to the start position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Keep the movement slow and controlled. Do not use momentum.
  • Increase the incline by raising the bench to add more resistance.
  • Hold a small dumbbell between your legs for additional resistance.

13. Oblique Crunches

The oblique crunch is a bodyweight exercise that targets your core muscles—specifically the obliques on the sides of your abdomen.

It is a core exercise that strengthens your obliques as well as the other muscles of the core including your transverse abdominus and medial glute.

Many ab exercises focus solely on the rectus abdominus, also known as the six-pack. While important, it is also wise to focus on strengthening the rest of the core muscles so that your strength is balanced.

Oblique Crunches

Muscles Involved

Primary: Obliques, rectus abdominis.

Secondary: Serratus anterior.

Execution Technique

  1. Lie on the floor on your right side with your hips and knees bent. Place your left hand behind your head and place your right hand across your body and on obliques.
  2. Placing your hand on your obliques can help you feel the muscles contract and enhance the mind-muscle connection.
  3. Contract your obliques to lift your shoulder off the floor. Hold this position for a second, contracting your obliques as hard as possible.
  4.  Then return to the start position. Complete all reps on the left side and then repeat on the right side.

Tips

  • To make this exercise more difficult, hold a weight plate on your chest.
  • Perform this exercise slow and steadily to work the obliques.
  • Your torso crunches 30 to 45 degrees upward from the floor.

 14. Dumbbell Side Bend

Dumbbell side bends are isolation exercises that target muscle groups on the side of your body—specifically the oblique muscles.

The dumbbell side bend is effective at targeting the internal and external obliques, strengthening the lateral flexion of your spine, improving spinal mobility, and helping to develop a strong and stable core. It is usually performed for relatively high reps, at least 8-12 reps per set or more. It can be performed one side at a time or alternating sides.

The dumbbell side bend is an easy core exercise to practice at home. If you’re new to the exercise, practice the movement with your bodyweight alone. For a more challenging variation, use a kettlebell or a pulley machine for the cable side bend variation.

Dumbbell Side Bend

Muscles Involved

Primary: Obliques, rectus abdominis.

Secondary: Serratus anterior.

Execution Technique

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a dumbbell with a neutral grip in your right hand with your arm hanging at your side. You can place your free hand behind your head.
  2. Bend sideways at the waist to the left as low as possible using your oblique muscles to pull your torso down.
  3. Hold for a second and return to the starting position.
  4. Complete the desired number of reps and repeat on the other side.

Tip

  • Keep the dumbbell close to you side, your elbow very slightly bent, and your hips still.
  • Perform this exercise slow and steadily to work the obliques.
  • Avoid using a heavy dumbbell for this exercise. Large overdeveloped oblique muscles will make your waist appear bulky.
  • Always keep your back straight, eyes facing forwards, and bend at the torso only.

 15. Cable Side Bend

The cable side bend is a core strengthening exercise that specifically targets the obliques. This exercise also improves stability in the lower back and hips.

The cable side bend is simply a variation of the side bend typically performed using dumbbells. It’s utilized to build the oblique muscles of the core, which gives the midsection a more aesthetic appearance and helps to create the V-taper look.

Using cables allows you to change the point where the load is maximized. Cable side bends are more controllable, you can achieve more with less weight, and they allow you to stay within an active range of motion for your obliques. Not only that but as you’re being pulled towards the cable, your hip stabilizers have to work extra hard to resist collapsing into adduction.

Cable Side Bend

Muscles Involved

Primary: Obliques, rectus abdominis.

Secondary: Serratus anterior.

Execution Technique

  1. Attached D-handle to a low pulley and stand side-on to the weight stack.
  2. Grasp the D-handle with your right hand and stand with the pulley to your right side. Your torso should be laterally flexed (bent sideways) towards the pulley, and your arm should be straight and close to your body.
  3. Bend your torso away from the pulley, pulling the D-handle upward.
  4. Slowly lower the D-handle back to the starting position by bending your torso towards the pulley.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Turn around and repeat the cable side bend with your left side.

Tips

  • Keep your arm close to your body and your hips still throughout the exercise.
  • Perform this exercise slowly and steadily to work the obliques.

16. Abs wheel rollout

The wheel rollout exercise is one of the little advanced abs exercises. To build yourself up to it, you can start with the plank and graduate to the wheel rollout when ready. You can also make the exercise easier by performing it up an inclined surface.

Ab wheel rollout exercise is considered to be a great move to assist the development of aesthetic abdominal muscles. They’re also an excellent conditioning exercise for athletes. This ab wheel workout can be used at home or in gyms.

abs roller exercises, improve your overall health and fitness in a variety of ways. Regular dedication to this form of exercise increases your stamina.

Abs wheel rollout

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis, hip flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris).

Secondary: Obliques, Quadriceps, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis, Posterior Deltoid. Erector Spinae

Execution Technique

  1. Kneel on the floor and grasp the ab wheel roller with your hands, your arms should be straight and your torso fairly upright in the start position.
  2. Allow the abs wheel to roll forward as far as possible with just your knees and toes touching the floor while you maintain your grip on this.
  3. The goal is to be as flat as possible in the finish position with your torso and upper legs parallel with the floor and hovering just a couple of inches above it.
  4. Then reverse the motion to pull the abs wheel back toward your knees until your body is upright again. Repeat for as much reps as possible.

Tips

  • Squeeze your abs and glutes throughout the movement for stability.
  • Move within a comfortable range of motion. You should not strain your lower back.
  • Do not allow your hips to sag at any point during the movement.

17. Barbell rollout

The barbell roll-out is one of the best abs exercises that utilize a barbell in the place of an ab roller. It is best performed with a barbell that has rotating collars and is considered more difficult than other ab roller variations.

Many lifters may not be able to perform a single rep at first, but once they can perform these for reps, they’ll be rewarded with a seriously strong core.

Barbell rollout

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis, hip flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris).

Secondary: Obliques, Quadriceps, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis, Posterior Deltoid, Erector Spinae.

Execution Technique

  1. Kneel on the floor in front of a loaded barbell and grab the barbell with an overhand, shoulder-width group.
  2. Your arms should be straight and your torso fairly upright in the start position.
  3. Allow the bar to roll forward as far as possible with just your knees and toes touching the floor while you maintain your grip on the bar.
  4. The goal is to be as flat as possible in the finish position with your torso and upper legs parallel with the floor and hovering just a couple of inches above it.
  5. Then reverse the motion to pull the bar back toward your knees until your body is upright again. Repeat for as many reps as possible.

Tips

  • Squeeze your abs and glutes throughout the movement for stability.
  • Move within a comfortable range of motion. You should not strain your lower back.
  • Do not allow your hips to sag at any point during the movement.

19. Plank

The front plank is a brilliant bodyweight exercise that helps you to develop the strength and stability of your core. Your muscles are exercised isometrically.

The most common plank is the forearm plank which is held in a push-up-like position, with the body’s weight borne on forearms, elbows, and toes. Many variations exist such as the side plank and the reverse plank.

The plank is more of a strength-building exercise than a cardio exercise, engaging a range of muscles can also help to boost your calorie burn.

To make the exercise more difficult, raise one leg off the ground and hold this position before repeating with the other leg.

Plank

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus Abdominis

Secondary: Obliques, Quadriceps, hip flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris).

Execution Technique

  1. Start to get in a pushup position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of on your hands.
  2. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
  3. Brace your core by contracting your abs as if you were about to be punched in the gut.
  4. Hold this position as directed.

Tips

  • Do not let your lower back sag or your butt rise. Ensure your body is straight and rigid.
  • Keep your glutes and core muscles contracted.
  • Your neck should be in line with your body, not tilted up, which could strain the neck.

20. Side Plank

The side plank is one of the best abs exercises for strengthening the oblique abdominal muscles, which don’t get worked as much during abs exercises such as crunches. You will hold your body on your side in a straight position supported only by one arm and the side of one foot. Strong obliques can be quite useful as core stabilization muscles.

If you’re new to planking, you should master the basic forearm plank before moving on to side plank variation.

If you find it hard to hold a side plank, that’s OK. You can try performing the exercise from your knees instead of your feet while you’re building your strength.

Side Plank

Muscles Involved

Primary: Obliques, rectus abdominis.

Secondary: Serratus anterior.

Execution Technique

  1. Get in a side plank position by lying on your right side on the floor with your left foot rested on top of the inner side of your right foot and your left arm rested on top of your left side.
  2. Raise your body by placing your right forearm flat on the floor so that it’s perpendicular to your torso.
  3. Lift your torso until your right upper arm is straight underneath you with your elbow bent 90 degrees and your forearm flat on the floor.
  4. In this position, only your right forearm and the outer side of your right foot are making contact with the floor and your body forms a diagonal line that is at about a 20-degree angle to the floor.
  5. Keep your abs pulled in tight and hold this position for as long as you can and then repeat on the left side.

Tips

  • Keep your legs and body straight.
  • Avoid letting your hips sag during the exercise
  • Squeeze your abs and glutes throughout the movement for stability.

21. Twisting Sit-Up

A decline situp bench positions your upper body at an angle so that it’s lower than your hips and thighs. This positioning causes your body to work harder since you have to work against gravity and through a wider range of motion.

The decline twisting sit-up is an abdominal and oblique exercise made to strengthen your core and build muscle. It’s a great exercise for intermediate to advanced lifters because it’s moderately challenging but very effective for its intended purpose.

Make the decline twisting sit-up easier by either crossing your arms on your chest or performing the exercise on a flat bench.

Make it more difficult by holding a weight plate either behind your head, in your hands, or on your chest. And tilting the bench at a steeper angle also makes the exercise harder.

The decline-twisting sit-up is a perfect isolation exercise when you want to develop the core muscles directly.

Twisting sit-up

Muscles Involved

Primary: Rectus abdominis, obliques.

Secondary: Serratus anterior, hip flexors.

Execution Technique

  1. Sit on the decline bench, hook your feet under the pad, lean back, and position your hands behind your head.
  2. As you sit up, twist your torso, directing your right elbow toward your left knee.
  3. Reverse the motion and lower your torso to the starting position; during the next repetition direct your left elbow toward your right knee.
  4. Keep repeating and alternating the side to which you twist your waist.

Tips

  • Keep your neck in a neutral position.
  • Use a slow, controlled motion to target the muscles. 

Conclusion

For anyone, who is interested in building abs muscles and gaining strength, these abs exercises are highly recommended. It not only allows for targeted muscle development but also provides overall Upper Abs, Lower Abs, Obliques muscle development. It is easy to do and requires no more scientific details. If done consistently, the results will speak by themselves.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your abs Exercises!

Stay Fit, Life a Happy and Healthy Life

Know More About Abs Training

Complete Abs Home Workout (Circuits For Upper Abs, Lower Abs, And Obliques)

Top 20 WEIGHTED ABS EXERCISES For A Lean, Shredded Core

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