30 Best Ab Exercises To Sculpt Your Waist
We all can remember the days when we were young and a lot slimmer. You probably look at some of your old pictures and think, “What happened to me?”
So what did happen then? One word, WORK! Trying to find the time to look after yourself and your family and spend time with your friends is almost impossible.
However, if you have decided to make the commitment to your health, then getting a six-pack is a great start.
3 Tips To Get The Best Abs
Abs are made in the kitchen
80% of losing body fat is down to your diet, so even if you are doing these great exercises it still may not be enough for everyone. If your body fat is really low already, skip this section, but if it’s not, then you must give up processed foods.
Processed foods are anything that has been modified in some way, and includes foods like sausages, crisps, ready meals, canned foods and junk food. This is not an exhaustive list of processed foods as there are 100’s, but hopefully, this helps make it easy to identify processed foods.
Train your legs
When you train your legs you get the largest release of growth hormone and testosterone, which are key hormones for reducing body fat.
Drink 5 litres of water every day
Water retention can stop your abs from looking ripped. Water retention happens when you don’t drink enough water a day and as a result your body stores extra water around your stomach and in your cells in general.
By drinking 5 litres of water a day, your body flushes out toxins but also causes your body to stop retaining water as it now knows that there is an abundance of water available.
My Top 30 Exercises For The Abdominal Muscles
1) The Belly Buster
This is one of the hardest exercises for the abdominals. You feel it both in your lower abdominal muscles and your upper abdominals. This exercise should be done slowly for best effect.
Cross your leg over one of your knees and bring your extended leg as close to your chest as possible by pulling from your hip. Make sure you bend your trunk as though you are doing an ab curl to maximise the burn.
2) Ab Curl
This is one of the oldest and most well known abdominal exercises ever. However, it’s an exercise you must have in your ab routine.
There are 3 levels of difficulty with this exercise, based upon where you put your hands. You can either have your hands on your knees, arms crossed or on your forehead.
Start with your hands in one of the three positions, and have your shoulders off the floor, with your feet hip width apart, curl your body towards your knees, with your lower back off the floor.
3) Oblique Twist Bent
The obliques are the muscles on the side of your trunk next to where your six-pack is. This exercise will help get rid of those love handles.
Start with knees and hips at a 90-degree angle. Have your right arm out to the right and your left arm to the left. Lower your legs to the floor by rotating your hips and trunk, while your shoulders remain on the floor. Make sure you maintain the 90-degree angle at your knees and hips at all times.
Repeat by rotating your feet to the other side.
4) Legs Apart Ab Curl
Because of the position of your legs, you feel this exercise in your abdominal, your lower abdominal will be engaged because of your leg position.
Start with your shoulders off the floor and legs apart, as shown in the picture below. Curl until your hands can go through your legs. Return to the start position and then repeat.
5) Knee Tucks
This exercise is very dynamic and one of the best for working both the lower and upper abdominals. This exercise requires good abdominal strength and will greatly increase the definition of your stomach.
Start with your shoulders two inches off the floor, and your legs six inches off the floor and fully extended. Curl your upper body as high as you can whilst bringing your knees as close to your chest as you can.
Return to the start position by lowering your body and legs at the same time, without letting your shoulders or legs rest on the floor. Keep repeating this movement.
6) Bicycle Abs
This exercise is for the lower and upper abdominal muscles as well as the obliques. When this exercise is done well you will really feel the burn.
Start with your shoulders and arms in the same position as knee tucks. Have your hands on your temple, bring one of your knees as close to your chest as you can, while rotating your body until your elbow touches your knee.
Rotate your upper body in the opposite direction while returning your leg to full extension, as your leg returns to full extension bring your other knee to your chest. Repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.
7) Ankle Touches
This exercise works the muscles down the side of your body. Also because your shoulders are raised off the floor, it works your upper abdominals.
Start with your shoulders three inches off the floor. Have your feet six to eight inches further than your arm’s length, side bend until your hands touch your ankles. Slowly return to your start position while keeping your shoulders off the floor. Repeat this exercise on the other side.
Not only does this exercise improve your core stability, but it also will strengthen your triceps muscles as well. Because your body is constantly moving up and down, your core will work harder than if you just do the plank.
Feet are hip width apart, have only your toes and elbows on the floor. Extend one arm by placing your palm on the floor and straightening your arm, then extend the other arm in the same way until you are in the position shown in the picture below.
Reverse your movement by placing one elbow on the floor and then the other. Repeat this movement until you have done the desired amount of repetitions. At all times, make sure your shoulders, hips and ankles are all in a straight line, as shown below.
This exercise is great for building core strength as it teaches you to activate your transverse abdominals. This type of exercise is known as a functional exercise.
At all times, make sure you pull your belly button in, and keep it pulled in for the duration of the exercise. This is a static exercise and requires you just to hold this position for a certain period of time.
Make sure your ankles, hips, and shoulders are in perfect alignment with each other, and have only your feet and elbows in contact with the floor, as shown in the picture.
10) Inchworm Plank
This exercise builds from the plank. It is a functional exercise that requires you to activate your transverse abdominal muscles all the way through the movement.
Start in a press up position, with just your feet and hands on the floor and your body elevated. Slowly walk your feet towards your hands, while drawing your belly button in.
When you get your feet as close to your hands as you can, jump your feet back to the start position (plank). Keep repeating the movement for the desired amount of repetitions.
11) Single Leg Pike
A great exercise for your lower stomach. Although the movement is very small, the effect is profound. If this is done correctly, your lower abs will be like steel.
12) Oblique Twist Advanced
The main difference between this oblique twist and the previous one is that the legs remain straight which gives your body a longer lever and increases the difficulty.
Have your legs straight in the air and your right arm out to the right and your left arm to the left. Lower your legs to the floor by rotating your hips and trunk, while your shoulders remain on the floor. Make sure you maintain the 90-degree angle at your knees and hips at all times.
Repeat by rotating your feet to the other side.
This is one of the hardest abdominal exercises for your lower and upper abs because of the length of your levers (legs and arms straight).
It’s a great exercise for overall conditioning, and for getting a six-pack. Start with your arms extended above the head and your feet fully extended.
Your hands and feet must be off the floor at all times. Start by lifting your legs and your body from the floor until your hands and feet meet above your hips by touching, then return to the start position and repeat the exercise.
The end position will look different for everyone, depending on each person’s flexibility.
14) Plank Scorpions
This is another dynamic plank exercise. Not only does this work your core, it also works your obliques.
Start in the plank position. Bend your right knee and raise your leg 3 inches into the air. Rotate your hips until your right foot touches the floor.
Make sure you do not move your leg, it should just be the rotation from your body that causes your foot to touch the floor. Return your foot back to the floor by reversing the movement then alternate legs.
15) Shoulder Touches
This is another exercise that is great for core stability but also builds your shoulder stability. Start in the plank position. Remove one of your hands from the floor and touch your opposite shoulder.
Hold for 3 seconds before returning your hand back to the floor and repeat with the other arm. When you have just one hand in contact with the floor it increases the work of your core muscles, as you are less stable.
16) Plank Spider-man
This exercise works your obliques and your deeper abdominal muscles. Start in the press up position and bring your knee as close to your rib cage as you can.
Make sure you keep your stomach pulled in at all times, and alternate legs with this exercise.
17) Plank With Hip Dips
Start in the plank position like in exercise 9. Keep your elbows on the floor at all times, while rotating your hips from side to side.
Get your hips as close to the floor as you possibly can. This will vary depending on your flexibility, but whatever your flexibility is you feel your oblique muscles working.
18) Plank Crunches.
Start in the same position as you would for the plank in exercise 9. Raise your hips in the air, and return to the start position.
This is a great core exercise, as it requires you to maintain TVA activation while your trunk is moving. This makes it more functional than the plank.
19) Side Oblique Curl With Double Leg Raises
This exercise is another great exercise to isolate your oblique muscles when done properly. One common mistake that people make is they bend their knees towards their chest.
You want to make sure your knees are travelling vertically rather than horizontally. You can also use the arm on the floor to raise your body upwards to work your obliques through a bigger range of motion.
20) Side Oblique Crunch
During this exercise, you keep your legs anchored to the floor and you let your trunk side bend as high as it can. Keep one hand on your temple and the other arm helps push your upper-body up.
Try and make sure that your body only side bends and doesn’t rotate or bend forward.
21) Russian Twist
This exercise works the lower stomach as well as the obliques. Lean back to about 45 degrees and raise your feet off the floor.
Rotate your body to the side, making sure that the whole of your trunk rotates rather than just your arms moving alone.
As your body rotates, your legs rotate in the opposite direction without ever touching the floor.
22) Side oblique Curl With Single Leg Raise
The oblique muscles become active when you side bend the trunk and becomes activated when you raise your legs while you are lying down.
In this exercise, both the trunk and leg are raised to ensure the obliques get the best level of activation. Make sure that the body only moves in one plane of motion by only side bending.
23) Side Plank Crunches
Lie on your side with one elbow on the floor and your feet. Make sure your shoulder, hip and ankles are in alignment for the start position.
From the start position, raise your hips as high as you can and then lower your hips one inch from the floor. Continue this movement until you have completed the amount of reps for the set.
24) Side Plank Oblique Twist
Start in the side plank position like in exercise 23. However, rather than raising your hips up and down, you should maintain this hip position and ankle position and focus on rotating your trunk towards the floor.
This exercise works the obliques and is extremely effective.
25) Side Plank Star
There are two things that make this exercise harder than a normal plank. One is the fact that you have your top leg raised as high as your flexibility allows, this engages more muscles in the obliques and glutes.
The second thing is that having your arms and leg raised decreases your stability and places more work on your muscles.
26) Side Plank With Abdominal Reach
Similar to the side plank and oblique twist but the major difference is that you allow your hips to rotate with your trunk. This is a great oblique exercise.
27) Side Plank
This is a great exercise for the obliques and is one of the exercises that you need to be able to do before moving on to more advanced exercises.
You should be able to draw a straight line between the ankle, hips and shoulder. Once you have this position you have to hold this position statically. Only your elbow and foot should be in contact with the floor.
28) Straight Leg Ab Curl
This is an exercise that works the main part of your abdominal muscles. Start with your feet in the air with your feet together.
Extend your arms and bend your trunk till your fingers either touch your toes or get as close to your toes as your flexibility allows. You should feel this in your upper abs. Return to the start position and repeat.
29) Side Way Scissors
This is one of the best exercises for the lower abs. If you get lower back pain or have a weak back, either avoid this exercise or place your hands under your back.
Keep your back flat to the floor and keep your lower back flat. Raise your feet 12 to 18 inches from the floor and criss-cross your legs as fast as you can until you complete your set.
30) Vertical Scissors
Similar to the side way scissors, avoid this exercise if you suffer from back pain or if you feel strain on your lower back. Keep your lower back in contact with the floor at all times.
Keep your head back and pull your belly button in. Kick your legs up and down. The closer you get your feet to the floor the harder the exercise will be.