Abs exercises

Your abdominals (abs) are located between the pelvis and the chest. They cover the side and the front of the lower part of your upper body near the stomach area.

 

Rectus abdominus: front abs, 6 muscles

Musculus pyramidalis: lower abs, 4 muscles

Musculus obliquus: side abs, 5 muscles on each side

 

Body functions of the abdominals are putting pressure on the stomach to effectuate, amongst other functions, sneezing, peeing and breathing.

In the overview below you see which exercise focuses on which part of the ab muscles:

overview abs exercises abdominals six pack crunh leg raises bicycle swiss ball abs

 

All abs exercises can be divided into 3 different types of exercise: crunches, leg raises and bodyweight and swiss ball exercises.

overview abs exercises abdominals six pack crunh leg raises bicycle swiss ball abs

 

Each exercise below contains a full description, an overview of the muscles that you target and the level of difficulty to perform the exercise. Difficulty: level of complexity regarding the performance and technique of the exercise:

 

Beginner

●○○○○ & ●●○○○

Intermediate

●●●○○ & ●●●●○

Expert

●●●●●

 

Exercises

ab workout crunch

1. Crunch

Lie on your back and bend your knees by moving your feet towards your buttocks. Look straight up, put the tips of your fingers against your temples and hinge forward from your stomach. Keep your back straight during the exercise, do not bend your lower back. Your upper body comes off the floor and your chest moves upwards as much as possible. Keep your back straight and squeeze your abs while performing the crunch. Make sure your feet remain steady on the ground during the exercise.

Target muscle(s): front abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○


ab workout crunch additional weight

2. Crunch additional weight

You perform this crunch just like the ‘normal’ crunch but with additional weight like a dumbbell or a disc. Hold the weight against your chest and perform the crunch. Lie on your back and bend your knees by moving your feet towards your buttocks. Keep your back straight during the exercise, do not bend your lower back. Your upper body comes off the floor and your chest moves upwards as much as possible. Keep your back straight and squeeze your abs while performing the crunch. Make sure your feet remain steady on the ground during the exercise.

Target muscle(s): front abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●○ 


ab workout crunch arm reach

3. Crunch arm reach

Lie on your back and bend your knees by moving your feet towards your buttocks. Look straight up and place your hands on your upper legs. Try to reach as far as possible by performing a crunch and reaching with your hands beyond your knees. Hinge forward from your stomach, keep your back straight and do not bend your lower back. Your upper body comes off the floor and your chest moves upwards as much as possible. Keep squeezing your abs while performing the crunch. Make sure your feet remain steady on the ground during the exercise.

Target muscle(s): front & lower abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○


Ankle tip crunch

4. Ankle tip crunch

Lie on your back and bend your knees by moving your feet towards your buttocks. Look straight up and reach with your left hand towards your left ankle. Then move your upper body to the right in order to reach with your right hand towards your right ankle. Only the upper body moves while performing this exercise.

Target muscle(s): side abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●○


ab workout swiss ball crunch

5. Swiss ball crunch

For this exercise you use the swiss ball. Lie with your back on the ball, with just your buttocks and lower back touching the ball. Perform a crunch by firmly placing your feet on the ground, hinge from your stomach and move your chest upwards. Because of the shape of the ball your abs have to work really hard to compensate the lack of stability. Slowly let your upper body come back to starting position and just before your upper back touches the ball move forward again.

Target muscle(s): front abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●○


ab workout side crunch

6. Side crunch

Lie on your back. Bend your knees by moving your feet towards your buttocks and let both of your knees fall towards the same side. Your upper body is straight like it is when you perform a normal crunch. Look straight up, put the tips of your fingers against your temples and hinge forward from your stomach. Your upper body comes off the floor and your chest moves upwards as much as possible. Make sure your feet remain steady on the ground during the exercise.

Target muscle(s): side abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○


ab workout in-out crunches

7. In-out crunches

Lie on your back with your legs raised and your knees bent. Look straight up and put the tips of your fingers against your temples. Bring your upper body from the floor and bring your chin towards your knees. Make yourself as small as possible. Then stretch out your arms and legs again to make your body as long as possible. Lie on your back in a horizontal position and your arms stretched above your head.

Target muscle(s): front & lower abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●●


ab workout hanging knee raises

8. Hanging knee raises

You perform this exercise at a high bar. Grab the bar with an underhand grip and pull yourself up. Hold that position while you raise your knees towards your chest. Make sure that the rest of your body doesn’t move. Slowly lower your legs again. Try to raise your knees as high as possible.

Target muscle(s): front & lower abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●○


ab workout hanging knee side raises

9. Hanging knee side raises

You perform this exercise at a high bar. Grab the bar with an underhand grip and pull yourself up. Hold that position while you raise your knees towards the side of your body. Both knees go to the same side, lower your legs back to starting position and raise your knees towards the other side of your body. Try to raise your knees as high as possible.

Target muscle(s): front, side & lower abdominals 

Difficulty: ●●●●●


ab workout hanging leg raises

10. Hanging leg raises

You perform this exercise at a high bar. Grab the bar with an underhand grip and pull yourself up. Hold that position while you stretch your legs forward. Make sure that during this exercise your legs remain straight and that your upper body stays in the same position. Only your legs move from the hips. When your legs and upper body form a 90 degree angle lower your legs back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): front & lower abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●○


ab workout hanging leg side raises

11. Hanging leg side raises

You perform this exercise at a high bar. Grab the bar with an underhand grip and pull yourself up. Hold that position while you stretch your legs as far to the side as possible. During this exercise your legs stay together. Both legs move to the same side. Move them as high up as possible and then slowly lower your legs back to starting position. Then move them towards the other side.

Target muscle(s): front, side & lower abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●●


ab workout leg raises

12. Leg raises

Lie on your back with your legs straight against each other. Move them up by flexing from your hip and putting your heels in the air. Your legs remain straight. Move your legs all the way up until they reach a vertical position and your body is in a 90 degree angle. Slowly lower your legs back down to starting position.

Target muscle(s): lower abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○


ab workout medicine ball twist

13. Medicine ball twist

Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent. Then sit up by moving your shoulders and upper back from the floor. Squeeze your abs and point your chest upwards. Hold the medicine ball with two hands and then turn your upper body from left to right. While performing this exercise your back stays off the ground. The ball continues to move from left to right in a smooth rotating motion while your upper body rotates.

Target muscle(s): front & side abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●○


ab workout mountain climbers

14. Mountain climbers

Rest on your hands and feet while keeping your arms straight and your feet close together. Move your knee towards your chest. Your arms remain in the same position. Move your leg back to starting position and perform the same movement with your other knee. The faster you move your legs the harder this exercise gets.

Target muscle(s): front abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●○


ab workout mountain climbers side

15. Mountain climbers side

Rest on your hands and feet while keeping your arms straight and your feet close together. Move your left knee towards your right shoulder. Your arms remain in the same position. Move your leg back to starting position and perform the same movement but now by bringing your right knee towards your left shoulder. The faster you move your legs the harder this exercise gets.

Target muscle(s): side abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●○


ab workout plank

16. Plank

This is a static exercise. Rest on your forearms and toes and make sure that your body is in a horizontal position. Your forearms are placed under your chest and against each other. Hold this horizontal position, don’t let your hips move to close to the ground or let your buttocks stick out too much. Squeeze your abs while performing this exercise.

Target muscle(s): front abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○


ab workout side plank

17. Side plank

This is a static exercise which you perform similar to the normal plank but then rotated 45 degrees to the side. Rest on your forearm and the side of your foot. Keep your body in a straight position during this exercise, don’t let your hip or knee move towards the ground. Squeeze your abs while performing this exercise.

Target muscle(s): side abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○


ab workout v-up

18. V-up

Lie on your back. Stretch out your arms and legs. Then at the same time move your upper body and legs up in the air and try to make your feet and hands touch. Your body is moving into a V shape when both your arms and legs make that motion. When your hands and feet touch slowly lower them back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): front abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○


ab workout raised knee in

19. Raised knee in

Lie on your back with your legs straight. Then move one leg towards your chest while the other leg remains straight. Move your leg back to starting position and repeat this movement with the other leg. Keep your heel of the ground to put more tension on your abs during the exercise.

Target muscle(s): front & side abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○


ab workout flutter kicks

20. Flutter kicks

Lie on your back with your legs straight. Then lift both legs slightly off the ground and move them up and down. Alternately, your left and right feet go up and down. Make sure your heels don’t touch the ground and keep the movement small.

Target muscle(s): front & lower abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○


ab workout bicycle kicks

21. Bicycle kicks

Lie on your back with your legs straight and put the tips of your fingers against your temples. Move one knee towards your chest, bring your upper body up from the ground and at the same time move the opposite elbow towards your knee. Your upper body rotates while performing this movement. Try to make your elbow and knee touch. Lower your leg and upper body back to starting position and repeat this movement with your other leg and elbow.

Target muscle(s): front, lower & side abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●○


ab workout swiss ball plank

22. Swiss ball plank

Place your forearms on the swiss ball. Keep your body straight and balance on your toes and forearms. Keep as still and stable as possible, when your are losing your balance move the swiss ball around to restore your balance. Your toes remain resting on the ground and your body in a straight position.

Target muscle(s): front abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●○


ab workout swiss ball tuck

23. Swiss ball tuck

Rest on your hands with your arms straight and facing the ground. Your feet are placed next to each other on the swiss ball and your body is in a straight decline position. Move your legs towards your body by bending your knees and moving them towards your chest. Bring the ball as close to your chest as possible and then stretch your legs back again. Your hands remain in the same position during this exercise.

Target muscle(s): front & lower abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●●●


ab workou pulse-ups

24. Pulse-ups

Lie on your back in a horizontal position and place your hands underneath your buttocks. Stretch your legs and bring them all the way up. Hinge from your hips and keep pushing your legs up with a small, fast motion. Bring your hips back down a bit and then push them back up again.

Target muscle(s): front & lower abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○


ab workout sitting punches

25. Sitting punches

Sit on the ground with your knees bent. Place your heels on the ground and slightly move back with your upper body to find your balance. Then alternate between your right and left arm and punch forward. Switch between punches in a rapid pace. And rotate your upper body from left to right.

Target muscle(s): front & side abdominals

Difficulty: ●●●○○

 


Comments: 0

Exercises per muscle group:

upper leg muscle group exercises
lower leg muscle group exercises
chest muscle group exercises

Chest

 

back muscle group exercises

Back

 


biceps muscle group exercises
triceps muscle group exercises
shoulders muscle group exercises
abs abdominals muscle group exercises