Abdominal exercises are one of the most sought after strength training exercises. The abs are part of your core muscles and keeping these strong are important to minimize injuries.
Everyone is looking for ways to get the ultimate six pack abs by searching for the most effective and best ab exercises.
Here on this site you will find several ab exercises with step by step instructions. The links on this page are all for the abominal muscles and are explained on three different pages.
All the instructions are grouped into three different pages. The first, abdominal crunches, will work primarily the rectus abdominis muscle. The next group are the oblique exercises. As the name suggests, these will primarily target your oblique (or side) abdominal muscles. The last group are the transverse abdominal instructions. As you have already figured out, these will work the deep abdominal muscle known as the transversus abdominis.
Each group is a series of five to six different exercises complete with step by step instructions.
In the abdominal crunches instruction series you will find the traditional crunch as well as many variations of crunches.
While the primary mover for these exercises are the rectus abdominis, also known as the six pack, you will also be engaging other muscles while doing these workouts. Many of these also engage the obliques, transverse abdominals and back muscles.
The exercises include are;
To see the instructions, check out the abdominal crunches page.
With these abdominal exercises you will be doing a lot of twisting and turning. It is this twisting motion that really works the oblique muscles. You will also be toning your six pack and transverse abdominals with this series of stomach exercises.
These different moves include the following;
To see the instructions, go to the oblique exercises page.
The last of the abdominal exercises will strengthen your transverse abdominals. This is the deep muscle that is your anatomical girdle. Keeping this muscle strong will help minimize injuries from heavy lifting.
The workouts included for this muscle group include;
To see the instructions for these, go to the Transverse Abdominal Exercises page.
Do you know what the best ab exercises are? Many people believe that a basic crunch is one of the best ways to flatten your stomach. In fact, people will do 100 or more crunches in record time thinking this is the best way to get fab abs. Although the traditional crunch is effective, you may be surprised to learn that this stomach workout fell in the bottom 3 (of 13) abdominal exercises studied in a research.
The study was conducted by Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University to measure the effectiveness on the rectus abdominus and in the oblique muscles. In this study, sponsored by the American Council of Exercise (ACE), 13 common abdominal exercises, including some commonly used abdominal exercise equipment, were compared and then ranked from best to worst.
This study included 30 healthy men and women varying from ages 20 to 45 with different current exercise habits. Some were avid exercisers while others were just occasional exercisers. To measure the effectiveness of each exercise, electromyography equipment was used.
During the study, each participant was allowed to practice each exercise and each exercise was introduced at random. After the practice set, the participants performed 10 to 12 repetitions of the said exercise. The results were then gathered and analyzed.
The top most effective and the best abdominal exercise is the bicycle maneuver. Surprised? Well, after I do the bicycle move, I can feel the muscles in many areas.
This abdominal exercise works all the major stomach muscles. You can feel it in the obliques, the rectus abdominus (or your six pack) as well as the transverse abdominus.
Following close behind as the best ab exercises were the Captains Chair coming in second and the Exercise Ball Crunch taking third. They are grouped by activity in the Rectus Abdominus and the Obliques.
Below is the full list of the 13 exercises included in this study from top to bottom for the rectus abdominis and top to bottom for the oblique muscles.
Best Ab Exercise to the Worst
Activity in Rectus Abdominus
Activity in Obliques
Although this study ranked the bicycle crunch as the best abdominal exercise, it also states that all exercises did show results of being effective at working your abdominal muscles; some were just more effective than others. The key thing here is whichever exercise you choose, whether it be the basic crunch or the best abdominal exercise, remember to do it right. You don’t have to use fancy equipment to be effective.
To see the full study as referenced in this article, visit acefitness.org. This link will take you to the PDF file of this study.
There are six different abdominal muscles of the anterior abdominal wall;
The rectus abdominus, two external oblique muscles on each side, two internal oblique muscles on each side and the transverse abdominus muscle.
These muscles extend from various places on the ribs to various places on the pelvis and provide movement and support to the trunk.
The rectus abdominus is the muscle that is generally referred to as a “six pack”. Although many refer to this as the lower ab and upper ab it is actually one long muscle.
It is located between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis. The main purpose of this muscle is to move the body between the rib cage and the pelvis.
There are 2 external oblique muscles located on each side of the rectus abdominus. These muscles allow your body to twist, but to the opposite side of whichever muscle is contracting. So, to twist to the left, you are contracting the right external oblique muscle.
There are also 2 internal oblique muscles located just inside the hip bones. These muscles are also used to aid in twisting the body, however, they work opposite of the external obliques.
For instance, to turn the body to the right, you would be contracting the right internal oblique muscle but the left external oblique muscle.
This is the deepest muscle layer and it’s main role is to stabilize the trunk and to maintain abdominal pressure. This is the most overlooked abdominal muscle when people are doing ab exercises. It is one of the most critical muscles as it helps to strengthen the core and reduce or minimize lower back pain.
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Back Strengthening Exercises
After working your core abdominal muscles, be sure to workout your back as well.