We continue our comprehensive guide of 66 best ab workouts for women and men, together with illustrations and instructions. Stay with us through some of the best ab exercises in the world (bodybuilding, bodyweight, yoga for abs and Exercise ball workouts). There are numerous ways you can work out your abs. Look at our illustrations and add your favorites to your routine. Furthermore, the illustrations will show you exactly which muscles you are training with each exercise. You can find Part 1 of this article here. It took a massive effort on our part to bring you these and we hope you’ll enjoy them!
34. Best Ab Workouts – Ab Crunch Machine
Selecting a light resistance on the ab machine, place your feet under the pads and grab the top handles. The arms should be bent at a 90 degree angle as you rest the triceps on the designated pads. Breathing out, simultaneously, start to lift the legs up as you crunch your upper torso. Use slow and controlled motion. Concentrate on using your abs to move the weight while keeping your legs and feet relaxed. After a second of pause, slowly return to the starting position as you breathe in.
35. Best Ab Workouts – Bench Crunch with a Twist
Lie on the floor with the lower part of your legs propped on an exercise bench. Relaxing your legs, place one thumb behind each ear so that your fingertips touch behind your head but aren’t clasped. Lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor in one motion, exhaling as you lift. With your shoulder blades off the floor, rotate your torso to the left, leading with your right shoulder. Rotate back to the center, then to the right (leading with your left shoulder), then back to center and return to starting position. As you lift and twist, contract your abdominals. Strengthens the rectus abdominus and obliques.
36. Best Ab Workouts – Decline Reverse Crunch
Lying on your back on a decline bench, get a grip on the top of the bench with both hands and hold your body steady in this position. Place your legs parallel to the floor using your abs to hold them there while keeping the knees and feet together – fully extended with a slight bend on the knee. Now, while exhaling, move your legs towards the torso as you roll your pelvis backwards and raise your hips off the bench. At the end of the movement the knees should be close to touching the chest. Hold the contraction for a second then move your legs back to the starting position while inhaling.
37. Best Ab Workouts – Extended Leg Crunches (Leg Up)
A variation of the extended leg crunch we showed in Part 1, with one key difference. You start with your hands extended above your head and one leg on the floor, while the other remains bended at the knee. Simultaneously, progressively rise your torso bringing your extended hands in from of you and the extended leg on the floor until you can touch your toes with the extended hands. Make sure the extended leg is not flex, but kept straight at all times. Get back to the starting position and repeat for the other leg.
38. Best Ab Workouts – Decline Bench Sit-Ups
Secure your legs against the pad, holding your body in place by hooking your feet under the pad. Next, place your hands lightly on either side of your head keeping your elbows in, but don’t lock the fingers behind the head. Exhale and curl away from the bench all the way up, bringing your torso completely off the bench. Focus on slow, controlled movement – don’t cheat yourself by using momentum. After the one second contraction, begin to come down slowly again to the starting position as you inhale. You can modify the exercise and do crunches instead of sit-ups to avoid extorting your back. Instead of going all the way up, pushing down with your lower back, raise your shoulders about 4 inches of the bench while contracting your abdominals and exhaling.
39. Best Ab Workouts – Oblique Rotation on Parallel Bars
Begin by stepping in between parallel bars and placing your arms on the rests allowing your legs to hang and extend down below you. As soon as you are in position, bring your knees towards your chest up to a 90 degree angle. Start to rotate your pelvis sideways at the top of the movement to really engage the obliques. You may also straighten your legs to increase the difficulty of this movement.
40. Best Ab Workouts – Side Bend on A Hyperextension Bench
Lie sideways on the Roman chair (or on a 45 degree hyperextension bench) with your hips on the seat and your trunk unsupported. Adjust the seat so that your upper body can pivot comfortably at your hips toward the floor. Keep your legs together and secure your feet on the support platform. Place your hands behind your head, but don’t lock fingers. Lean slowly sideways towards the floor as far as possible and comfortable. When your upper body is at least parallel to the floor flex your obliques hard as you return to your starting position. After completing the set, repeat the action with the other side.
41. Best Ab Workouts – Standing Twist Machine
Start out by standing on a twist machine with feet hips apart and holding the pads. Assume a normal posture, with your back straight. Exhale and using your abdominal muscles twist the pelvis slowly to your right, as further as you can, tensing your abs. Keep your head and upper torso in their starting position – immobile. Hold the stretch for several seconds and return to your starting position while inhaling. Perform the stretch on the other side, this time turning to your left, as far as you can without moving your head and upper torso
42. Best Ab Workouts – Twisting Hanging Leg Raise
Grab a pullup bar with an overhand grip with your hands a couple of inches wider than the width of your shoulders. Allow your body to hang straight, and then bend your knees (slightly) and hips to lift your legs until your waist, then twist and raise your legs to one side, keeping your legs extended, with knees slightly bent. Return to the original hanging position and then lift and twist your legs to the other side. The twisting in this hanging legs rise variation from the Part 1 of this article provides more work for your obliques. To challenge yourself further, don’t return to the starting hanging position, but instead stop when your legs become parallel to the ground and then twist on the other side and raise the legs.
43. Best Ab Workouts – Standing Barbell Twist
The standing barbell twist exercise focuses on your obliques. Grab a light barbell and rest it on the muscle on the back of your neck, keeping your head facing forward. Make sure not to rest the weight on your neck. Stand up straight, with your feet firmly on the floor at a wider than shoulder width stance, keeping your back straight. Slowly twist your torso to the right and then to the left. Tense up your mid-section. Twist as far as possible. Do not move your head with the twist, but keep eyes facing forward. Try to keep your abs tight throughout the whole set.
44. Best Ab Workouts – Side Crunches on a Roman Chair
Sit on a roman chair and tuck your feet behind the padded bar. Lean back, keeping your back straight until your torso is in line with your hips. Place your hands behind your head, with your elbows on the inside. Exhale and engage your abdominals in a crunch and raise your torso, moving your right elbow to the left knee. Hold the contraction for a second, then, inhaling, return to the starting position, but do not rest your torso on the bench (as shown on the first illustration). Keep the movements slow and controlled. Repeat the same on the other side, by bringing the felt elbow to your right knee.
45. Best Ab Workouts – Standing Oblique Twists with Plate
During this exercise your stand with your feet hip-width apart, while holding the weight with both hands. Bring your arms at your chest, then, using your abs, twist your torso as you bring your arms to the left side of your body, then the right. Keep your body still during the motion; only your torso moves. Exhale on the turns, inhale when coming back.
46. Fitball Exercises – Jackknife
Let’s do some Fitball Exercises! Begin with your shoelaces on the top of the ball and upper body fully extended in push up position. Tighten your abs, keep your upper body steady, and pull the ball into your chest using your lower abs. Maintain a flat lower back throughout, resisting any tendency to arch it when pulling in. Hold the contraction for 1 second, roll the ball back out to starting position, and repeat. As this gets easier, increase the number of reps per set.
47. Fitball Exercises – One Leg Extension
One of our favourite Fitball exercises! Lie on your upper back with the hands extended on the floor for balance and one leg extended in the air, the other flexed at the knee on an exercise ball. The bottom of your foot is on the ball, which is close to your hip on the starting position. Tensing your abs, exhale, and keeping your balance, use the flexed leg to roll the ball until your leg is extended forwards. Return to the starting position as you inhale. Alternate sides after each completed set.
48. Fitball Exercises – Raised Legs Crunch
Continuing with Fitball exercises, next is the raised legs crunch. Lying flat on your back with the arms behind your head and squeezing a Fitball in between your legs, flexed at the knees. Raise the ball with your feet extending them in the air and exhaling, raise your shoulders of the floor tensing your abs. Hold the contraction for a second, then inhale and return to the starting position.
49. Fitball Exercises – Sitting Twists
Sit upright on a Fitball, placing your hands behind your head and planting your feet firmly on the ground. This is your starting position. Slowly turn to the side while exhaling, bringing your left elbow to your right knee by using your waist and tensing your abdomen, while keeping the legs immobile and balancing on the ball. Hold the contraction for a second then return to the starting position while inhaling and do the same on the opposite side.
50. Best Ab Workouts – Flexed Knees Up
In this simple exercise for beginners, you start by laying with your back flat on the floor, keeping the legs together and extended. Keep your arms extended along your body with palms on the floor for balance. From this starting position, exhaling, raise both of your legs and bending them at the knee in the air move them towards your waist until your knees are above your pelvis and you feel a stretch in your abs. Hold the contraction then return back to the starting position, breathing in.
51. Best Ab Workouts – Alternate Heel Touchers
Lie on the floor with the knees bent and the feet on the floor around 20 inches apart. Your arms are extended by your side. Crunch over your torso forward and up about 3-4 inches to the right side and touch your right heel as you hold the contraction for a second. Exhale while performing this movement. Now go back slowly to the starting position as you inhale. Now crunch over your torso forward and up around 3-4 inches to the left side and touch your left heel as you hold the contraction for a second. Exhale while performing this movement and then go back to the starting position as you inhale.
52. Best Ab Workouts – Crunch Bench Oblique Crunches
Secure your legs at the end of the decline bench and slowly lay down on the bench. Raise your upper body off the bench until your torso is about 30-40 degrees if measured from the floor and put both hands behind your head. Raise your upper body slowly while turning your torso to the left. Continue crunching up as you exhale taking your right elbow close to your left knee. Hold this contracted position for a second. Lower your body back down slowly to the starting position as you inhale and repeat on the other side. Focus on keeping your abs tight and keeping the movement slow and controlled.
53. Best Ab Workouts – Dancer’s Twist
The Dancer’s twists is similar to the Ballet Twist – side stretching in a modified half-crunch. Sit on the floor extending one leg and bending the other, while supporting yourself with your hands behind you. Keep your abs engaged as you exhale and twist your torso and bring one arm over the bended knee, leaving the other hand in its place for support. Hold the contraction of your abs to support your spine as you return to center, inhaling.
54. Best Ab Workouts – Decline Ab Reach
Set a decline bench at a height of between 30 and 45 degrees. The higher you set the bench the more challenging the exercise will be. Position yourself on the bench with your head at the lowest end. Get into the starting position by putting your hands together pointing at the ceiling and raising your shoulder blades slightly off the bench. Keeping your hands together, reach straight up towards the ceiling as far as possible. Pause, then lower yourself back to the starting position (with your shoulder blades off the bench).
55. Best Ab Workouts – V-Up
Begin lying face-up on the floor with your legs stretched up straight and your arms reaching up over your head. Keeping your feet and hands extended, contract your abs in a crunch as you exhale; use the strength of your core to lift your torso and legs off the ground, as if bringing your hands and feet together and reaching for your toes. Imagine that you are trying to lift your whole body off the ground so that you end with just your tailbone touching the floor. This isn’t exactly possible, but that’s the essence of the movement and the direction that you want to go. Return to the ground with your hands and feet in their starting position and repeat.
56. Best Ab Workouts – Sit-Up Reach
You start by laying with your back flat on the floor, keeping the legs bent and feet planted on the floor for stability. From this starting position, exhaling, take both of your hands and keeping them extended move them towards your knees and feel a stretch in your abs, then return back to the starting position, breathing in.
57. Best Ab Workouts – Reverse Crunch
Lie down on the floor with your legs fully extended and arms to the side of your torso with the palms on the floor. Keep your arms stationary for the entire exercise. Move your legs up so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and feet are together and parallel to the floor. While inhaling, move your legs towards the torso as you roll your pelvis backwards and you raise your hips off the floor. At the end of this movement your knees will be touching your chest. Hold the contraction for a second and move your legs back to the starting position while exhaling.
58. Best Ab Workouts – Bicycle Crunches
Sit on the floor with your feet extended in approximately 60 degree angle and your arms extending sideways from your torso. Tensing your abs and exhaling, bring your right hand towards your left foot until you touch it. Go back to the initial position as you breathe in and do likewise with the left hand and the right foot.
59. Yoga for Abs – Warrior Pose
Let’s do some Yoga for abs! Start from a standing position, stepping your feet wide apart, your hands on your thighs. Turn your torso and left leg to the left. With the left knee bent, engage the legs to ground down through the feet. Make sure the left knee is directly over the left ankle. Relax the shoulders down and draw the shoulder blades towards the spine to open the chest. Raise the arms over the head with the palms facing each other. Keep the shoulders relaxed and the chest lifted. Keep breathing and hold for 3-6 breaths. To release, exhale and lower the hands down to the floor.
60. Yoga for Abs – Downward Facing Dog
Stand on four limbs, such that your body forms a table-like structure. Now lower your pelvis slightly and extend the hand in front of you, as shown in the second illustration, feeling a stretch in your back, arm and chest muscles. For the final phase, exhale and gently lift your hips and straighten your elbows and knees. You need to ensure your body forms an inverted ‘V’. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders, and your feet in line with your hips. Make sure that your toes point outwards. Now, press your hands into the ground and lengthen your neck. Your ears should touch your inner arms, and you should turn your gaze to your navel. Hold for a few seconds, and then, bend your knees and return to the table position.
61. Yoga for Abs – Standing Spread Leg Forward Fold
Start from a standing position. Step your feet wide apart. Turn your toes slightly in and your heels slightly out so the edges of your feet are parallel to the edges of your mat. Bring the palms together in front of you. Inhale and lengthen your torso, reaching the crown of your head up toward the ceiling. Exhaling, fold forward at the hips. Keep the front of your torso long, your neck straight. Shift your weight slightly forward onto the balls of your feet. Lengthen your spine on your inhalations and fold deeper on your exhalations. Hold for up to one minute. Press firmly through your feet and inhale to lift your torso with a flat back. Step your feet together and return to the starting position.
62. Yoga for Abs – Half Moon Pose
On a mat, bend your torso downward, keeping your feet wide apart, right arm on the floor, the left on the hip along your torso. Now with the right foot forward, inhale and step forward onto it, straightening the right leg. Straighten the left leg up parallel to the floor. Staring at a point on the floor, place the right palm directly under the right shoulder. Roll the left hip up and back so the hips face the side wall. Raise the fingertips on your left had up towards the ceiling. Turn the head to face the side wall. Try to keep the whole torso facing the side wall. Breathe and hold for 3-5 breaths. To release: exhale and slowly bring both hands back to the floor and step the foot back into the starting position. Repeat on other side to complete the exercise.
63. Yoga for Abs – Revolved Side Angle Pose
Start with your right leg forward and the left knee on the ground, the torso straight up. On an exhale, place your palms together and twist over your right thigh. Hook the left triceps over the right quadriceps. Press your palms together to open further and extend your left leg behind you for support. Open your arms up. Place the left fingertips on your mat or plant the palm alongside your foot. Lift your right arm up, palm facing down, and draw it forward beside your ear. Hold here. Come out by drawing your hands into prayer. On an exhale, press into your feet and lift back up to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.
64. Yoga for Abs – Standing Forward Bend
Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees slightly and fold your torso over your legs, moving from the hips, not the lower back. Place your hands next to your feet or on the ground in front of you. Inhale and extend your chest to lengthen your spine. Keep your gaze directed forward. Exhale and gently press both legs toward straight. Lift the kneecaps and gently spiral your upper, inner thighs back. Keep your legs straight without hyperextending. On an exhalation, extend your torso down without rounding your back. Stay long throughout your neck, extending the crown of your head toward the ground. Move your hands down behind the legs.
65. Yoga for Abs – Triangle Pose
From a standing position with the legs three feet apart, turn the right toes to the right wall and the left toes slightly inwards. Inhale and press the left hips out to the left as you slide both arms to the right parallel to the floor. Exhale and rotate only the arms, raising the left arm up and resting the right hand against the right leg, with the palms facing forward. Press into the feet, pull up the kneecaps, keeping the legs strong. Reach the fingertips away from each other, bringing the arms into one straight line with the shoulders stacked on top of each other. Press the left hip forward and the right hip back. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths. To release: inhale and reach the raised hand up towards the ceiling as you press down into the feet using the whole body to lift back into the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
66. Yoga for Abs – Wide-legged Forward Bend
Start from a standing position, stepping your feet wide apart, your hands on your thighs. With a flat back exhale forward bringing the palms to the floor under the shoulders. Use the arms to pull the forehead down towards the floor, bending the elbows towards the back wall. Press into the feet, lengthening the legs to press the hips up toward the ceiling. Feel the spine being pulled in opposite directions as you press the head down and lift the hips up. Breathe and hold for 3-8 breaths. To release, reach the arms out to the sides and inhale back up into the starting position.
This was our last ab workout and the end of our abs guide. Hope you enjoyed it and don’t forget to share!
“Authors and Contributors”: Boban85; [email protected] – Morikawa87; [email protected] – Melissabell7; [email protected] – Mellbell5; [email protected] – Ana56382; [email protected] – Mieko55; [email protected] – Hisashi49; [email protected] – Hiroyuki84; [email protected] – Manabu81; [email protected] – Sorato09; [email protected] – Haru012; [email protected] – Senayo15; [email protected] – Aimorikawa83; [email protected] – Gotousan52; [email protected]
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