Top 5 most effective ab exercises you need to start now to get toned before Christmas

1.       Bicycle Exercise

The most effective ab exercises start with the bicycle, which is the best move for targeting the rectus abdominis (i.e., the ‘six pack’) and the obliques (the waist), according to a study.

  • Lie face up on your mat and place your hands behind your head, lightly supporting it with your fingers.
  • Bring the knees in to the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the floor without pulling on the neck.
  • Rotate to the left, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee as you straighten the other leg.
  • Switch sides, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
  • Continue alternating sides in a ‘pedaling’ motion for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.

View this video for more detailed instructions.

2.       Exercise Ball Crunch

The exercise ball is an excellent tool to strengthen the abs and is the third most effective move for targeting the rectus abdominis. What makes this move a bit more effective than crunches on the floor is that the legs are often involved in floor crunches. On the ball, the abs do more work, but you still involve the entire body to help stabilize you throughout the movement, a nice bonus that floor crunches don’t always offer.

  • Lie on the ball, positioning it under the lower back.
  • Cross your arms over the chest or place them behind your head.
  • Contract your abs to lift your torso off the ball, pulling the bottom of your ribcage down toward your hips.
  • As you curl up, keep the ball stable (i.e., the ball shouldn’t roll).
  • Lower back down, getting a stretch in the abs, and repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.

View this exercise here:

3.       Vertical Leg Crunch

The vertical leg crunch is another effective move for the rectus abdominis and the obliques. It’s similar to a regular crunch, but your legs are straight up, forcing you to use your abs to do all the work and adding intensity to the exercise.

  • Lie on the floor and extend the legs straight up with knees crossed.
  •  Place your hands behind the head for support, but avoid pulling on the neck.
  •  Contract the abs to lift the shoulder blades off the floor, as though reaching your chest towards your feet.
  •  Keep the legs in a fixed position and imagine bringing your belly button towards your spine at the top of the movement.
  •  Lower and repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.

Watch video here:

4.       Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch focuses on the rectus abdominis. With this move, you’re curling the hips off the floor, so you’ll feel this in the lower part of the abs. The key to this move is to avoid swinging the legs to raise the hips. This is a small, subtle move, so you only need to lift your hips a few inches off the floor.

  • Lie on the floor and place hands on the floor or behind the head.
  • Bring the knees in towards the chest until they’re bent to 90 degrees, with feet together or crossed.
  • Contract the abs to curl the hips off the floor, reaching the legs up towards the ceiling.
  • Lower and repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
  • It’s a very small movement, so try to use your abs to lift your hips rather than swinging your legs and creating momentum.

View this exercise here:

5.       Plank on Elbows and Toes

The plank exercise is a great way to build endurance in both the abs and back, as well as the stabilizer muscles. This move is also great for building strength for pushups, an exercise that requires quite a bit of core strength.

  • Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
  • Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
  • Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
  • Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
  • Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.

View this exercise here:

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2 thoughts on “Fabulous Abs in 6 Weeks”

  1. Thanks for this! I am going to try this at home, i ave always done situps the way they taught in school but i find they are getting me nowhere. I hope your tips will help me trim my waist line sooner rather than later.

  2. I agree that the plank is one of the most effective exercises to build core strength. The great thing about it is that you can do it while watching TV at home! I usually try to hold plank until the end of one commercial or part thereof.

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