There are so many abs exercises to choose from, that it can seem impossible to figure out the right exercises to strengthen your abs. In my opinion, the best way to strengthen your abs is to choose harder and harder exercises to complete, not just complete more and more sets and reps.
I’ve used this progression of abs exercises too many times to count with many people very successfully. It works like a charm and before you know it, you’ll be doing some really advanced abs exercises and have a very strong midsection. In addition to the video instruction, find below more detailed explanations of each exercise with photos for you:
Strengthen Abs Exercises: Knee Crunches
Knee crunches are a beginner exercise that target primarily the upper abs, with some stimulation of the lower abs. I like this exercise because it takes all pressure off the lower back, so you can focus on strengthening your abs. The only downside is that some people feel some strain in their neck as they do this exercise. If that’s the case, just do normal crunches with your feet on the floor, hands behind your head.
Strengthen Abs Exercises: Easy Bicycles
This brings in your lower abs into play more than the Knee Crunches because you have to control one leg with your abs muscles, while the other leg is on the floor. This is a great segue to more challenging abs exercises.
Strengthen Abs Exercises: Bicycles
This is a classic abs exercises that engages your upper and lower abs, along with your obliques (side of you abs complex) because you are twisting. I suggest keeping your legs off the ground only a few inches to emphasize your lower abs. The higher you kick out your legs, the easier the exercise becomes and the more it works your upper abs. I like touching my elbow to my knee to emphasize the contraction, which also makes the exercise harder.
Strengthen Abs Exercises: Reverse Crunches
This exercise is a lot more challenging because you have to keep BOTH your legs up by using your abs muscles. If you have lower back problems, I would be careful with this exercise and only complete it if you feel no pain in your lower back. The lower abs are hit hard with this exercise and at the top of the movement, your upper abs squeeze intensely as well. As you can see in the picture, I’m bringing my knees into my chest and contracting my abs. One last thing, try to keep your heels fairly close to your butt at the top position, don’t allow your heels to swing to high.
Strengthen Abs Exercises: V-Ups
This is one of my favorites because I love the contraction at the top and I can also focus on the lower abs burn. Like with the reverse crunches, be careful with this exercise and only complete it if you feel no pain in your lower back. Some people complete V-Ups by lifting their backs off the ground, but try to keep your back on the floor and just lift your shoulders slightly off the ground, as you can see photo above. Focus on the contraction and don’t use momentum, always slow and controlled. To make it more challenging, you can put a dumbbell between your feet. I use a 10-15lbs dumbell when doing this exercise, but again, be careful with your lower back.
Let me know if you have any questions about any of these exercises by leaving a comment!