Finally I was able to finish the conclusion to my best abs exercises series. If you haven’t already, you can read the Top 10 Best Abs Exercises Part 1. Then don’t forget to hit the Top 10 Best Abdominal Exercises Part 2.
Here is my list of the second 5 of my favorite 10 ab exercises that you can use to get 6-pack abs. Perform these exercises on a regular basis, mix them up, use different speeds, tempos, angles, and positions to get a full workout. Always try to mix it up from workout to workout.
Here are 3 ways you can combine these exercises for different workouts:
- Choose 5 exercises that work in different plains of motion and perform them all in a continuous circuit. Rest only 1 minute after the circuit and not at all during the circuit. Repeat 3 times.
- Figure out a way to alter each of these exercises to perform them hanging. You can hang from your hands, arms, legs, or feet. To hang from your feet, go get yourself some gravity boots.
- Superset each one of these ab exercises with an exercise from your regular upper or lower body workout routine. Do 3 sets of each superset. I used this method to increase the circumference of my calves by 1.5 inches in 6 months.
That is quite enough out of me for now. Go ahead and read about the 5 exercises and then figure out how to work them into your routine.
- Vertical Leg Kicks
The vertical leg crunch, or full vertical crunch, was ranked as the fourth most effective exercise in the ACE study for the rectus abdominus. I suggest changing this exercise a bit to focus more on kicking up rather than crunching.
This is a great change of pace from regular crunches, as it works the entire abdominal muscle to its fullest extent similar to Fold Ups.
To set up: Lie flat on your back. Place your hands lightly behind your head. Contract your abs to lift the shoulder blades off the floor. Lift your legs about 12 inches off the floor.
To kick: Bring your knees in towards your chest, then deliver a double-leg kick straight up to the ceiling. By pressing the heels towards the ceiling, you are creating a ‘u’ shape with the torso. At the top of the movement, your hips should be off the floor.
Lower your knees back to your chest, then fully extend your legs back to the starting position. Do not rest your legs or your shoulders on the floor. Instead, keep tension on the abs throughout the movement. That’s one rep.
If you find it hard to perform this exercise with your hands behind your head or if your lower back hurts, you can place your arms and hands palms down about 12 inches away from your body on either side.
I couldn’t find a video for this… yet another reason for me to learn to use my video camera.
- Russian Twist
My football buddy at college taught me this exercise. He had been using Russian Twists to develop a rock hard midsection since his early years in high school. This exercise will hit your obliques HARD.
To set up: First, go choose a medicine ball or a weight plate that you can handle without much difficulty. I recommend starting with 8-12 lbs. In time you can work up to as much as 45 lbs or even more.
Next, sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your abs and position your upper body at about a 45 degree angle to the floor. Hold a medicine ball with both hands directly in front of you.
To twist: Contracting your abs, twist slowly from your torso to your right and touch the medicine ball to the floor beside your right hip. Quickly, but smoothly, contract your abs and twist your torso to other side, and touch the medicine ball to the floor beside your left hip. Thats one rep.
Really challenge yourself by keeping your feet off the floor. In this manner, only your butt will be touching the floor. Feel the burn.
- Medicine Ball Sit Up Toss
This exercise is actually best done with a partner. The added weight helps you to work on density, and you may get a bit of an upper body workout too.
To set up: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a medicine ball on your chest and have a partner stand at your feet. Use your abs to push your lower back flat to the floor. You do not want it arched at all.
To sit up: As you sit up, throw the ball to your partner. Hold the position as your partner catches the ball and throws it back to you. Your position should not be straight up, in fact you should hold a 60 degree angle to keep tension on the abs at all times.
Catch the ball and slowly return to the start position, but don’t lay on the floor. Ideally, your shoulders should never touch the floor, but good luck with that.
Don’t have a medicine ball?
Throw a jab and a cross at the top.
Have a medicine ball but no partner?
Throw the medicine ball at a wall and catch it again before you go back down.
- Windshield Wipers
To set up: Just find a pull up bar and hang from it. Now pull yourself up so that your upper body is parallel to the floor and your legs are perpendicular to the floor. There should be a 90 degree angle between your torso and your legs.
To wipe: This exercise is so simple yet so effective. All you have to do is rotate your legs from side to side like a windshield wiper.
This guy has it down pat:
Here’s a great video that will show you how to be creative by combining exercises into a more effective routine. Kat demonstrates hanging leg raises and windshield wipers.
- Leg Throws
You might think this exercise will tighten the hip flexors, but because it is so balistic and you have to maintain such a solid core throughout the movement, you end up working your abdominal muscles hard. In order to do it right though, you have to be agressive. Hard throws, don’t touch the floor, and quickly return to the top position.
Video demonstrates straight and diagonal leg throws.
Honorable mentions: Bruce Lee Style Flags, Side Bends, Cable Crunches, Planks.
To integrate these exercises into a 5 day split workout routine, pick one different exercise each day and do 3-5 sets. Try to alternate targeting rectus abdominus and obliques.
To integrate these exercises into a 3 day full body workout routine, pick two to three different exercises each day and do 2-3 sets of each. Consider performing the exercises as one giant superset with little to no rest between sets.
Another way to use these abs exercises, is to combine all of them into 15 minutes of non-stop abs training 3 times a week. Rest at most 30 seconds between sets and train to near failure.
Remember to train your lower back in addition to your abs. You can use the 5 best hamstring exercises to do that.
That concludes the 10 best exercises for abs part 3. Hopefully you enjoyed all three parts to this series, and your abs will benefit from the results.