7 BEST ABDOMINAL EXERCISES
As a lot of us know, one of our most stubborn areas to work on is our abdominal area. You can
do sit-ups and crunches until you turn blue, but that's not always enough. There's a whole fleet
of exercises out there to target you upper abs, lower abs, obliques (sides) and everything in
between. At different times I think I've tried them all. Some I've read about, some I've learned
at the gym and some from trainers. These are some of my favorites I thought I would share with
If you haven't exercised in a while you might want to start with 10-12 repetitions of each, and try
to do 2 sets. You can work up from there. Every week add another rep and when you reach 15
add another set. Try to work up to 3 sets of 15 reps each. That should give you a good work
out. But please always check with your doctor first to make sure you are able to start exercising.
1. TRADITIONAL CRUNCH - Everyone knows this one I think, but done right it is still
effective. Lie on your back with bent knees, hands behind your head, or crossed over your
chest. Slowly crunch up, feeling your abdominal muscles engage. Slowly go back down to start
and repeat. The key to this being successful is doing it slowly. Going fast will just be
momentum working and not your abs. You need to feel your abs working.
2. TOE TOUCH - This works your UPPER ABS. Lie on your back with your legs up, knees
bent slightly. Raise your arms and reach towards your toes. Use your upper abs and lift your
shoulder blades off the floor, reaching towards your toes. Lower shoulders to floor and repeat.
3. SIDE BENDS - This works your OBLIQUES (SIDES). Stand up straight holding
lightweight dumbbells (or a couple cans of soup if you don't have dumbbells). Put arms over
your head, elbows bent a bit. With back straight slowly bend to one side as far as possible, stop
for a moment and bend to the other side.
4. PLANK - This works your TRANSVERSE ABDOMINIS, which goes all around your
abdomen, holding everything in. Get into push-up position on your toes but rest on our
forearms, not your hands. You want to imagine you are pulling your belly button to your spine,
keeping your back in a straight line, not sagging and not bumped up. Hold for 20 seconds.
Instead of doing repetitions of this one you want to eventually work your way up to holding the
position for 60 seconds.
Now these next 3 are combos, working more than one area at a time (saves time!)
5. FIGURE FOUR – This works the UPPER AND LOWER ABS AND OBLIQUES. Lie on
your back, knees bent, feet on floor. Put one ankle on the opposite knee (making a figure 4),
hands behind head. Lift head and shoulders and twist to touch your right elbow to your left knee.
Go back to start and repeat on opposite site. (ANOTHER VERSION – instead of the figure four,
cross your ankles, bring your knees up so your calves are parallel to the floor then twist to reach
your elbow to your knee).
6. BICYCLES –This works UPPER AND LOWER ABS. Lie on your back. Hands behind
head, elbows out, legs straight. Lift your feet a few inches off the floor. As you raise your left
knee, twist your right elbow to meet left knee. Go back to start. Then raise your right knee and
twist your left elbow to meet right knee. Go back to start. That's one rep.
7. V TOE TOUCH – This works your UPPER ABS AND OBLIQUES. Lie on your back with
legs straight up. Spread legs to form a V, knees slightly bent. Reach your arms up. Curl your
shoulders up and reach your hands towards your left foot. Hold briefly and then lower back to
start. Repeat the above but reach for the right foot. (ANOTHER VERSION – lie flat, arms over
head, knees and elbows locked, reach up and at the same time lift legs to try to touch fingers to
Now you have more tools to blast those stubborn abs!! Good luck.