Ab Exercises

Ab Muscle Groups

Often the bane of many seeking a trimmer waistline, the abdominal muscles are highly targeted and often met with little success. The greatest problem with individuals focusing on the abdominal muscles is that they often neglect the most basic aspects of exercise, balance. While executing ab exercises, it is important to remember that in order to achieve a well defined torso, cardio is just as important. There are 5 designated categories for the ab muscle groups:

A list of ab exercises:

Ab Extensions
This exercise is similar to performing a suspended 'plank' and it demands complete control and proper technique to effectively target the abdominals and serratus anterior muscles.
Bicycle Kicks (Flat Surface) Image
Utilizing a smaller range of motion, bicycle kicks can be used as a great alternative to the standard leg raise exercise but places additional emphasis on the obliques.
Crunches (Flat Surface) Image
Known as one the most basic abdominal exercises, this is a simple lying exercise that hits the upper abs and can be done from nearly anywhere.
Machine Crunches Image
Designed for both beginners and advanced individuals, crunches performed using a machine offer the ability to adjust the level of weight resistance.
Hanging Serratus Crunch Image
Hanging serratus crunches are a tough exercise that demand control of the body to truly target the serratus muscles.
Incline Leg Raises (Calisthenics) Image
Incorporating the use an adjustable bench, incline leg raises offer a fine variation on this classic lower abdominal exercise.
Knee Raises Dip Machine Image
Knee raises on the dip machine are a great exercise for targeting the upper abdominals as well as the basic or middle abdominals.
Knee Raises Hanging Grip Image
A mildly more difficult variation of hanging strap knee raises, hanging grip knee raises require additional focus on maintaining grip throughout the targeted upper abdominal workout.
Knee Raises (Hanging Straps)
The use of straps allows for complete focus on the upper abs without requiring the support of the forearms for stability.
L Pull-Up Image
A challenging exercise, L pull-ups literally require one to form an "L" shape with their body, and hold it while doing pull-ups.
Leg Raises (Dip Machine) Image
This is a great exercise utilizing the dip machine for those just starting to target the lower abs by raising the legs to a parallel level with the ground.
Leg Raises (Flat Surface) Image
Able to be performed from anywhere, this exercise uses one's own leg weight as resistance while laying flat on the ground.
Leg Raises Hanging Grip Image
Similar in execution to knee raises, leg raises target the middle and lower abdominals while more substantially involving the quads and obliques.
Leg Raises (Hanging Straps) Image
The hanging straps allow for complete focus to be put on the lower abs with this exercise.
Mountain Climbers (Flat Surface) Image
Focusing on the obliques, mountain climbers are a great way to improve muscle tone as well as elevating the performer's heart rate.
One-Arm Cable Crunches Video Thumb
This often overlooked exercise targets the obliques and serratus anterior by using a cable machine to create resistance from a kneeling position while a crunch is performed.
Pullovers Barbell Image
Pullovers utilizing a barbell are a unique exercise that--in addition to expanding the rib cage--provide the pectorals, lats, triceps, and serratus (anterior) with an intense workout.
Pullovers (Dumbbell) Image
Pullovers utilizing a dumbbell are an interesting exercise that expand the rib cage--they also target the pectorals, lats, triceps, and serratus (anterior), resulting in an intense workout.
Pullovers (Machine) Image
Machine pullovers, which target the lats and serratus, is among the best of machine exercises for the back. This exercise involves moving through a half-circle arc that results in a great stretch and rib cage expansion.
Push-Up Climbers Flat Surface Image
A variation of the standard push-up, this exercise brings the oblique muscles in as a primary focus.
Reverse Crunches Image
An interesting (and difficult) exercise that utilizes a flat bench to target the abs as well as the lower abs.
Rope Pulls Image
Performed with the rope extension, rope pulls are an excellent way to target the elusive serratus muscles as well as the obliques and abdominals.
Seated Leg Tucks Image
Requiring balance and coordination, seated legs tucks work the entire abdominal regions (i.e. lower, middle, and upper), as well as the hips.
Side Knee Raises Hanging Grip Image
Utilizing a stationary bar (preferably a wide grip pull up bar) this exercise allows for solid focus of the oblique and abdominal muscles.
Side Knee Raises Hanging Straps Image
Utilizing straps, this exercise allows for solid focus of the oblique and abdominal muscles while lessening the focus on the forearms for stability.
Sit-Ups Decline Image
Slightly more advanced than the standard sit-up, this exercise forces more resistance on the abdominals by placing the body below a parallel line with the ground.
Sit-Ups Elbow to Knee Twist Image
This is a great exercise for beginners looking to gain enough strength and endurance to utilize the more advanced oblique exercises. The basic and effective nature of this exercise places it at the core of many exercise programs.
Sit-Ups (Standard) Image
A simple exercise designed to target the basic abdominal muscles. This can be performed with the hands positioned in a number of different locations.
Standing Twists / Trunk Rotations (Barbell) Image
Standing twists are a nice way to target the obliques without using much, if any, bar weight.
Suspended Leg Raises Dip Machine Image
Utilizing the dip machine by holding the handles and suspending the body, the lower abdominals are targeted by raising the legs to a parallel level with the ground.
V-Pull-Up Image
An extremely challenging exercise, V pull-ups literally require one to form an "V" shape with their body, and hold it while doing pull-ups.