A Further Selection of Abdominal Exercises

Abdominal Exercises in this section will be directed at the various muscle groups in your mid-section as well as abdominals.

Crunches: On the Ball

I've been doing crunches for years on the floor and could easily do 50 to 70 in a set using proper form without really feeling a burn. Obviously I wasn't challenging myself and my muscles had gotten used to this.

That changed when I finally bought a stability ball and tried the same abdominal exercises on it.

Now I felt the burn.

This is a less expensive and very effective alternative to crunches on a bench and as a bonus also brings into play and effectively works many stabilizer muscles by simply keeping your balance on the ball.

This abdominal exercise is a little tricky at first as you will struggle to find the right positioning and balance on the ball.

Basically you sit on the ball and roll it forward under your butt as you lean back to the starting position which is with your back curled over the ball and your butt on the far edge.

Hands behind your head, pull your head up slowly with just your abs until they are fully contracted.

You will be exhaling as you pull up and inhaling as you lower back down.

Form:Slow and deliberate wins the game. Don't pause at the bottom between crunches and feel your abs working both pulling up and backing down.

I think the crunch on the ball is so effective because of the extended (stretched) starting position. This gives a greater range of motion than starting on the floor or bench.

Reverse Crunch

Lie flat on your back on the floor with your arms straight at your sides and your hands tucked just under your butt for stability.

Inhale as you slowly raise your legs to the upright (vertical) position without bending your legs and using only your abs.

Slowly lower your legs, exhaling as you go, but don't touch the floor - stop just above it and begin the next rep without pause.

Form: Keep your arms relaxed and don't lift your lower back off the floor. There should be continuous tension on your abs throughout this abdominal exercise.

Twisting Sit-Up : Decline Bench

This will not only target your abs but also your obliques.

Lie on your back on the decline bench with your feet hooked under pads and your fingers laced behind your head.

Using your abs only and exhaling as you go, slowly curl your head and upper torso up off the bench and twist your right shoulder in the direction of the crunch so you begin to face left.

Inhale as you slowly lower back down and straighten your shoulders back to the starting position.

Don't pause at the bottom but again, using only your abs, curl up and forward, this time twisting your left shoulder forward so you begin to face right.

Form: Don't over-twist as you might injure your back.

If you don't have a bench, this abdominal exercise can be performed lying on the floor with your calves resting on a chair or your feet tucked under a couch.

Bent Knee Arms Extended Sit-up

Lie down on a sit-up board and keep your feet under the strap. With your knees bent at about 45 degrees, place your arms behnd your head with your elbows locked out.

Inhale and raise your torso up and over until your hands are above your feet. Your arms will be to the outide of your thighs. Exhale as you return to the starting position.

Heel High Compound Sit-up

Lie on the floor and place you lower legs on top of a bench with your feet over the side. Position yourself close enough to the bench so your legs are at about 45 degrees.

Put your hands behind your head, your chin on your chest and twist your upper body to the right as you inhale and raise your torso upward as close to your thighs as possible.

Return to the starting position and exhale. Now twist back to a straight position and raise your torso upward as close to your thighs as possible.

Return to the starting position and exhale. Now do the same movement to the left and back to starting position.

The exercise goes: right, center, left, center, right, center, left, center.

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