5 Most effective ab exercises | Upper, middle, lower & obliques

5 Most effective ab exercises | Upper, middle, lower & obliques

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So you see all these fitness influencers and their leaned toned abs and you wonder how on earth they manage to achieve such an aesthetic physique?

Well just before I jump into the 5 most effective abdominal exercises that you can do to also achieve this, I want to clear up a few misconceptions.

Getting lean abs doesn’t just happen by setting aside 20 minutes per day and doing crunch after crunch, or even hundreds or thousands of crunches.

Yes, you will be working you abdominals without a doubt, but its important to know that exercising alone will not reveal you abs.

What do I mean by this? Let me explain.

You might have heard the term “abs are made in the kitchen”. Well, this holds a lot of truth!

A healthy balanced diet + exercise is your ticket to achieving your lean, toned body goals.

To reveal your abdominals, your body fat percentage needs to be reasonably low.

You can do as many exercises as you like, but if your not burning fat, then your abs will remain hidden.

The best ab exercises at home

Know the most effective ab exercises to do can be a little bit confusing.

Whats more, is that different exercises target different abdominal muscles.

In this article I have covered lower ab exercises, upper ab exercises, full abdominal exercises as well as exercises for obliques.

So if you really serious about getting lean toned abs, these 5 ab exercises at home are among the most effective you can do to achieve this.

 I have been performing them for many years and the best part about it is you can do them anywhere.

Tip for comfort: I advise getting a yoga mat to avoid friction on your spine and tail bone and to make performing the exercises easier and more comfortable.

5 Most effective ab exercises

1. Ankle taps

This exercises really helps to work not only your abdominal’s but your obliques as well.

This is a very quick semi-fast paced exercise. 

Lie on your back with knees bent up and feet flat on ground and slightly apart.

Arms should be at your sides. Using your abdominal muscles, raise your head and shoulders slightly off the ground.

Do not put tension on your neck to lift yourself up as this can cause injury. 

You can do this faster or slower.  Tap your right heel with your right hand then move your upper body slightly to the left and repeat the same touching your left heel with your left hand. 


Continue to alternate sides tapping your heels.

Perform 3 sets of 20-40 reps each depending on your level of ability.

Ankle taps video

 
Girl lying on yoga mat on back
Girl lying on yoga mat on back touching ankle

2. Lying hip thrusts

This exercise targets your lower abdominals.

Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, knees bent and feet raised off the ground. Feet should be level with knees.

Using your abdominal muscles raise your head and shoulders slightly off the ground.

Using a controlled motion, lift your glut’s and lower back off the ground and press your hips forward into the air, in a thrust like motion.

Control yourself back down to the ground.

Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps depending on your ability.

Lying hip thrusts video

Girl lying on back with feet off ground
Girl lying on back with hips and feet raised in air

3. Raised leg toe taps

This exercise targets both upper and lower abdominals.

Lie on ground and raise both feet in the air, keeping your knees as straight as possible.

Reach your arms up towards your toes.

Using your abdominal muscles lift your upper body up and touch your toes and return back down.

This exercise is performed at medium pace in a pulse like motion.

Not everyone will be able to reach there feet with there hands. This is okay.

As long as you can feel your abdominal’s working as your contract them to lift yourself up towards your feet.

Just go as far as your flexibility will allow.

Perform 3 sets or 15-30 reps depending on your ability.

Raised leg toe taps video

Girl lying on back with legs stretched straight up
Girl lying on back with feet stretched in air touching toes

4. Scissors

This exercise targets both upper and lower abdominal’s.

Lie on the ground with your arms at your sides and legs raised into the air. Legs should be apart.

Using your abdominal muscles, raise your head and shoulders slightly off the ground.

In a scissor motion, cross one foot infant of the other and then repeat changing feet.

This exercise is best performed at a medium pace.

Ensure that your abdominal’s remain engaged throughout. 

Perform 3 sets of 20-30 reps depending on your ability.

Scissors video

Girl lying with legs raised up and feet apart
Girl lying with legs up and feet crossed

5. Spider plank

This exercise targets upper and lower abdominals swell as obliques.

Get yourself into a plank position. This means you are on your front with your entire body raised off the ground.

Only your toes and hands should be on the ground. Elbows should be slightly relaxed and feet slightly apart.

Ensure that your back and bum remain completely straight.

Don’t let them dip or rise into a hunch, hence why it is called a plank.

You will now alternate your legs. Bring your right foot up to your left knee, keeping your right knee pressed directly out to the side.

Return your leg back to starting position. Repeat this motion with the left leg

This exercise is done slow to medium pace ensuring your abdominals remain engaged throughout.

Keep your head and neck in a neutral position.

Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Spider plank video

Girl in plank position
Plank position one leg bent to side

Conclusion

It seems almost everyone wants to have toned abs, but not everyone is willing to put in the work needed to accomplish this.

Just remember, if you are not following a balanced diet and working on a low body fat percentage you will struggle to make your abdominal’s visible.

It is also important to work all areas of your abdominal muscles; upper, middle, lower and obliques.

By pairing these 5 most effective ab exercises with a well balanced diet and consistency, you will be well on your way to achieving lean toned abs!

Do you have any other exercises you find effective for toning you abdominals?

Please feel free to leave a comment below 🙂

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