The abdominals are a highly visible muscle group, and to some, there's nothing more satisfying than looking in the mirror and seeing a six pack staring back. But getting to that point can be difficult—there are so many abdominal exercises that promise results that don't seem to deliver. There are, however, a few relatively unknown but highly effective exercises that can improve your abs in no time.
The Body Saw sounds painful, but the results are anything but. Just because it's relatively unknown doesn't mean it's not effective. Strength and fitness specialist Bret Contreras called it one of the best abdominal exercises in terms of muscle activation. The Body Saw is performed using sliders for your feet. Assume a push-up position, except rest on your forearms instead of your palms. With your toes on the sliders, move your body forward and backward, tightening your abs to create the motion. See Resources for a video.
The landmine is another effective abdominal exercise that doesn't get much attention. The landmine requires the use of a barbell. According to strength and conditioning coach Michael Boyle, the landmine "satisfies all of the core training proponents." To perform the landmine, place one end of the barbell securely into a corner. Stand at the opposite end of the barbell, holding it at chest level. Slowly move the barbell back and forth across your body, keeping your core tight and restricting other bodily movement. You can add weights to the bar for an extra challenge.
Side Twist Throws
Side twist throws are another somewhat unusual, but definitely effective, abdominal exercise. To perform side twist throws, stand about 2 feet from the wall, with your feet a bit more than shoulder-width apart. Orient your body so your side is to the wall, and hold a medicine ball at your waist on the side opposite the wall. In one swift motion, throw the ball against the wall and catch it, trying to limit the distance it repels your arms. Bring the ball back to its starting position and repeat.
Turkish Get Up
According to strength trainer Jordan Vezina, the Turkish get-up is a measure of true core strength, and can help develop excellent abdominals. The Turkish get-up can be performed with a kettlebell, barbell or dumbbell.
To perform a Turkish get up, lie on the ground with the weight in your right hand and your right leg bent so that your right foot is next to your left knee. Using your right foot, push yourself onto your left elbow and hip. Next, move up onto your left hand, left knee and right foot. From this position, lunge upward into a standing position, having kept your right arm fully extended with the weight the entire time.