Ab exercises are effective at providing stability to the core and decreasing the risk of pain in your hips and back. To see a true reflection in your ab training it is vital to include cardio and a solid nutrition plan to help blast any fat that may be covering your muscles. Including workouts that target the rectus abdominis muscles help to give you a washboard appearance and get rid of the "pooch."
Effective Reverse Crunches
This exercise focuses on integrating your exhalation with the contraction of your lower ab muscles. Lie flat on your back with your legs perpendicular to the floor and feet flat on the ground. Move your legs towards your torso while rolling your pelvis backwards until your knees are touching your chest. Hold this position for a second then return your legs to the starting position. Repeat for 15 repetitions; if you are able to perform additional reps try adding a dumbbell between your feet to increase intensity.
Ab Pulse Ups
Lie flat on your back with your hands underneath your buttocks. Tighten your core while contracting your lower abdominal muscles and raise your legs until they are in the vertical position, toes towards the sky. Use your hips to push yourself directly upwards off the ground, this is considered the "pulse." Hold a pulse for five seconds then slowly lower yourself back to the ground. Repeat 15 times.
Build Abs with Scissors
Lie on your back with your legs straight and raised approximately 2 feet off the ground and legs spread apart. Bring your legs together and cross your right shin over your left and return your legs to the starting position, then bring your legs together again but cross your left shin over your right. Continue this motion, alternating between legs for 10 repetitions on each leg.
Engage Muscles with V-Hold
Lie flat on the floor; while both hands are at your sides simultaneously lift your legs and torso to a 45-degree-angle, your body should make a "V" shape. While contracting your abdominal muscles hold the "V' position for 30 seconds then return to resting. Your legs should stay straight throughout the exercise. Complete this exercise four times to total two minutes in the "V" position.
Lay flat on your belly, hold your upper body on your elbows with the majority of your weight resting on the back side of your forearms. Then, place your feet behind you so you're in a pushup position, resting on the balls of your feet. Keep your body in a straight line throughout the exercise; try pulling your belly button towards your spine to contract your abdominal muscles. Hold the position as long as possible for three sets.
Lay face up with your knees bent and turned out from your body with your feet flexed, and press your heels together. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, curl yourself so you are looking at your legs. Place your arms to the side of your body, off of the floor, palms facing down. Push out through your heels and extend your legs 45 degrees, squeezing the backs of your knees together, then return to starting position. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions.
Jackknives with an Exercise Ball
Place your feet and shins on top of an exercise ball and fully extend your body outwards resting on your forearms until you create a pushup position. Contract your abdominal muscles and roll the ball inwards towards your hips until your quads are perpendicular to the floor. Hold this position for five seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat for 15 repetitions.
Leg Lifts with an Exercise Ball
Lay flat on your back with an exercise ball placed between your ankles and legs straight. Raise the ball upwards until your legs reach a 90-degree angle. Hold the ball in this position for five seconds then slowly lower the ball down until it is slightly above the floor and hold for five seconds -- but do not let the ball touch the ground. Repeat this exercise for 15 reps.
Stability Ball Rollout
Kneel with your elbows bent on top of a stability ball with your body weight being held on the bottom of your forearms. While keeping your weight balanced on your arms, extend both legs out straight behind you, feet about hip-width apart, making a plank position. Slowly roll the ball away from your body until your body is extended as fully as possible, then slowly return the ball to the starting position. Complete for 15 repetitions.
Leg Drops Engage Lower Abdominals
While laying down raise both legs towards the ceiling, creating a 90-degree angle with your body. Slowly lower your legs -- while keeping them straight -- until your legs are about 2 inches from the floor and hold for five seconds. Slowly bring your legs back to the starting position. Complete this exercise for 10 repetitions.