Effective Ab Exercises for Free

These are some of the best ab exercises for free around, and specially organized to go with the my own How to Get Abs e-book. They don't require any equipment, so just try them out and build stronger abs.

Weight training is one of the best methods of strength training! If you want to start weight training safely and effectively, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course!



- Knees Bent Crunches -

Bent knee crunches are one of the most basic ab exercises.


Upper Abs

These guys are your regular, run-of-the-mill crunches. Start lying on your back, hands behind your head, and knees bent with the soles of your feet on the ground.

Contracting your upper abs bring your shoulders off the ground and as high up as possible. Then, lower your shoulders in a controlled fashion till they just touch the floor and, keeping tension in your abs, move right into your next crunch.

You can do these on an inclined or declined bench to mix up the exercise and make it harder or easier!


- Extended Leg Lifts -

Extended leg lifts are great for strengthening the lower abs.
Extended leg lifts are great for strengthening the lower abs.


Lower Abs

For this exercise, start lying on your back on the floor with your hands at your sides. Then, holding your legs together, raise them till they are pointed straight up at the ceiling.

From there slowly lower your legs down, keeping them fully extended. Right before they would touch the ground, hold them just above the ground for a 10 count, really feeling the burn in your lower abs. That's just one rep, so get your legs up there and do some more!


- Bent-Leg Hip Raises -

Bent leg hip raises work the lower abs and focus on building control.


Lower Abs

Stat lying on the floor, hands folded and held behind your head, knees bent with the soles of your feet on the floor. Keep your legs pressed tightly together, and really focus on using your lower abs for this exercise.

Using the lower part of your abs, lift your legs up so that they are over your chest. Then slowly, with control, lower your bent legs back down to the floor.


- Negative Sit-ups -

Like a regular sit-up, except starting at the top, negative sit-ups  will tire your upper abdominal muscles.


Upper Abs

As far as ab exercises for free that don't use equipment, negative sit-ups are one of the best basic exercises for hitting your upper abs. If you're not feeling some burning and soreness there after your workout, you're doing something wrong :-)

Start with you legs bent & the soles of your feet on the ground. You should be upright, bent at the hips so that your torso is at a right angle to the ground. Hold your arms out in front of you with your hands together, or hands behind your head.

Lower yourself toward the ground, curving your back and keeping your chest and torso forward as much as possible as you descend. Lower until you can't go any further with control and then contract your abs and bring yourself back to your upright, starting position.


- Crossover Crunches -

Crossover crunches hit all your abs, and are particularly good for working your oblique abdominal muscles.


Upper Abs, Lower Abs, and Obliques

Start lying on your back on the floor, with one leg bent at the knee and the sole of the foot on the ground. Have your other leg bent at the knee and hip so its ankle crosses the first leg that's bent on the ground.

Crossover at an angle and contract your abs to move your head toward one knee. This diagonal contraction will get your upper and lower abs, as well as you obliques. All those muscles in one exercise... ah, the beauty!


- Ab Bicycles -

Ab bicycles are a great way to work the oblique muscles.


Oblique Abdominal Muscle

Another top ab exercise, this targets your oblique abdominal muscles along the sides of your body. To do it, first find an athletic mat or soft surface to lie on.

Place your hands behind your head and crunch together at your abs, bringing up one knee to touch your elbow. To do this you'll twist your body, working your obliques, and then turn your upper body to touch your other knee-to-other-elbow.


- Frog Leg Crunches -

Upper Abs

Start lying on your back with your hands behind your head, elbows bent and pointed outward. You feet should also be together, one sole against the other, with your knees pointed out to either side. You may feel a stretch in your groin when you start to do these.

Contract your abs and lift your head and shoulders as high off the floor as you can. Pausing slightly at the top (which probably won't be very high) lower your shoulders back down to the ground and, after briefly touching the ground and keeping tension in your abs, get your upper torso up and going into the next crunch.


- Modified Side Jackknife Crunches-

Obliques

This is one of the weirder ab exercises for free given here, but it's great for starting to work your oblique muscles. They're awkward at first, but don't let that stop you. Because if that really puts you off then you just don't have the drive to get stronger abs.

Start lying on your side on the ground, knees bent and legs together (one on top of the another). The arm on the ground should be reaching upward around your stomach and your upper arm should be bent at the elbow, with your hand behind your head.

From that starting position, contract the oblique muscle away from the floor to bring your upper elbow and upper knee together. Then, with a controlled movement, allow your upper body to go back to the floor and your contracted leg to lower back onto the leg on the floor.

Be sure to get your upper torso off the floor, not just your head, and don't rest on the floor between reps; keep tense and keep the workout going! Together, all of these ab exercises for free will get your abdominal muscles much stronger than before.

Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!

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Effective Ab Exercises for Free
References:

Brungardt, Kurt. 1993. The Complete Book of Abs. New York: Villard Books.

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