Hundreds of Different Ab Exercises!

Are you following the world trend in being “ab-sessed” with the appearance of a flat tummy?

Daily thousands of sit-ups, crunches and other ab exercises are done in gyms across the country in the hopes of attaining this goal. Elite personal trainers have satisfied North America’s quest for the perfectly sculpted stomach by creating hundreds of different ways to exercise this one area of the body.

Perfectly Sculpted Stomach

Looking for an easy road to a beach body? Numerous infomercials are touting electrical stimulators and gut enhancing workout machines to tempt viewers with the prospect of seemingly effortless approaches to a solid middle. Will all these efforts really result in a firm stomach? Not by themselves, experts say.

13 of The Most Common Ab Exercises Ranked

A sponsored study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) ranked from most to least effective, compared 13 of the most common abdominal exercises with and without equipment, ranging from very basic to more complicated activities. With each of the exercises ranked for objective muscle activation, measurements were obtained with electromyography (EMG) They were measured for each of the follow muscle groups in the rectus abdominis, external obliques, and internal obliques. Subjects in the study included 30 healthy women and men, ages 20-45, ranging from occasional to daily exercisers.

For Strengthening The Rectus Abdominis, Most to Least Effective:

1. Bicycle Crunch
2. Captain’s Chair
3. Crunches on an Exercise Ball
4. Vertical Leg Crunch
5. Torso Track
6. Long Arm Crunch
7. Reverse Crunch
8. Crunch with Heel Push
9. Ab Roller
10. Plank Exercise
11. Traditional crunch
12. Exercise Tubing Pull
13. Ab Rocker

For Strengthening The Obliques, Most to Least Effective:

1. Captain’s Chair
2. Bicycle Crunch
3. Reverse crunch
4. Plank
5. Vertical leg crunch
6. Crunch on exercise ball
7. Torso Track
8. Crunch with Heel Push
9. Long Arm Crunch
10. Ab Roller
11. Traditional Crunch
12. Exercise Tubing Pull
13. Ab Rocker

Best Abdominal Exercise Equipment:

1. Stability Ball
2. Vertical Knee raise Machine

Worst Piece of Equipment

The worst piece of equipment tested was the Ab Rocker followed by the Ab roller and Torso Track. Statistically they were not better than the basic crunch.

While considering using these exercises, they are not necessarily the most appropriate for everyone. If you are just beginning an exercise program, it is important to consult a certified personal trainer who can advise you where to start.

If you’ve had any history of injuries, especially to the low back area, you should consult a physical therapist or an exercise physiologist before you begin.


By Andre Noel Potvin, ACSM Certified, ACE Certified, BCRPA-TFL