Everyone has their own opinions about the best abdominal exercises. There are, however, one principle that cannot be ignored when it comes to picking great exercises for building six pack abs:
You need to both exercises that isolate the abdominal muscles and full body exercises that help burn fat. If you're simply doing static exercises that isolate the abdominals, you're selling yourself well short.
Here then are 5 of the best abdominal exercises that most people are not doing.
1. Mountain climbers.
With this exercise you get down into the pushup position, then basically "run" on the spot. Imagine climbing up an incline on all fours, but of course you're not moving forward, but staying in one place with only your legs moving. First bring up one leg to your armpit, then switch to the other.
This is a great full body exercise, an excellent fat burner and it really engages the abdominal muscles.
2. Static jumps.
Closely related to mountain climbers, with this exercise you also assume the pushup position. Instead of alternating between bringing your legs forward, here you "jump" forward with both legs at once, landing your feet beneath your chest while keeping your hands planted on the ground. Kick back to straighten your legs and repeat.
Done correctly, this is once again an excellent full body exercise. It sounds easy, but after a few repetitions you'll feel a bit differently about it! One of the best abdominal exercises you can do.
3. Hanging leg lifts.
This exercise is done while hanging from, preferably, a pull up bar. Hang with your arms and legs extended. Now raise your knees, bringing them in towards your chest. Do not jerk, use a smooth, controlled motion. Another, tougher variation of this exercise can be done by keeping the legs almost straight and then lifting them in front of you until they're level with your waist.
You can also do a few pull ups in between every few repetitions of this exercise.
4. Towel slide.
For this exercise you need a smooth surface that will allow a piece of cloth, like a towel or old shirt, to slide freely. In other words, a tiled floor will work, a carpet won't.
For this explanation we'll assume you're using a towel. Assume the pushup position with your feet on the towel. Now, while keeping your legs and arms straight, slide your feet in towards your hands (until they're more or less in line with your waist), then slide back into the full pushup position and repeat. Focus on using your abdominals to do this.
To turn this into a more involved full body exercise, do some pushups after every two or three slides.
5. Jack knives.
This is another great abdominal exercise. Lie flat on your back, legs straight and arms stretched out over your head. Now, lift your legs while keeping them straight, and at the same time lift your arms (also keeping them straight) to touch your legs in the air above your waist. Never jerk when you do this exercise, maintain a smooth controlled motion. When you can't do any more reps without jerking, it's time to stop.
These are some of the best abdominal exercises, so be sure to mix some of these into your exercise routine for great results!