What Are the Worst and Best Ab Exercises?

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worst-best-ab-exercisesGreat abs that have now become synonymous with six packs is seeing a lot of young men, and even women go to the gym and do their crunches.

However, what most people do not know is that there are actually some best ab exercises and some moves that can be termed nothing but worst ab exercises because they can either do nothing to build your abdominal muscles or can cause injury.

Best ab workouts are those that neglect none of the abdomens including the core muscles and those ab exercises that do not involve the core muscles cannot be considered best.

The best abdominal exercises are those that do not stress the back. Extreme caution is required especially if you have back issues.

Resistance is an important factor in core building exercises for without that no moves can be useful. Muscles need to be stimulated in the rectus abdominis which is the long, flat muscle that makes up the full length of the front of the abdomen. The other part of the abs in the abdomen is the obliques which are the muscles that extend along the side of the abdomen.

So before you begin building your core, you need find exercises that suit you and your goals. Research well or you could land up doing ab workouts that are totally ineffective.

Don’t just buy or use any equipment at random as you could either waste money or work on something that gives you a backache without solving the abdominal issue.

Trainers can give you good advice about how to start. If you already have a problem with your lower back, it is a good idea to consult a physical therapist or a physiologist so that you don’t make your situation worse.

If you have built your workout plan, then you need to have a second look so that you do not include these worst abs exercises.

Here is a very useful study in which the most well-known abdominal exercises were tested. (Source)


So what are the worst abdominal exercises?

The crunch is no longer considered a useful activity. People who are not well informed tend to do lots of crunches without really knowing if they are effective. According to the research the crunch is one of the worst ab exercises.

Another move that is not so efficient is the sit-up, since it is usually done badly. It is only effective till the back is a few inches above the floor. Beyond that it is a wasted effort as it does not work the abs muscles. Besides that extra motion to sit-up can play havoc with your lower back and neck.

If you have been doing leg throws remove it from your schedule. Leg throws are done with the help of a partner who pushes your raised legs down and to both sides. It is considered among the best lower ab exercises, but it does nothing as the abs is a single long muscle.

Another not so efficient abs exercise is the side bend with weights. Here the person stands arms outstretched with weights and bends to one side and then the other. The side bend targets the abdominal muscles and the obliques, but the weights are not helpful. Moreover, this exercise can give you a broad waist.

One core building exercise that uses equipment and is considered one of the worst training for abs is the Ab Circle Pro. This is basically weight loss equipment as the movement encourages weight loss, but it might not be that great for building those six packs.

Other equipment that tested as poor were the Ab Rocker and Torso Track. None of this equipment was useful and could be even termed worse than the basic crunch which has already been referred to as a poor show exercise for abs.

So which ones are considered the best ab exercises?

The best abdominal exercises are those that work on the core and the obliques.

The bicycle maneuver makes it to the top of best core building exercise list. The next to follow is the Captain’s Chair and for home exercising you could do well to choose the crunch on an exercise ball.



These generated the maximum activity in the obliques and rectus abdominis.

The crunch on an ball performed slightly less activity than the other two mentioned moves. It was however selected as a good exercise because the low thigh muscles activity enables it to work better on the abdominal muscles.


Why you need to strengthen your core

Besides building those six packs, most trainers insist on building the core strength. This is because if you have a strong core you are likely to be fit and healthy. The core is where your digestive system is and if that functions well your fitness works.

Core strength is also needed to prevent back pains and so the best ab exercise are those that build core muscles for endurance. The worst ab exercises, on the other hand, are those that will cause back and neck problems and increased pain in the lower back.


Any abdominal workout or core exercises need to be safe as well as effective. Those activities that neglect the inner core and work only on the outer muscles will not provide a good abdominal workout.

Motion and a fair amount of resistance as well as working on both the side and central muscles is the way to build a strong abdomen. Any movements that strain the lower back is not a good exercise as doing that could result in lower back injury.


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