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by Casey McIlvaine

In the United States, having a six-pack is all the rage—and the same can be said about the world! For most people, they salivate over the tight abs they see celebrities and models have in the media.  The majority of society has placed a certain sex appeal and mystique on abs that can’t be shaken—people want to see as well as have—washboard abs.

Besides just showing off your body, having toned abs is also important for professional and other serious athletes because a good set of abs is responsible for maintaining the stability in the center of their body.  Having toned abs protects your organs and your spine while providing the strength to move around large amounts of weight.  If you want to be able to move around considerable amounts of weight, you still need to have a strong central core even though you have arm and back strength.  Therefore, if you do these 2 ab exercises on a regular basis, you will be on track to having a tightened central core!

Ab Exercise #1–The Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is one of the best exercises to do for your abs, including your obliques.  Keep in mind that there is no real bicycle involved with this type of exercise.  This ab workout actually uses the weight and resistance of your own body, and if the workout is too easy you can add weights to your ankles or legs.

To do the bicycle crunch you can follow this process:

  1. While you are lying on the floor, put your hands behind your head.  (Do not lock your fingers as you don’t want to be pulling your head upward during the exercise using your arms.)
  2. Elevate your shoulder blades using your ab muscles as if you are performing a crunch.
  3. Raise your knees so that they are bent and your calf muscles are parallel to the floor, then slowly begin pedaling your legs as if you are on a bicycle.
  4. Finally, constrict your abs with each “row” by touching your knee with the opposite elbow (as you pull your knee up.)


During this ab workout, and/or any workout, remember to maintain your breathing–never hold your breath!  Your shoulders should be elevated at all times, and you should not be using your hands to keep them elevated!

Ab Exercise #2–Vertical Leg Raise

Doing a vertical leg raise will always be ideal for targeting your lower ab muscles, and with the variations in movement, this exercise can also work your obliques as well!

This ab exercise works best from a captain’s chair, and by following this process you will be able to start working out your abs by doing a vertical leg raise:

  1. Hold up your body by putting your elbows on the parallel pads with your back flush to the backpads.
  2. Grasp the provided hand holds and let your feet hang.
  3. Lift your knees near your chest.
  4. Pause and flex your abs then lower your legs carefully just before the starting position and begin again. (Never try to let your feet rest by dangling them.)



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