A study of 30 healthy women and men, ages 20-45, sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and led by Peter Francis, Ph.D. at the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University, compared 13 of the most common abdominal exercises and ranked them from most to least effective.
Overall, the best exercise for strengthening the rectus abdominis, which includes the long flat muscles extending along the front and sides of the abdomen, is the bicycle maneuver. Here’s the ranking of the 13 abdominal exercises from most to least effective.
How to Do It
- Lie face up on your mat and place your hands behind your head, lightly supporting it with your fingers.
- Bring the knees in to the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the floor without pulling on the neck.
- Bring your right elbow over to your left knee, and then bring your left elbow over to your right knee in a twisting, bicycle pedal motion.
- Alternate opposite elbow to opposite knee with hands interlaced behind your head in a slow and controlled manner and with full extension of each leg on every repetition.
- Continue alternating sides in a ‘pedaling’ motion for 3 sets to muscle fatigue.
Video demonstration to do bicycle-abs-exercise in proper form to get maximum result
- Make sure you do not pull your neck forward too. Just make sure your shoulders lifted slightly, and not your back.
- Breathe naturally, extend your legs fully to increase intensity and perform the motion very slowly.
- After you lift your knees to make sure it is straight forward no matter how many degrees. For maximum impact, slightly lift up to 45 degrees from the floor.
- Keep the tennis ball size distance between your chin and your chest.